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Where to find scholarship opportunities ?

Hey! Highschool freshman here. As I'm preparing for college, I'm taking note of how expensive it will be, I was wondering how I can find scholarship opportunities that are not super rare chances for someone to win? Are there any other ways I can lower the cost of college?

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Gina’s Answer

Finding scholarship opportunities can be a great way to lower the cost of college. Here are some ways to find scholarships that are not super rare chances:

1. Start with your school: Check with your high school's guidance counselor or college advisor. They often have information about local scholarships or resources to help you find relevant opportunities.

2. Online scholarship search engines: Utilize reputable scholarship search engines such as Fastweb, Scholarships.com, or College Board's Scholarship Search. These platforms allow you to create a profile and match you with scholarships that align with your interests, background, and qualifications.

3. Community organizations and businesses: Many local community organizations, businesses, and foundations offer scholarships to support students in their area. Check with local businesses, community centers, religious organizations, and civic groups to inquire about available scholarships.

4. Professional associations and organizations: Research professional associations and organizations related to your intended field of study. Many of them offer scholarships to students pursuing careers in their respective industries.

5. College and university scholarships: Explore the financial aid and scholarship opportunities offered by the colleges and universities you are interested in. Visit their websites or contact their financial aid offices to learn about institutional scholarships, grants, or merit-based awards.

6. Government and nonprofit organizations: Government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and foundations often provide scholarships to support students pursuing specific fields of study, demonstrating financial need, or meeting certain criteria. Research these organizations and their scholarship programs.

7. Online resources and databases: There are numerous websites and databases dedicated to listing scholarship opportunities. Some popular ones include Peterson's, Cappex, and Niche. These platforms provide comprehensive lists of scholarships, including both national and local opportunities.

8. Check with employers and parents' employers: Some employers offer scholarships for employees or their dependents. Inquire with your own employer or your parents' employers to see if they have any scholarship programs available.

9. Financial aid offices and college fairs: Attend college fairs or visit the financial aid offices of colleges and universities. They often have information about scholarships specific to their institution or can provide guidance on external scholarship opportunities.

Remember to thoroughly research each scholarship opportunity, pay attention to deadlines, and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria before applying. Additionally, consider other ways to lower college costs, such as applying for grants, work-study programs, or exploring tuition reimbursement options.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for all the advice! Elizabeth
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Elizabeth !

It is so wonderful that you are looking into this now because there may even be some scholarships for college that you can apply for when you're a senior in high school. It's also great that you're exploring colleges because scholarships come in many categories and sources. Most colleges offer their own scholarships, so you won't want to forget to apply at the particular college directly for scholarships when the time comes.

Scholarships are application for money to put towards your college education. No one can guess what anyone's chances are to receive the scholarship. Many students apply at the same time and a selection process takes place. So although I can't tell you of easy or guaranteed scholarships because there aren't any, it's just a matter of applying - and applying to numerous ones to cover as much ground as possible to increase your chances - and waiting to hear back from the scholarship staff whether you've been selected for the scholarship. You do not "win" a scholarship, you are granted a scholarship. That being said, lets look at some qualifying categories that exist.

Scholarships of all types and all dollar amounts will help you. There are those for gender, ethnicity, race, college major, local city, town, state and national based, other abilitied students such as deaf or blind students, people with other needs, high grades, medium grades, low grades, financial need, and so many other categories. I have left a couple of lists for scholarships below, but do more searching on line because there are a lot more to discover.

You can also apply for Grants which are a little different than scholarships but still money awarded to you to use, not only for tuition but for your needs as a student. You would have to show financial need for a grant, but all instructions for Grants and Scholarships would be provided to you when you apply. Also visit your local town hall and Chamber of Commerce because they may know of some grants or scholarships that do not appear listed on the internet.

Apply to as many as you possibly can and the ones that you qualify for. It will be worth your time and energy because it will be very helpful to you. Also, if you're finding universities too expensive, consider starting at a community college and transferring to a university for your Bachelors Degree. It may cut down the expense that way. Once you choose a college, you can then go on campus to ask about their particular scholarships for students enrolled at that school.

