A good list of college scholarships or an authorative listing of scholarships from the college library so you can begin applying too – is a great place to start your student aid search, especially when your in high school when you start thinking about how to pay for college.
As a high school freshman or sophomore, you may be thinking you have plenty of time to think about how to finance your college education. In fact, you may not even be sure you want to go to college at all. However, it is not too early to begin to consider what you will be doing upon graduation from high school. Start planning now for college. If you end up not going to college, your efforts will still pay off. You will have an impressive resume and the research process will teach you a new skill. Now is the time to begin a college scholarship list and financial aid search.
If you are a junior or senior, it is not too late to begin the process, you will just have to speed up the search and be more aware of scholarship application deadlines. Many students who do not start with a scholarship list end up ‘spinning their wheels’ so to speak, often failing to collect information necessary, or wasting time collecting superfluous material.
We will explore two important aspects of planning and funding your college education. One is the use of scholarship lists, and the other is preparation needed to qualify for the listed scholarships. Remember, even if you don’t use this information, the exercise will be very valuable.
As stated above, the earlier the better when it comes to making a list of college scholarships, but early in the game it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. It might be wise to begin with an internet search for lists of scholarships. You might begin generally by simply searching “scholarship list.”
There are many websites set up to help you find scholarships and financial aid. Search several scholarship list sites, and save to your ‘favorites’ list the ones that best suit your needs. Beware of any sites that cost money. This service should be free to you. You may have to pay an application fee for specific scholarships, but gaining lists of scholarships should be cost free.
Peruse through several of the lists and check out what seems appealing. Note any scholarships that interest you, and then go through them one by one. If you are a junior or senior, you may already have criteria you are seeking. If you would like to be more specific, put a qualifying word in your search, such as “list of engineering scholarships” or “scholarship lists for the arts”. You may even search the name of the college you are interested in. The different lists are endless indeed. Examples of specific searches are: college scholarship list, list of scholarships for Hispanics, scholarship match for health care professionals, even unusual scholarships, or weird and whacky scholarship lists. Often the scholarship list sites have a scholarship match feature. You input your information and from the database you will be matched with many scholarships. You do not have to apply to all of them, but at least you will know what is available. Be sure to update the data each semester. It could help you qualify.
The second phase of your search included the preparation necessary to make best use of the compiled lists of scholarships. Organize the scholarships and financial aid information in a way that makes the best sense to you. Perhaps you will print the information to place in a binder, or maybe you will make a folder for the desktop of your computer. Be sure the information is accessible in a way you can understand. Make note of the qualifications and information required for each scholarship on your list. Specific scholarships will have specific requirements. For instance, merit scholarships may require participation in the National Honor Society or the Key Club. Some scholarships require a certain course track to qualify, and you will have to take those classes in high school to apply. More and more, scholarships require community service hours. Most scholarships require a minimum score on ACT or SAT tests such as guaranteed scholarships. You should plan to take each test more than once so that you can improve your score if necessary. As you can see, this is why it is important to begin your scholarship list search early in your high school career. Make note of each qualification and try to meet it during your high school years.
Keep track of your transcript and GPA each semester. Note any achievements, awards or certificates and compile them into a portfolio or resume that can be used as you search the lists. Save your best essays from classes. These pieces may be modified to become a qualifying essay for one of the scholarships on the list. By the time you reach your senior year, you will have an impressive resume.
It is never too early to begin your search for financial aid for college. Pre-planning and organization will be the key. A list of scholarships are the best place to begin. These lists will serve as a guideline for compiling a portfolio that will put you ahead of the competition.