The costs for college education are continuously getting higher. It’s no secret that most families in the U.S. cannot afford to send their children to college no matter how soon they start saving the money. The cost of attending Harvard College without financial aid is estimated at $60,659 for 2015-2016 (this amount includes tuition, board, room and fees). The cost of attendance at Berkeley is estimated at $60,476. That’s a lot of money for a single year of college studies.
Of course, there are cheaper colleges, but high-school graduates want to get the best education that would open the doors to a bright future. Those dreams cost a lot of money, so most of them are wondering: “Is it possible to get free education?”
Everyone has a chance to get financial help for college. The only question is: how do you get noticed among all those candidates, who are competing for that money? It’s important to plan your approach and do everything in your power to present yourself as someone worthy of the investment. The following 5 tips will help you do that.
1. The Grades Are Important
You don’t like writing papers, so you simply neglect literature classes because you intend to proceed with your education in the direction of economy or law? Well, you should know that every grade you get during high school is important regardless of the plans you have. The eligibility for most scholarship programs is based on the grades. The government and private organizations won’t invest in your education if you don’t prove yourself to be a decent candidate.
Start improving your GPA and take part in extracurricular activities. Scholarship committees pay attention to students with flawless records.
The grades will still be important once you get the aid and start your college education. Remember: you won’t stay in the program if you fail to take the necessary credit hours. Part-time students don’t get full scholarships. You have to be serious about all college courses you attend if you want to keep getting that scholarship.
2. Use Scholarship Matching Platforms
Not every scholarship program will be suitable for you. There are hundreds of opportunities out there, but you cannot start applying to every single offer if you’re not eligible. It’s important to distinguish the programs that are suitable for you goals, GPA, age, gender, ethnicity, experience, etc.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you’re on the search for the right scholarships? Google! Well, that’s not the most suitable search engine for this purpose because it will deliver thousands of results that may or may not be relevant to your needs. Online scholarship matching services get updated on a daily basis, so you’ll get email notifications for the programs that match your profile. These are some of the ones you should subscribe to:
3. Write Great Scholarship Essays
If your scholarship essay doesn’t stand out, the board will soon forget your name. Many candidates will submit similar applications in terms of GPA, interests and experience. The scholarship essays will make the real difference. The committee will expect to get a more detailed look at your goals and your overall life through this paper.
Remember: you cannot accompany several applications with the same essay. Each scholarship program has unique requirements, so make sure to read the instructions carefully before you start composing the paper. Take your time and never leave this part for the last moment. A great essay takes days or weeks to be completed.
If writing is not your forte, you can attend an online course or ask for assistance. The most important thing to remember is the fact that the scholarship essay must convey your unique personality. It must be unique, creative, and flawless.
Image Source: Will Folsom/Flickr
4. Get Involved in Community Service
If you mention volunteering experience in your scholarship application, you’ll instantly look better in the eyes of the board members. Community service shows that you are a responsible individual who cares for other people. You are not only wishing for a better world; you’re making your own contributions to make people’s lives better.
Scholarship sponsors, especially when they are non-profit organizations, are interested in candidates who are committed to long-term community service. Make sure to identify a cause you care for and do your best to become part of a successful volunteering group. This experience will add great value to your application.
Negative decisions for scholarship appeal are common. You’ll have to get used to them, so try not to get too disappointed if you don’t get into the program you aim for. There are tons of other opportunities out there, so you should definitely send multiple applications for aid you’re eligible for. However, if you’re confident that you deserve a full scholarship and the financial aid letter informs you that you get only a small amount, you can (and should) ask for professional judgment.
During the professional judgment process, the financial aid administrator will review specific circumstances that will determine the final decision for potential adjustments of the amount of money you get. These unusual circumstances include sudden job loss or death in the family, medical bills, and any other situation that affects the overall budget. The financial aid is a flexible category, so the initial amount you receive can be adjusted if that is necessary. Write a formal appeal and state your case very carefully.
The Right Approach Will Get You a Scholarship!
The first thing to keep in mind when aiming for a scholarship is improving your current grades. It doesn’t matter what area of studies you intend to focus on; all high school classes and grades are important. Community service is a key factor that will determine the outcome of your applications, so it’s time to start fighting for the causes you believe in.
The scholarship essays are another crucial element of the application process. If you get them right, you’ll impress the board members and you’ll boost your chances of getting into the program. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to scholarship matching engines and apply to multiple programs you’re eligible for. If your circumstances change after the time of application and acceptance of a financial aid letter, you can ask for professional judgment.
When you do everything in your power to become an eligible candidate, you’ll have great chances of getting a scholarship and proceeding with high-quality education.