College Scholarship Guide

Mar 05, 2021

Higher education is a fundamental milestone that can aid individuals in successfully launching their careers. However, the cost can leave a person in crippling debt of an average of $ 33, 000 per learner. Ultimately, the more prestigious a learning institution is, the higher the tuition fees. If you lack the capacity to make such payments, or would rather avert the interest on student loans, then you ought to consider obtaining a scholarship.  According to statistics, over $ 7 billion is awarded in scholarships annually with the number consistently rising. This form of financial aid is non-refundable. How can a student obtain a college scholarship? How can you get your education partly paid for? Below is a college scholarship guide and how to effectively apply.




Scholarship Application Guide



This is the first stage that ought to be conducted prior to the scholarship application deadline. Scholarship committees tend to prefer well-rounded candidates/individuals. This demystifies the idea that the only fundamental aspect of obtaining scholarship is dependent on academic achievements.  Nonetheless, avert indulging in extracurricular activities if you lack genuine interest in them since the disinterest is easily noticeable by the committee.

Ensure you obtain information particular to your case from your respective counselors. These advisers can act as mentors who will equip you with useful information on both the interview and application process. Moreover, they have access to previous scholarship winners from recent years. Therefore, these individuals possess hands-on experience that is essential in guaranteeing a successful application procedure.

Additionally, organize all the required and relevant documents including both descriptions and essays stating your critical achievements.


Make certain that you search for relevant scholarships before the application deadline since new college scholarships are continuously being created. Additionally, ensure you apply to multiple relevant programs to better broaden your opportunity pool. However, your efforts should revolve around the highest paying categories. If you have already received acceptance from college(s), search for scholarships that directly work with the learning institution of your choice. Also, consider filtering out the options that do not suit you based on failed deadlines or for other fundamental reasons.

Ensure you utilize all the available tools such as contacting counselors, local foundations, non-profit organizations, or the internet. There are numerous free websites that allow students to search for available scholarships i.e. or


There is no definite algorithm that would suit each scholarship program. Every individual program has its respective requirements, therefore, ensure you effectively comprehend and adhere to them. To qualify for these colleges scholarship programs make certain that you stand out. There are two primary ways in which the scholarship committees expect learners to present themselves i.e. an elaborate essay and interviews. While drafting your essays, ensure you utilize real life experiences, unique stories to describe your personality and achievements.  It is fundamental to seek outside perspective prior to sending the application; inquire on other people’s opinions.

The interview preparations would involve practicing efficient answering of questions with your counterparts or in front of the mirror. The answers ought to be direct, and confidently stated. Additionally, proper attire is essential; individuals ought to be smartly groomed.

Recommendation letters from relevant persons are considered as a bonus. You should provide these referrers with clear instructions on who to direct the letter to and what to write.




Types of Scholarships a Student Can Apply For

The following are the primary scholarships categories that you should apply to:


Career or Industry Scholarships  

These scholarships offered to current or potential graduate learners who are either already members of a specific field or are returning to school for an entirely different degree but possess an evident idea of where their career paths will lead.

Need-based Scholarships

These are financial grants given to students who possess genuine financial need based on family income. The Sallie Mae study states that 58% of low income earning families utilized need based scholarships in 2019.

Academic Scholarships

These are financial wards granted to prospective learners, with high final grades in their qualifications based the college or university they apply to. Can be referred to as merit, presidential, trustee, or chancellor scholarships.

Athletic Scholarships

Amount of financial aids granted to student-athlete from various higher learning institutions based on their athletic abilities and their contribution to their respective teams. A coach normally decides who gets awarded the scholarships and how much they receive.

Scholarships for Minorities

 These are scholarships are awarded to multi-ethnic learners/ underrepresented communities and is not limited to American citizens. The determinants include academic, talent and athletic qualifications.

Artistic Scholarships

These are financial grants given to learners who are creative and have spent hours in high school developing their artistic talent. This covers many disciplines i.e. fine arts, design, or performing arts.




Other Forms of Financial Aid


Student Loans

These forms of loans aim to aid learners in paying post-secondary education and the associated expenses such as books, tuition, living expenses, and other supplies. The interest rates are significantly lower and the repayment schedule is usually deferred while the learner is still in school. Moreover, there are loopholes that allow renegotiation.

Income Share Agreements 

These are contracts between the students and their respective learning institutions. Learners primarily receive monetary benefits from the university to fund their education and in exchange they accept to pay the institution a specific percentage of their salary post graduation. The minimum payable amount increases with rise in income. This can be considered as a better alternative to student loans


These are non-repayable funds disbursed by a foundation, government or institution (non-profit entity) to students to facilitate the learning process. It is paramount to draft application letters or proposals to receive grants. These forms of financial aid require a comprehensive level of accountability, compliance and reporting. Grants can also be obtained by victims of devastating life events i.e. death of parents etc.




