A scholarship is a form of student aid that you do not have to repay as long as you meet all of the obligations. It's easy to think of a scholarship as a coupon that you can apply to your tuition, lowering your education costs.
Because you do not need pay them back, always apply for as many scholarships as possible before you consider using loans to pay for your college education.
There is a scholarship out there for just about everyone. A common misconception is that you must be either poor or super smart to get one.
The truth is, financial need and GPA aren't the only criteria for awarding scholarships. Scholarships award money to students for a variety of reasons. You could get a scholarship based on:
- Your particular major
- Athletic ability
- Religious affiliation
- Social activities
There are even scholarships available for unusual interests and talents. For example, you may be awarded a scholarship just for having an interest in candy and confection, for using duct tape to make your prom attire, or even for being tall.
The bottom line: You may be eligible for more scholarships than you think. Search for and apply for as many scholarships as possible each year you attend school.
How to Apply
Every scholarship has different guidelines. Some scholarships require you to complete only an application, and others may require you to submit an essay or proof of a specific skill.
When you find a scholarship for which you are eligible, read the guidelines carefully. Don't skip any parts, but don't provide more information than necessary either.
IMPORTANT: Be wary of potential scholarship scams. You should never have to pay a fee to apply for a scholarship.