Five Tips for Getting College Scholarships

Applying for scholarships can be stressful because they symbolize college and the difficult process of paying for it. At the same time, if you can get someone else to pay for your education, why not try? You could save yourself tens of thousands of dollars over the long run, all for relatively little effort.

Having said that, if you are going to apply for scholarships, there are some things to know which can significantly increase your chances of actually getting them. So here are a few tips to aid you in the process.

Start at

This site is a valuable tool for all-things college. It suggests scholarships to apply for, and gives detailed information about every college in the United States, as well as tracks and stores your SAT, ACT, and PSAT scores, analyzing how you stack up against the rest of the pack. The best part about the College Board is that for FCHS students, it is already a part of your SAT, ACT, and PSAT registration. Still, few students take advantage of the resources available on the site. So do check it out early in your college and scholarship search.

Utilize your counselor
Your counselor is the most familiar with your current standings, course history, performance, and has a large number of resources to help get you where you want to go. They can help you apply for the college that you want to attend and guide you with which scholarships are perfect for your demographic and can help you bridge the gap between tuition and financial needs. So be sure to make an appointment with your counselor, preferably at the start of your senior year. Also, be sure to regularly check the FCHS Counseling Department website for a list of scholarships. You can find that by going to this link.

Fill out the FAFSA application early
Even if you don’t think you’ll need or will qualify for federal financial aid, make sure you fill out the FAFSA (federal student aid) application. Doing so will open you up to the largest provider of financial aid in the country, and can guide you on collecting vital financial information you will need for all other scholarship, grant, and financial aid applications. The application can help you qualify for reduced tuition rates, suggest grants catered to your financial needs, or help you apply for a subsidized Federal student loan and enroll in a loan forgiveness program.

FAFSA is a great starting point in preparing for and knowing how much you will need to receive in scholarships, grants, and loans in order to make college tuition affordable regardless of your economic situation. This is your one stop shop for starting that process. However, make sure you fill out the FAFSA as early as possible in order to make sure you have the best chance of getting scholarships and grants before they get awarded. The FAFSA generally opens around Oct. 15.

Investigate scholarships at the college you plan to attend
Sometimes simply applying or showing interest in your application for financial aid with the institution you plan to attend will open the doorway to scholarship and grant opportunities provided by that institution. Do your research and see what scholarships you can apply for on their website and even contact your counselor to see what scholarships other students from your school have received from that school. Some scholarships or tuition assistance may be received automatically solely based on your need, and the gap between your institution’s cost and families finances.

Apply! Apply! Apply!
The more you apply to, the more likely you are to receive one or more, so do put in the extra time and effort, and don’t be afraid to apply to every scholarship available to you. Applying for scholarships can be a difficult, competitive, and time-consuming process, but the pay out (literally) is well worth it. It can be difficult to balance applying for scholarships with your school work, so start early, pace yourself, get help, and spread the process out throughout your junior and senior year. Don’t procrastinate.

Securing scholarships will aid in avoiding the life-long burden of college loans and help secure your financial stability when leaving university. Leaving college without school loans can be a game changer for setting you up in the next chapter of life.