Scholarships are one of the most useful tools available to anyone planning to go to college. Not only do they take financial burden off of a family, but they also reduce both loans and stress later in life.

However, many people avoid applying because it is commonly believed that scholarships are not easy to get, or that they are reserved for a select few. That could not be further from the truth. There are many scholarships for students, and this guide will go over all of them.

Applying to the Right Scholarship

Of course, in order to get a scholarship you need to actually apply for one. This can be one of the trickiest parts of the process, but it is a breeze if you have the right information.

There are many scholarship options out there, but the amount available will differ from person to person. There are several ways to figure out which are best for you. One of the easiest ways to get such information is looking online or contacting the financial aid office at the school you plan to go to.

However, you can also talk to the financial aid office at your school, discuss your options with a high school counselor, or even talk to your state grant agency. The U.S. Department of Labor has a free scholarship search tool, and there are several federal agencies that you can contact as well.

Also remember to use your sources that go beyond education. Your employer or your parent’s employer can be a great scholarship source, as can certain foundations, organizations, local businesses, and specific civic groups.

When and How to Apply

Once you know what type of scholarship you want, you need to figure out the right time to apply. That is largely going to depend on your scholarship’s deadline. This is important information to know because you don’t want to miss an opportunity by not knowing the dates.

Some scholarships are due as early as a year before college starts, but some come around much later. The typical time to apply is between your junior and senior year. However, don’t fret if you’ve missed that window. There are many scholarships out there and some aren’t due until the summer before you start college.

It is also important to understand that each scholarship has its own requirements. When finding one you want to apply to you need to understand what it takes to get the award. For that, go to the scholarship’s website. There you will find information about the best way to apply.

The Different Kinds of Scholarships

The other important part of looking at scholarships is understanding the different kinds that are out there. Some are merit scholarships, which means you earn them by either meeting or surpassing certain standards met by whoever is giving out the award.

Merit awards are administered based on a range of different standards, including academic achievement, special talents, unique traits, or specific interests. Some merit scholarships are administered based on financial need as well.

Many scholarships are also based on or aimed at certain groups. For instance, some specifically apply to women or seniors in high school, while others are only for military families or ethnic groups.

Minority-based scholarships are some of the most common awards out there, but there are also unique scholarships for odd or less-common abilities. There are many options that go beyond your college applications, extracurricular activities, or grades. Always try to search for ones that best pertain to you or your situation.

The Ways You Can Receive Your Money

The last aspect of a scholarship is, should you get it, how you receive your money. This is also going to change from scholarship to scholarship. Sometimes the money will be sent directly to your college, where it can then be spread out among tuition and fees, while some will go directly to you in the form a check. Every scholarship should outline how the money will be awarded, but if not, you should ask before or during the application process.

Getting What You Need for College and Beyond

Scholarships comes in many forms. Some will cover the entire tuition cost, while others will give out a few hundred dollars. However, don’t avoid applying for a scholarship just because it doesn’t give a giant award. No matter what amount you get, it always helps to have a bit of extra money for school.

There are many scholarships for high school students. Do not get discouraged or think that you cannot get an award. No matter what your grades or application look like, if you do the proper research and go over the options laid out above, you will find something for you.

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