When it comes to the hunt for college scholarships, and figuring out how to pay for college, filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal money, but many private institutions use the FAFSA information to assess your eligibility for scholarships that they may offer, as well. It's definitely an important step, but, according to experts, it should not be your only step in accessing the college funding that may be available to you.
What other scholarship application tips should students consider? OnlineColleges turned to four experts working in financial aid and enrollment offices at major universities for their best practices, from where to look for the best scholarships to the importance of setting up an application schedule. Here's what they had to say:
Set up a plan to apply for a set number of scholarships each week, even as few as 2 to 3 a week would make a difference. It won't seem like such a daunting task as it would if you planned to apply for 100 scholarships. Search through lists of scholarships for any that you apply for and then do it. Don't limit yourself to scholarships offered by your university. There are so many more external scholarships out there just waiting for students to apply.
Apply for any and all scholarships that you believe you meet eligibility requirements for. Ensure you complete the entire scholarship application and to include all the activities you have been involved with. Don't skip on completing a scholarship application just because they want an essay written. Take the time to write a short and concise essay that answers the question of the essay the scholarship provider is asking.
There are three places we recommend students look:
When applying for scholarships student should commit to put in the time to search for awards and continue the search throughout their college career. Searching through free online scholarship search engines is a great way to filter out scholarship opportunities specific to the student's area of study, grade point average, associations and interest.
The thoughts expressed by these four school officials point to the importance of taking the time to research and apply for scholarships. With the cost of college tuition on the rise, scholarship research is an increasingly crucial step.
From community-based scholarships to scholarships offered by the industries that align with your field of study, there are many different types of scholarships you can go after. Here is a list of four main types, plus examples of organizations and institutions providing scholarships in each area: