Now Comes the Tough Part – Paying for It.
Getting into a good college or university – especially when the competition for places is so fierce – is quite an achievement. But admission to your year’s freshman class is only half of the higher-education battle. The other half: Covering the cost of that education.
BookRenter can save you some serious money on textbooks, of course. For help meeting the rest of your college expenses, scholarships and grants abound, if you know where to look.
Top 3 Tips on Finding College Scholarships and Grants.
1. Ask for help from your school’s Financial Aid Office.
It’s their job to help you find what you need to know about scholarships and grants and how to apply for them. And while many scholarships are based on academics or athletic prowess, there are hundreds of other kinds of scholarships – many of which go unused each year because potential applicants don’t know about them. For example, lots of schools offer legacy scholarships, open to family members (children, stepchildren, grandchildren, siblings, and even nieces and nephews) of alumni. Other schools award “first-generation” scholarships to students who are first in their family to attend college. There are scholarships for minorities, for older students, for returning students – the list is practically endless.
2. Do some [virtual] legwork
There are lots of online destinations where you can learn about – and apply for – scholarships. A good one is apps.collegeboard.com (yes, the same outfit many of us used to prep for college entrance exams). Another is scholarships.com, which lists some 2.7 million local, state, and national college scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion (as on most of the scholarship sites, searching is free). Fastweb.com offers contests and financial aid advice.
And at ed.gov you can learn about the U.S. Department of Education Pell Grant Program, which provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain grad students.
* Don’t forget to apply for BookRenter’s Rock the World Scholarship!
3. Online or off, think outside the box
Many scholarships, grants, and contests are designed to help students nurture a special interest or talent. Interested in “green” architecture or the environment and have a project or declared major to back it up?
You may qualify for an eco-oriented scholarship or grant. (Many green scholarships not only help you pay for school but also allow you to plan and execute projects or attend educational conferences.)
Got a wacky talent like, say, duck calling? Enter the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest and you could win up to $2,000 – money that can be used to further education in any field.
And don’t forget to check out your hometown’s local businesses, civic organizations, and church groups – some of them might have scholarship or grant programs reserved especially for “home-grown” students.
Got some tips of your own on getting help to finance your college education?
Tell us about ‘em!
Samantha (Sami) Main I UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Bright, passionate, a fierce multi-tasker. Claim to fame: Made it to Round Three of Charlie Sheen’s controversial #TigerBloodIntern contest.