We all know how expensive college can be so we try to look for means of support with tuition and school expenses in the form of scholarships. So as a student who is aspiring to enroll into college, you probably have a general idea what a scholarship is. Scholarships are grants or financial aid awarded to students based on different criteria to help them pay for their higher education. Unlike loans, scholarships do not accrue interest and do not have to be paid back. There are many sources from which scholarships can come; some scholarships are granted by governments, universities, corporations or philanthropists. The Hungarian Government, for example, provides the Stipendium Hungaricum as one of the finest scholarships in Europe to national and international students while a philanthropic scholarship like The Rhodes Scholarship has been helping students with their postgraduate studies at Oxford University since 1902. Some universities are also known for granting scholarships to students. Monash University of Australia provides The Monash International Merit Scholarship, for example, to international students while corporations like Coca-Cola avails three programs to help high schoolers that are enrolling into college with their tuition fees.
In this article, we will cover different types of scholarships available to you and how you can benefit from them.
When you think of a scholarship, the merit-based type is probably the one that comes to mind. Merit-based scholarships offer a way for young talents and brilliant minds to receive their higher education because of their academic excellence as well as athletic or artistic achievements. Many providers offer scholarships to students with high test scores, involvement in community service, high grades or leadership roles and often times to those students with interesting hobbies and skills. Merit-based scholarships generally ensure that the most gifted students get their opportunity to receive their higher education if they otherwise cannot afford to.
There is an enormous number of merit-based scholarships available to students from everywhere in the world who can demonstrate a promise in different fields. Typically, students are awarded scholarships if they can maintain an above average GPA of 3.5 or A grade. As this type of scholarships is intended for the high achievers, some providers set their standards to a 3.7 GPA.
Not all scholarships are aimed at the overachievers who achieve a great SAT score or those who are brilliant musicians or painters. A large number of the individual scholarships is supported by local or national civic groups, clubs and associations, businesses and independent donation and can be based on any number of criteria. For example, there are scholarships that are targeting students based on where they are from and other scholarships that are aimed at women, minority, and multi-ethnic students. Other scholarships and grant programs also target students in extreme personal circumstances. So if a student can get into college, they can receive some kind of a scholarship.
Some scholarships are aimed at students based on their commitment to enter a specific career and in return, students are obligated to commit a set number of years in a field or an area where there is a shortage of employees. The National Health Service Corps in the United States awards scholarships to students pursuing eligible primary care health professions training. In return, scholars commit to provide primary care health services in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Scholars typically commit to a minimum of two years of full-time service in exchange for a full year of scholarship support so if you are decided on a major to study and would commit years of work after graduation, there are a lot of similar scholarships available on the web. In the next section, we’ll discuss what it takes to find the best scholarships for you.
Searching for a scholarship.
The search for a university to enroll into for college-bound students isn’t the only difficult aspect of going to college. As scholarships are basically free money to pay for your education, it will require some work on your part. The internet is flooded with information on different scholarships available so be prepared to dedicate time and effort to conduct your research and organize, study and apply for the scholarship that suits you best. Here are a few tips that will help you find the scholarship that suits you best.
Start your search early
Just like applying for colleges, finding the right scholarship can be a lengthy process. It’s never too early to start the search for college scholarships that’s why it is always advised to not only start your college application as early as possible, but your search for a scholarship as well. This process can start as soon as you begin applying for college or even earlier. Starting your search throughout your senior high school years is a good practice; new scholarships come out all the time so starting so early can only expand your opportunities of finding the right scholarship.
The process of finding the right scholarship can be overwhelming. You will typically come across hundreds of websites with an enormous number of scholarships not all of them are right for you which can be frustrating and confusing. You are advised to organize your search in a document or an excel sheet with all the deadlines and requirements for each scholarship. Set reminders as scholarships deadlines near and only keep track of the ones that apply to you.
You will be surprised with the number of scam scholarships advertised out there. A lot of “no essay” scholarship postings that are available online are in fact just sweepstakes that are only after your contact information. You should take some time to train yourself how to spot and avoid these postings. Starting your scholarship search as early as possible will help you identify and differentiate between legitimate scholarship postings and scam ones.
Cast a wide net
Instead of applying to scholarships that can potentially cover your entire school year, be sure to apply to different scholarships that can provide you with different amounts of grants. Remember that the competition for large scholarships that grant a large sum of money can be fierce. It is advised to apply to different smaller awards that are less competitive and can improve your chances of landing a scholarship. Also, keep in mind that different departments within universities often receive donations from alumni to establish a scholarship for a specific major. Monash University in Australia offers the Accounting Honours Scholarship to national and international students who choose to study the Bachelor of Commerce and who major in Accounting or Finance. So make sure to search and apply for scholarships for all the majors you are considering.
Pay attention to details
The importance of submitting a complete scholarship application cannot be overstated. Certainly, every scholarship application requires a different set of requirements. Double check the requirement for each of the scholarships you are considering applying for. If a personal statement or an essay is required, keep note of what the topic of the essay should be and what the required word count is. Make sure that you run your personal statement or essay by a friend for proof-reading and critiquing; a different set of eyes can spot mistakes that you cannot do yourself. Pay attention to the smallest of details; missing to submit one document can disqualify you from receiving that scholarship.
Show off your hobby
Like we mentioned earlier, merit-based scholarships are often targeted at those who excel and demonstrate brilliance in different fields that are not necessarily related to the study subject. If you have a hobby like playing a musical instrument, volunteering or debating, make sure to show that off. Write about any hobbies you may have and search for scholarships that are related to that hobby. A lot of hobby-related scholarships are awarded to students with different interests in which the competition is not as strong and the chances of receiving a scholarship is much higher.
Finally, like we said earlier, there are thousands of scholarship websites on the web and it can get difficult where to begin. We’ve gathered a few reliable resources that can help place you on the right direction when looking for a scholarship.
The College Board: is famously known for administering the SAT test around the world and a well-known player in the higher education arena. The College Board offer a comprehensive search engine for scholarships that are available in the US for national and international students.
Scholarships.com: offers quick and easy access to over 2.7 million free college scholarships and allows high school students, college students, and returning students access to millions of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities.
InternationalScholarships.com: The International Scholarship Search is the premier financial aid, college scholarship and international scholarship resource for students wishing to study abroad. At this site, you will find the most comprehensive listing of grants, scholarships, loan programs, and other information to assist college and university students in their pursuit to study abroad.
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