by Logan Harms
College can be intimidating, especially when there are many things to consider: grades, programs, and extracurriculars. The most daunting obstacle is money. With the average tuition steadily increasing every year, it becomes difficult to know where to start applying for financial aid.
Some of the more popular scholarships are merit-based, which means money is earned and put towards tuition and fees by exceeding certain standards, whether that be in GPA, test scores, or extracurriculars. Some examples include the Coca-Cola Scholars Scholarship and the Footlocker Scholar Athletes Scholarship. Another popular merit-based scholarship is the National Merit Scholarship Program, which is given to students who achieve outstanding PSAT/NMSQT scores. There are a lot of academic scholarships that vary from university to university, so it’s best to contact your intended university’s financial aid office.
Finding a scholarship doesn’t have to be hard, just a little time-consuming. Scholarships.com, along with other sites like Big Future or Fastweb, are massive search engines that list all of the scholarship options available to students who qualify for them. They have sports scholarships, academic scholarships, scholarships for certain careers, and everything else you could think of. There are scholarships that support people with special backgrounds or experiences, such as a family member participating in the military, any religious affiliation, or racial/ethnic identity. Lastly, if you need financial aid, then there are scholarships that will help you directly.
A common question asked by students is how one receives the money for the scholarship. The answer to that is it just depends on the scholarship type, either athletic or academic. Some programs will mail you a check, but others will give the money directly to your school for tuition fees.
Scholarships can be overwhelming, and many of them have different deadlines and requirements, so it’s important to read the scholarships carefully and do your research on the universities you are thinking of applying for. Scholarships may seem like a formidable opponent, but the benefits of these scholarships will create a ripple that will benefit you for the rest of your life.