Did you know that majority of students just simply fill out their FAFSA application and accept whatever student loans they are granted? Besides the Zell Miller, HOPE scholarship and Federal Pell Grants, student loans have to be paid back and they can reach very high numbers before you even graduate. What most students do not think about are the countless available student scholarships all across the internet but mainly within the college you are applying to or attending.
Do not get me wrong, applying for scholarships is NOT as easy as it is to write this article. Finding, preparing and applying to scholarships is a very rigorous task that takes hours and weeks and even months. All scholarships have different deadlines and protocols, so you have to stay diligent on when to apply and which is due. Grade point averages, student achievement, community service, specific majors, they all play a role in your determination of qualifying for a scholarship. BUT you can find general scholarships all throughout the internet that simply require for you just to be applying or accepted into a college. So please do not get discouraged just yet.
If I was in your shoes, which I am and have been many times throughout my “college career”, I would APPLY-APPLY-APPLY! Apply for literally a hundred scholarships. You have to remember the number of students in this world that are also applying for scholarships like yourself. So applying for a hundred scholarships may put you in the running for being awarded one scholarship. I know, I know, I said do not get discouraged and here I am making you want to accept any loan and bypass scholarships. But this is college, the elite of the elite, and the companies and donors want to make sure you are committed to school before they invest hundreds and thousands of dollars into your future.
I don’t blame them and I am sure you wouldn’t either.
I highly recommend starting now… like right now! Grab a HUGE notebook and a pen. Jump on the internet and jump into applying. Most likely you will need these handy: your GPA, ACT/SAT scores, community service, school involvement, extracurricular activities, sports or arts experience, potential schools or accepted colleges, high school information and a personal essay.
What I found easy and to make applying a little less stressful, I created a Word document with all of my pertinent information: GPA, test scores, hobbies, clubs and affiliations, student involvement and so on. If I thought it may come in handy, I listed it in the document. Now when I apply for scholarships I can just refer to or copy and paste directly from the saved document. Please make sure you spell check and review before saving. You can even go a step further and create a cover letter that you will send with your scholarship applications.
If you want better odds of being considered for scholarships then you need to get involved, and it's never too late to start. Volunteer and invest your time to community service outlets especially within the field of scholarship you are applying to: nursing homes, schools, highway cleanup, mentor a child, Feed the Hungry, make small bags for the homeless with essential supplies or put together a special awareness event for a cause near and dear to your heart. If you are an education student, join educator associations and educator insurance companies before applying so you can list your affiliated organizations. When the officials see that you have put in the time and effort, you are more likely to be considered. Like the saying goes, “no good deed goes unnoticed".
When searching for scholarships, “googling" can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Be careful and make sure you are applying to legitimate, scam-free scholarships, ESPECIALLY when you have to enter your social security number. Be careful and use your best judgment.
GOOD LUCK GUYS AND HAPPY COLLEGE DAYS!
And remember… Go Dawgs!
Some good websites to get started on are:
www.georgiacollege411.org (Georgia residents)
https://www.admissions.uga.edu/scholarships (UGA students)
https://coe.uga.edu/students/financial-aid/list (UGA College of Education students)
-Candice Knight graduated Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, High Honors, consecutive Dean's List and Homecoming court and was awarded several scholarships from applying. She attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, graduated from Georgia Perimeter and also attends the University of Georgia.
Published by Candice Knight