Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.
Scholarships award the recipient with financial aid that does not have to be repaid. This lesson covers ways to find individual school-sponsored scholarships and tips for increasing your odds of winning scholarships.
Hi. If you're watching this lesson, it probably means that you have decided to go to college. Congratulations! It also means you are probably wondering how to pay for your education.
This lesson will discuss scholarships you can find at your intended school. Scholarships are referred to as gift aid because they are financial aid that is freely given, meaning you don't have to work in exchange for the money, nor do you have to repay the money.
Free money for education sounds worth the effort to do a thorough search for scholarships, doesn't it? Keep watching to learn more about how to find scholarships offered by your school, some tips for applying and some general things to avoid while applying.
How to Find Scholarships at Your School
Financial aid is often, but not always, need based. School scholarships are a form of financial aid. Most schools offer a wide range of financial aid options. To find out if you are eligible for financial aid, you must complete the FAFSA form, which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Don't worry; most people do qualify for some level of aid. For example, at the University of Florida, 70% of the student population has received some financial aid. That is almost three-quarters of their students. Amazing!
After completing the FAFSA, visit your financial aid office. They should have a list of all scholarships available on campus. As you view the list, note the deadlines, requirements and eligibility restrictions for each scholarship you are interested in because they may be unique.
When you see the list of scholarships available, you may find that there are many different categories of scholarships with different monetary amounts to be awarded. You may find one that is a Presidential Scholarship (or other similar name). This is typically a full academic scholarship offered to an incoming freshman. You may also see a few Dean's Scholarships, which will be large, but not full, academic scholarships for incoming freshman. An academic scholarship is a scholarship with the primary selection criteria focused on the applicant's academic performance.
You may also find scholarships sponsored by each department in the school, such as the School of Art or the Psychology Department. One very common category of departmental scholarships is the STEM category. STEM scholarships are scholarships offered to students intending to major in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.
Finally, you may find scholarships sponsored by private individuals, many in honor of a past student of the school. Often, private donation scholarships carry special criteria to match the passions of the honoree; make sure you read the application carefully before submitting it.
All scholarships have deadlines, which are the last day that an application will be accepted. Many deadlines are about a year ahead of the actual award time for the scholarship. Make sure you keep track of all your application deadlines.
Tips for Applying
After you have found some scholarships, how do you know which to apply for? Because of the effort you must put into each application, you want to make sure you are making the most of your time by only submitting those applications that have a very good chance of succeeding. Here are a few tips for making sure you give yourself the best shot at winning a scholarship:
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Large scholarship awards are highly sought after but very rare. Improve your odds by applying for smaller, less popular scholarships.
Because many of the scholarships offered by your school will be academic scholarships, you will need to make sure you have good grades, and that you have done all you can to maximize your score on your entrance exams (such as the SAT or ACT).
Beyond academics, scholarships are most commonly awarded to students who are well rounded. Make sure that you have plenty of extracurricular activities, leadership experience and community service involvement to round out your academic accomplishments.
Consider your major. Remember some major fields try to entice student participation through scholarships (like the STEM majors I was talking about).
Consider your talents. Athletic scholarships are very common for the most highly talented athletes. Some schools may offer scholarships in other talent-related areas as well; you won't know unless you look into it.
Remember to check your demographics. Many scholarships are based on particular demographics, such as gender, religious affiliation, race and ethnic background.
Things to Avoid
What about things you should try to avoid when scholarship hunting? Avoid wasting your time by reading the scholarship conditions before you start. You wouldn't want to spend hours filling out an application, just to find out that the winner is required to enter a major that does not interest you.
And also avoid an embarrassing online presence by searching for yourself online and reviewing all of your hits on your own name. Whatever you find, a scholarship committee could find as well. Make sure it shows you as you'd like to be seen by strangers.
Wow, that was certainly a lot of information in a short span of time. It may seem confusing, but it can all boil down into a few simple thoughts:
Scholarships are financial aid money that does not have to be repaid after your education is finished. Make note of deadlines, requirements and restrictions as you review applications. Cast a wide net when applying for scholarships. Remember to search based on your talents, intended major and personal demographic information.
I really hope these tips and tricks for landing a scholarship have helped you. Please review the lesson before taking the quiz and any time you just want to refresh your memory. Good luck!
Strong knowledge of this lesson's material could account for your capacity to pursue these objectives:
Realize that free money for college is available
Identify the various scholarships that you might qualify for
Understand the application process for scholarships
Know the importance of reading scholarship conditions
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