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How to not get discouraged in the scholarship search?

I have been applying for scholarships since last year and I have to say I haven't received much of anything except the CBA Scholars Scholarship. Every website is like "sign up for this, sign up for that" I am in near tears trying to figure out how I am going to pay over $3,000 dollars plus buying books with my parents paying off their own debt and me having $2,000 dollars to my own name. This just feels completely hopeless. money scholarships

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Amanda’s Answer

Hey Robyn,

When I started my collegiate journey, I really struggled to find scholarships too. I applied for them from my Sophomore year of High School until well into my summer before starting as a Freshman at University and only got accepted into one - which I received for winning a local art contest that my County of residence was hosting.

Long story short, I took some time away from college mid-way through my collegiate career and when I returned, I was able to find scholarships because of the things I had learned in my pursuit before. Some advice that I can offer based on my own personal experiences with scholarships and seeking financial aid:

- Find out what scholarships your High School offers
- Find out if local businesses support scholarship opportunities (check the newspaper or websites)
- Check out local groups to see if any of them have business connections supporting scholarships
- Once you've chosen a university, check to see what your university has available (usually requires an essay)
- See if your High School has any scholarship recipients on file and see if they can share where they got them from

Scholarships aside, when you start to make financial aid commitments, you need to pay attention to the loan interest. It's common to be very unfamiliar with all of this when you get started in school because usually, student debt is the first debt you'll take on as an adult (or at all). Do your research in advance to find out what interest percentages are fair, and be wary of loan offerings that exceed that substantially. When you commit to loans with high interest, this means that the value that you have to pay back over time will increase in a greater amount and that you will owe more when you're finally done with school and ready to pay them back.

There were universities that I opted out of because there were no loan offerings that felt appropriate to me. The one I took initially that had a very high-interest rate was rough to get out from under (although I've managed to do it since). The advice I wished I'd received sooner when considering student loans and financial aid options that I'd like to pass on to you.

Good luck, don't give up!

(Western Governors University Graduate)
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Sheila’s Answer

Hello Robyn: It's good to hear that you are researching scholarships. Good job and apply to all that you are interested in. . . FYI, many scholarships will require you to "sign-up and/or write essays". So you may want to get prepared by having your login credentials ready along with a pad and pen. Here are a few sites to help you get started:

FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid): 

Good Luck to You!