Finding Easy Money for College

Need money for college? Experts shed some light on tips to get your foot in the door to some incredible scholarship opportunities. Money for college is readily available for students of any age, race, ethnicity and grade level, you just have to go out and find the funds. With time and effort, you shall be rewarded.

Researching to find the right scholarship programs for you is inevitable. The possibilities in finding financial aid are virtually endless and can be overwhelming at first. If you find yourself not knowing where to turn, consider looking into a scholarship dictionary. These are published yearly and list more scholarships than you would ever have time to apply for. The scholarships are listed by category; some include your major, age, location, hobbies, community service, ethnicity, race, and others. You might find this a great start as you can do some preliminary research on your own. Your findings can be taken to your guidance counselor for suggestions and further direction on when and how to apply for the particular scholarships you are looking into.

According to William Nelsen, the president of Citizens’ Scholarship Foundation of America, a basic step involved in finding scholarships is to become friendly with your high school guidance counselor. They have heaps of updated information on scholarships and are often first to be made aware of special awards. Also, once you have selected a school, make friends at the financial aid office. Research all of the opportunities available to you through people who know best.

Every student has different financial needs when it comes to crunching numbers for college expenses. Utilizing resources that are readily available to you is a great time saver for every busy student. Ask everyone that you or your family are associated with in regards to financial assistance for college. You may find scholarship opportunities with your employer, parents’ employers, churches, and other organizations.

Many companies these days offer scholarships to students who have worked with the company for over a year, and others offer tuition reimbursement based on the grades that you receive each semester. The only disadvantage to that would be that you would initially have to fork over the money for the schooling and receive a reimbursement from your employer afterwards. However many schools are lenient and have payment plans and options for you. They want your business as much as you want to give them your business.

Still find the scholarship process overwhelming? Try using the Internet, one of the greatest tools of the 21st century. A great website in assisting you in personalizing your scholarship search is www.fastweb.com. Registration is free and you will be guided through a questionnaire that will assist you in finding scholarships that are geared specifically toward your life-long goals and aspirations, including what major you anticipate to participate in, achievements during your school years, hobbies that you enjoy, even what jobs your parents hold and at what company. All of the answers that you provide for your profile will be saved and any financial aid opportunity that matches what you have submitted will be sent to you via email. You then have the opportunity to review the current opportunities and decide if they fit your needs. Fastweb simplifies the scholarship search for you. You may find that after registering you have a multitude of opportunities available to you. Don’t panic. Go through them all and take note of those that best fit your needs. Some scholarships only assist a select number of individuals, while others offer less money to more qualified students. Weed through your selections carefully and apply only to opportunities that you can dedicate the necessary time to.

Maria De Anda, director of scholarship programs for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund shares with students to approach applying for scholarships effectively you should create an academic and personal portfolio; maintain good grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and set goals for yourself. Prepare yourself by researching for every scholarship opportunity that you meet the requirements for and apply to those that you feel best fit your needs.

“Begin the search for scholarships in your freshman year of high school so that you will be better prepared to apply in your senior year. While there are a number of scholarships awarded to continuing college students, many are awarded to graduating high school seniors, says Anda.”

Once you have chosen scholarships that fit your needs, and have the application in your hand, read it carefully. Make sure to fill out all information and keep on top of the application deadline. A great addition to your scholarship application is a letter of recommendation. Letters can be written by any community influence: a teacher, coach, or employer, to name a few.

There are a few companies that offer scholarships to the general public including Discover Card, Coca-Cola, and Target. Of course you have to apply for these scholarships and all of them are restricted to specific grade levels, so make sure that you keep yourself aware of all deadlines. Applications are available through their websites. It is a good idea to also keep your guidance counselor apprised that you are in the market for these scholarships. If they receive applications or updated information they will be able to pass the information on to you.

Remember that every person has something different to offer the world and many companies would like to help students reach their goals by supplying financial resources to them. Good luck in your search.

Some great sources include:

The U.S. Department of Education student aid offers grants, work-study, and loans. Information is specific per state and can be located at www.studentaid.ed.gov.

The Citizen’s Scholarship Foundation hosts a National Scholarship Month in May. It is never too early to start learning about scholarships mentioned on their website at www.csfa.org.

Target Corporation sponsors several scholarships to students with an excellent community service record, a great addition to any portfolio. Information can be obtained at www.target.com.

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