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How can I be eligible for a scholarship?

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Maya’s Answer

Hey Tara,

There are usually two types of scholarships-needs based and merit based. Needs based usually means your family has a combined income below a certain fixed amount or you have some other extenuating circumstance that makes it impossible to attend university without financial support. Merit based means you are chosen to receive financial support based on your achievements in academics or some other system of qualifications. There are also athletic scholarships, but they are rare and honestly I don't know much about them. They are also kind of risky because you can loose them if you get hurt and can't compete anymore.

In Georgia, the HOPE and ZELL Miller are merit-based and you can check the latest requirements on www.gafutures.org. You must maintain at minimum a 3.0 and get certain scores on the SAT or ACT. These are really great scholarship programs and your biggest bang for your buck in getting a great education in Georgia.

If you are applying to colleges, check their financial aid websites. Each school has a pile of money to hand out at their discretion, and they allocate them for specific needs, qualifications, etc. One tip I have from personal experience, if you apply early action your application is sometimes automatically considered for scholarships, and applying early is always better before the money runs out.

There are also private companies and non-profit foundations that offer scholarships, like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, and Target. These take research and time to apply for, but can be really worth it and there are a ton out there for all kinds of subjects. Are you lefthanded? There's a scholarship for that. Are you a first generation college student? Those are out there too. If you belong to a church or religious community, your high school does a pagent, or your local YMCA or Boys & Girls Club has a scholarship research those too. If you have a specific degree or career in mind, look for professional organizations in those fields they usually offer student scholarships. Be creative and don't give up!

Maya recommends the following next steps:

Look up requirements for state funding
Research private companies and non-profits that offer scholarships
Apply to colleges early and call their bursur or financial aid office to ask for more information

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Lillian’s Answer

Hi Tara,

All scholarships have different eligibility requirements. Some are need-based while others are merit-based. Some require all applicants to be of a certain race/ethnicity/gender or from a certain area. Some require you to write an essay while others don't. Ask your school's academic advisor or guidance counselor for a list of local scholarships. You can also google around for other scholarships and see what you qualify for.

Start at this website and google around to find scholarships that are a good fit for you: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships/finding-scholarships