College scholarships should always be the first place that a student looks for financial aid. Scholarships are similar to grants in that neither needs to be paid back. Scholarships provide money from a specific school or charity that are given to select students for excelling at something. However, they often require the student to fulfill some requirement in return for the funds.
An educational institution in exchange for a student’s athletic participation at the school generally gives out sports scholarships. Students are required to play a sport while maintaining a predetermined grade point average in order to maintain their eligibility for the scholarship. If the individual does not maintain their grades or becomes ineligible or unable to participate in the athletic endeavor, they are no longer eligible to receive the scholarship.
Academic scholarships, offered by numerous venues, may be for a particular school and others are for whichever school a student chooses to attend. These scholarships are awarded based purely on academic achievement, and require the student to maintain a relatively high grade point average to keep them.
The final category of scholarships is special scholarships. These are only awarded to students that fit a predetermined demographic such as women over 40 years of age, science students, or students returning to school after an extended break. These scholarships often require the participating student to fulfill some requirement, whether it is to pursue a particular academic endeavor, maintain an above average grade point average or volunteer for a specific charity. As long as the conditions are met and maintained, the student can keep the scholarship money, which sometimes even, be considered for the same scholarship again the following year.
With all of the college scholarships available, this should be a student’s first place to look for financial aid. Almost anyone can get a scholarship if they know where to look and how to apply. A school’s financial aid department will often have this information, as will high school counselors.
Once you have identified the scholarships that you are eligible for, you should start the application process as soon as possible. This is because many institutions have an early deadline for applications which is strictly enforced.
The application form itself can be very detailed, so make sure you take the time to carefully read and understand everything before filling it out. You may also need to provide proof of nationality, memberships for other organizations and grades, so ensure you can produce these documents. Contact the college if you have any questions or concerns about the application.