College Scholarship Providers


Corporate Scholarships

These scholarship programs are from philanthropic organizations such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and McDonalds. Primarily, eligibility is restricted to minority learners or granted for the study of a specific filed i.e. Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Institution Specific Scholarships

These scholarships are directly sourced from the universities that students apply to and often involves need-based and merit components. Scholarships can be general in nature or extremely particular to the extent of some being granted by specific departments within the learning institution. An excellent example is the University of Michigan that provides a broad range of potential scholarships such as individual awards that are granted determined on particular eligibility requirements i.e. fraternity membership, participation in ROTC, parents that work for Ford, foster care background, and graduation from a specific high school.

National and Locally Based Charitable Organizations Grant Scholarships

Hometown organizations such as religious institutions and community foundations fundamentally offer amazing scholarship opportunities. If your guardians are trade union members ensure you access your eligibility for a union scholarship.

Professional Organizations and Member-based Groups

These scholarships usually target learners studying specific fields such as nursing, technology, agriculture, or business. The American Academy of Chefs (ACC), the honor society of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), facilitates educational scholarships for high school learners and professional chefs in need of further education or become certified in the culinary arts field.  



Steps for finding more College Scholarships


Complete or Review your FAFSA

You ought to finish your yearly FAFSA information. This data is utilized by numerous learning institutions and prerequisite in numerous offers; money is dependent on it. Your FAFSA information should be refreshed annually, immediately after completing your tax returns; from your pre-freshman year and through to graduation. In certain universities, this action alone can get you into their financial aid programs. This is especially applicable to learning institutions that do not accept outside scholarships. The FAFSA is fundamental for your yearly financial stability; and can be the primary determinant of receiving financial aid.

Communicate to your Financial Aid Counselor

Every learner is normally assigned to a particular financial aid advisors based on where you live and name. Once you establish your specific representative, make certain to meet up with them and state your objectives. This meeting is fundamental for any incoming freshman during the registration process. After you evidently elaborate on your goals, the right advisor will easily provide you with suitable resources; thus ensuring you get the most out of all available offers. Financial advisors will effectively assist you in offsetting majority of incurred costs.

The essence of this step is to have a clear understanding of the forms of offers you ought to be perusing. In certain instances, your college might not permit a scholarship provided by a specific provider; hence this saves time and effort.

Below are standard questions that are fundamental when applying for a scholarship or meeting with a financial advisor:

  • What are the available departmentally-specific and college scholarships?
  • Are outside scholarship offers permitted?
  • What are the restrictions regarding the number of scholarships permitted every quarter or semester?
  •  What particular resources can be utilized to allow the application for more scholarship opportunities?
  • Are there calendar deadlines for guaranteeing easy disbursement of my financial aid?
  • Other than FAFSA, are there any particular forms or documents available for me to complete to access financial aid?

These questions will enable learners to comprehend limitations and allowances, paperwork requirements, and specific deadlines; hence eliminate confusion. Additionally, financial advisors will know of under publicized federal, state, or private scholarship opportunities. They also know of alternative ways of financial aid. Consequently, they help students comprehend the potential benefits, rules and regulations, locate unique offers, and secure the scholarships.

The Scholarship Search Funnel

AVOID SCHOLARSHIP SCAMS: There are numerous online platforms that take advantage of learners seeking financial assistance. Fortunately, there are simple steps provided by the government concerning private firms hence enabling learners to protect themselves from predatory scholarship scams.

Here are some trusted resources to study:

Finding Federally Sponsored Offers

The federal government provides merit-based scholarships for fields of study that are fundamental within the government such as technology, healthcare, and oceanic studies. Moreover, it offers assistance in the form of low interest grants and loans i.e. Pell grants, Stafford, and Perkins loans. The financial aids are primarily merit-based or need-based awards. Federally sponsored offers are fundamental, especially when supplemented with other forms of financing. Make certain to evaluate every offer to ensure both selected sponsorships go hand in hand.

However, past histories such as criminal records tend to play significant roles in determining who gets into federally-supported programs. If you have a troubled past, this route may not be adequate for you, it is therefore paramount to seek other scholarship programs. Ensure you consult the financial aid department of your learning institution to understand the manner in which the scholarship program aligns with the school’s policies. In most cases, federally and nationally sponsored programs are normally respected in every institution.

Finding Nationwide Scholarships

Consider specifics in relation to your circumstance i.e. religious affiliation, gender, race, geographical location, political beliefs, and GPA. Note that the aspects that make an individual unique tend to be the same elements that increase your opportunity pool of scholarship programs.

Forging for college scholarships requires a good search engines. The following are the most fundamental possibilities for performing online scholarship searches:

  • Peterson’s College Search

This is a well-established database for seeking data and opportunities. Additionally, this platform prides itself of providing more than one million scholarship listing; thus presenting students with more possibilities. Nonetheless, this can be devastating for learners without proper guidance with the results producing non-applicable resources. The search process requires an individual to create an account to aid in refining the searches. Peterson’s College Search has earned its reputation by complementing learners to relevant information and opportunities for the past 60 years.

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