I hope that this is helpful and good to start you off as you begin to discover many helpful scholarships and grants ! Best wishes !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

WISCONSIN SCHOLARSHIP HUB AT UW - https://wisc.academicworks.com/
SCHOLARSHIP AMERICA WEBSITE https://scholarshipamerica.org/students/browse-scholarships/
FIND SCHOLARSHIPS LIST OF SCHOLARSHIPS https://www.careeronestop.org/Toolkit/Training/find-scholarships.aspx
WISCONSIN STUDENT GRANTS FOR COLLEGE https://www.collegescholarships.org/grants/states/wisconsin.htm
GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS TO APPLY FOR https://www.collegescholarships.org/grants/states/wisconsin.htm
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for going in depth and explaining scholarships for me! Elizabeth
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Elizabeth ! Michelle M.
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Teena’s Answer

It is wise to look ahead and plan for college and the means to plan for that education. It is getting more and more expensive to go for a higher education degree, but being proactive and starting early that can alleviate some of the stress of the expense. As for looking into scholarships, it may take some 'leg-work". You can do research online, but there is so much information that it can be overwhelming. If you have a school counselor, reach out to them for guidance in seeking scholarships. Also, if you have access to a public library, speak to the librarian and have them help you find information. You can also be proactive and go to your local bank to see if anyone has established a scholarship for local students, or the the Chamber of Commerce to see if any local businesses have set up a scholarship. They may be small amounts of money, but any amount can help you financially for school. But overall, stay positive, continue to be proactive and put a plan in place.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the suggestions, I will continue to be proactive! Elizabeth
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Layne’s Answer

This is a great question, and it is great you are thinking ahead for alternative sources to help fund your continued education. There are many organizations that offer scholarship outside of the traditional university and government programs. Local business groups (Rotary, etc.), local service organizations (Elk, Moose, etc.) and organizations honoring their local citizens may offer scholarships. Some of these may not be publicized, so the most important thing you can do is research and ask. You would be surprised about how many local, state, national, and even international organizations out there offer and accept applications for scholarships. Start with a web search and you may be surprised about how many you find. From there, set up a plan to apply. Make sure you follow due dates and prepare your application in the format that is requested. In everything you do, also give your best. Scholarships are likely to recognize individuals who give their all in whatever they do.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the help! Elizabeth
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Elizabeth,
It is great to see that you are proactive in seeking out ways to fund your education.

One of the best places to start looking for scholarships is through the school that you are applying to. Many schools offer merit awards to incoming students based on their academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria. I recommend reaching out to the admissions office or financial aid office of the school you are interested in to inquire about any scholarship opportunities that may be available to you.

In addition to school-specific scholarships, there are also many external scholarship opportunities available to high school students. Websites such as Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and College Board's Scholarship Search are great resources for finding scholarships that match your interests, background, and academic achievements.

I encourage you to start your scholarship search early and to apply to as many scholarships as possible to increase your chances of receiving financial aid for your education. If you have any further questions or need assistance in finding scholarships, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Best of luck in your scholarship search and in your academic pursuits.

Sincerely,
Jennifer
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for all the ideas, I will be doing some of this now that I know it! Elizabeth
Thank you comment icon No problem. Best of luck! Jennifer Jackson
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Jason’s Answer

Hello Elizabeth,

This topic is actually one of my favorites to discuss!

There are numerous strategies to finance your college education. One of the most beneficial skills I acquired was the ability to write a clear and compelling essay. A lot of people shy away from applying for scholarships that require an essay. By honing your writing skills, you can significantly improve your chances of securing such scholarships.

Various organizations offer scholarships, ranging from religious institutions, American Legion, Rotary Clubs, to even organizations within your college campus. Additionally, campus events like pageants often provide scholarships for winners and runners-up.

Many employers also offer some form of college tuition assistance. You can also explore the possibility of paid internships which can provide financial aid. On-campus organizations like the student government association, student activities board, and student board of directors often provide stipends to their members.

My personal favorite method, which I always recommend, is becoming a Resident Assistant (RA). It was one of the best decisions I made during my college years. Not only did it provide me with a leadership opportunity on campus and the chance to meet many amazing new college students and fellow staff members, but it also offered substantial financial benefits. As an RA, I received free room and board along with a bi-weekly stipend. This significantly reduced my college expenses. The benefits of becoming an RA can vary by university, but I would strongly advise you to explore this opportunity at your school.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, that sounds so interesting, I will look into it! Elizabeth
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