There is a myriad of scholarships available to students that are pursuing their bachelor’s degree. Whether you look locally, at the state level, or nationally, you are sure to find plenty of great scholarships which can help make a college education more affordable for you. The best thing you can do to find as many scholarships as possible to pay for your bachelor’s degree is to be proactive. The more research you can do and the more people you can ask, the better your chances will be in finding scholarships for which you can qualify. Don’t be deterred if a scholarship application requires an essay or some other work in addition to the application. While it may take a little bit of time, the scholarships which take a bit more time to apply for probably have fewer applicants due to the amount of effort necessary. Researching and applying for scholarships is, in many ways, a job because you will be putting in a certain number of hours of work and, in response to this work, you can potentially receive significant amounts of scholarship money.
When applying to different colleges and universities, make sure to investigate if those specific institutions provide any academic, athletic, or other talent-based scholarships to their students. Oftentimes, just by applying to an institution, you will be considered for merit-based scholarships which are evaluated by your high school GPA and standardized test scores (typically from the SAT or ACT).
There are also numerous “weirdly obscure” scholarships that are offered at the national level. Because these scholarships often have very unique requirements, you could have a great chance of being chosen simply by qualifying. Examples of these types of scholarships include the Asparagus Club Scholarship, the Duct Tape Prom Dress Scholarship, the Left-Handed Applicant Scholarship, and many more.
You should explore local scholarships, as well, since the number of applicants is sure to be far less in a smaller radius. Check with a high school guidance counselor, local clubs like the VFW or Kiwanas, and ask local businesses such as groceries and hardware stores to see if they offer any sort of scholarship opportunities. Don’t think any amount is too small, even lower-level scholarships can add up to some great savings for your education.
If you are an athlete, you may already be aware of student-athlete scholarships. Be sure to inquire with coaches or athletic directors about what kinds of scholarships are available. It is also important to be aware of the athletic division your institution is in. NCAA – Division III teams, for example, are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships to their students. Knowing the rules in these regards can be very important in finding an affordable education.
If you are not the athlete type but still love sports, you should still inquire about scholarship opportunities. Many schools offer manager scholarships to students that assist athletic teams. If you don’t mind doing a bit of laundry, filling water bottles, carrying equipment, or other “grunt” work, you could find a great way to secure some additional scholarship money.
If you are more of the artistic or creative type, there are some great potential scholarships based on talent for you, as well. Many institutions have artistic departments that are able to award talent-based scholarship money to students who excel in theatre, music, art, creative writing, and more. In fact, many schools offer these talent-based scholarships in addition to merit-based scholarships you may secure based on your GPA and test scores.
As you begin to accumulate scholarships, whether local, state-wide, or nation-wide, be sure to inquire with the schools you are interested in attending to see if there are any limitations to how your outside scholarships are accounted for. Sometimes you may be awarded a scholarship that can only be used at an institution in the provider’s state or some other specific requirement. Ask how your scholarships are allocated (and what regulations are attached to them) when you are awarded.
Additionally, if you find yourself in the advantageous place of securing enough scholarships to cover the entire cost of your first year of education, check with your scholarship providers to see if you can defer any of your scholarship amounts to the following years. While you may have enough scholarship money for your first year to be fully financed, most institutions’ tuition, room, and board increase each year to match inflation. If you can defer some of your smaller scholarships you may be able to use these amounts to offset that inflation.