Landing an opportunity to a college of choice is the dream of every graduate. However, according to the Education Data Initiative, 38% of students drop out due to financial pressure.
Many of these dropouts end up in jobs they did not plan to do. But, as a graduate, you don’t have to endure the financial pressure, nor set your dreams aside.
This is because the best scholarships are here to help you continue chasing your dreams. This post educates you about college scholarships from application, types, and other aspects.
So read on to get educated.
Types of School Scholarships
The search for a college scholarship yields many options. And while you may be on the hunt for a specific scholarship, it’s essential to know students’ gifts differ.
On the other hand, scholarships have to be flexible to cater to each student according to their needs. Common types of scholarships you will find include:
1. External College Scholarships
Various independent scholarship bodies have risen to help students achieve their dreams. But to get awarded scholarships through these organizations, you have to contact them beforehand.
These organizations usually have specific qualifications to meet. So, before engaging with one, ensure to read their eligibility criteria first.
And since there are many to choose from, ensure to highlight your skills in your research. This will save you time filtering through the rabble.
2. Merit College Scholarships
High academic-achieving students with financial problems don’t have to ditch their educational dream. If you have been excelling academically, these scholarships help you realize your dreams.
An essential fact to note is this scholarship needs you to write transcripts and tests. You also don’t have to be an academic achieving student to get this scholarship award.
This is because they also touch on extracurricular activities. If you excel in this field, you can continue doing what you like as you study. According to statistics, 2017 saw $3 billion awarded to 175,000 athletes.
3. Need/Identity-Based College Scholarships
A ridge among the communities living in the country has seen the minority miss on education. But, scholarship organizations have risen to help students from minor communities continue their education.
If you belong to a minor community, you do not have to throw your college dreams away. This is because this scholarship type is here to your rescue and will help pay for college expenses.
However, as an application requirement, stating your ethnicity is vital. This will ease up the selection committee filtering process.
4. Community Service College Scholarships
Do you have a spirit of helping others in your community? If yes, the deeds you do can help you secure financial help to keep your college studies afloat.
Volunteering lets you stand out from others since it can also help you secure a job opening. Besides, only 25.7% of students are ever willing to volunteer, and this increases your chances of securing this scholarship.
However, note that different community-based scholarships will differ in eligibility criteria. It’s thus essential to acknowledge them before application.
Understanding Student Loans, Grants, and Scholarships
As you search for college financial help, you will likely encounter the terms loan, grants, and scholarships. While they entail getting funds, their similarities end there:
This financial help usually entails a certain borrowed amount to be repaid with interest. While it’s a valuable way of keeping your college studies ongoing, note this financial aid gets attached to your history.
According to a 2024 report, student loans have hit a high of $1.7 trillion. They range from public to private and pay-back student loans, so research which fits you best before applying.
Grants and Scholarships
These two get classified under the same category since once awarded, you don’t repay them. Unlike loans, these two don’t get attached to your history after education completion.
According to research, 76.7% of college full-time students are likely to receive a scholarship or grant. A practical example of this help is to liken it to getting a free educational opportunity. But the catch is to ensure you meet the laid terms of engagement.
How to Make Successful College Scholarship Applications
Scholarship opportunities are usually competitive, and standing out from the crowd is vital. If you fail one application, know that there are endless scholarship opportunities to pursue.
However, mastering the art of successful scholarship application is a bonus. Here are ways to help you score more in your applications.
Apply for Scholarships Early
A last-minute scholarship application diminishes your chances of success. This is because you may miss some crucial details highlighted in the application processes.
These crucial details may entail a particular document’s availability and specific phrases, among other mandatory factors. But if you choose to make an early application, you have the comfort of going through and verifying the details.
If the board needs a specific hard copy mailed to them, you can rest assured it reaches on time. This will help avoid blaming your local mail system for late arrivals.
Also note, some organizations have limited funds and will work on a “first come first served basis”. You don’t want to miss a school scholarship opportunity that fits your profile due to late submission.
Keep the Search Ongoing
According to statistics, over 1.7 million scholarships get awarded annually to successful applicants. This massive number shows the many opportunities available to score a scholarship.
Local opportunities are less competitive compared to national ones. But, while local scholarship opportunities boast more success chances, widening the scope is also essential.
This is because highlighting your skills on the national level gets you more opportunities.
Avoid Scammers at All Costs
The rising need for the best scholarships has created a community loophole. While some organizations are legitimate, others are not.
Verifying a specific scholarship organization is overwhelming, especially to first-time applicants. This is because you need financial help and have a high chance of missing red flags.
Red flags to look out for include being asked to provide financial compensation, misleading statements, among others. If an organization looks mischievous, be prepared to move on since organizations are endless.
Edit Your Scholarship Application
Grammar mistakes and missed instructions are the primary ingredients to a failed scholarship application. These mistakes are not easily noticeable; thus, you can leave them unknowingly.
An excellent option is to read your scholarship application severally and compare it to the guidelines given. Having a third party also go through your application is essential.
This is because they can notice mistakes and make or advise on the necessary changes. Another excellent verification opportunity is to seek the help of a successful scholarship candidate. They are the best in determining whether the application will be successful.
What to Look for in a Scholarship
Besides the successful scholarship applications, knowing more about them is essential. After getting accepted, you don’t want to engage in a scholarship fund dispute.
Here are things to look for in a scholarship opportunity:
The Scholarship’s Fund Concept
These incentives usually take two forms, and they are either full-ride or part scholarships. You can expect the funds to cover your tuition fully with full-ride scholarships.
On the other hand, part scholarships don’t cover the whole tuition amount. This means that even though they assist you pay for college, a significant part comes from you.
Also, note that full-ride scholarships exempt certain costs for you to meet.
Funds Disbursement Channels
The funds’ disbursement channels differ from one scholarship organization to the other. Some will wire the money directly to your college, where the deductions get made.
Any remainder will then get handed to you. Others will choose to wire a check to you to meet your expenses.
Besides, scholarship organizations state their disbursement channels to successful applicants, so you know in advance.
The Set Deadline
As with any growth opportunity made public, scholarship opportunities have a fixed deadline. Any submissions made after the deadline is over are automatically discarded.
When applying for the best scholarship, it’s essential to note the deadline issued. Fortunately, organizations show whether applications are open or closed to help avoid wasting time.
Their Eligibility Criteria
Your primary goal is to get accepted into the system by filling out each college scholarship form. But, before you win a scholarship award, your application goes through a strict filtering process.
So before engaging with a scholarship opportunity, be sure to understand the stated qualifications. There’s obviously no point applying for a women-only scholarship when your gender is male. Click here for more about women’s scholarships.
Ability to Alter Other Financial Aid
Do you have any other financial help currently helping you pay for college? It’s essential to know that some of these scholarship opportunities can interfere with your current money affairs.
So, it’s essential to be transparent if receiving any amount from elsewhere to avoid clashes. You might end up losing on both ends when trying to widen your financial chance.
The Scholarship Type
As highlighted above, scholarship types come in various forms. While you may be eligible in some, you have to pass others.
You also want to engage with a scholarship application that promises success. So it’s vital to know which type of scholarship you are about to contend with in advance.
How to Know if You Won a Scholarship
After completing a scholarship application, you may ask, “how will I know if I won or failed?” Fortunately, it’s essential to note the scholarship bodies usually indicate their review duration.
If you won the scholarship opportunity, here are channels these bodies will use to contact you.
Through Phone Call
As a mandatory communication channel in any life situation, a phone contact number is always present. Similarly, a scholarship body will ask for your contact or an alternative number to contact you.
After your application gets accepted, they call to notify you of the achievement. However, be aware of getting calls from unknown numbers after business hours since they might be scams.
Technological advancements have taken over the globe, and scholarship bodies have not lagged in adopting. When filling out your scholarship form, you might find a requirement to fill in your email address as a contact.
You consent to the scholarship body to send you messages by doing so. A sound scholarship body will have a designated business email address to notify you. So check your inbox after their stated review time ends.
When a scholarship application takes longer than expected, you might be dying to know its progress. Fortunately, some college scholarship organizations have a dedicated website dashboard.
Here you can check the progress of your submitted application to know its progress. However, if unsure or need clarification, contacting the scholarship admin is your best option.
Where to Find the Best Scholarships
The application of excellent scholarships depends on the criteria used to find them. While there are endless opportunities, knowing where to spot opportunities is essential.
Here are some notable scholarship sources.
These hold a comprehensive database of scholarship opportunities available. They save you the time of going through different websites, which proves to be overwhelming.
Besides, you can rest assured of finding genuine scholarship opportunities here.
Within the Institution
If undergoing college education already, check for financial help availability within the institution. Some institutions have excellent scholarships and grants renewable on maintaining the set terms.
Nothing is more trustworthy than a direct referral from a first-hand product or service user. Local-based scholarships are your best bet due to their low competition and availability.
The Takeaway on Finding and Applying for the Best Scholarships
The pain of giving up on your dreams can be overwhelming, seeing the efforts you put into them. However, if facing financial troubles to help keep you in school, college scholarships are your best financial bet.
The best scholarships come in various forms, and a successful application is life-changing. The above guide educates you on all you need to know about school scholarships.
It’s now up to you to maximize your chances.