This is the time of year when we all start thinking, “How the heck am I going to pay for school next year?” We start furiously working on scholarship applications and befriending everyone we can in the financial aid office. So in the spirit of this joyous application season, I thought a list of scholarship and financial aid tips was in order. Here’s a list of 6 tips that will hopefully get you on track.
1) Get to know your admissions counselor and financial aid officer:
These people will become your best friend. Admissions counselors are a great resource if you want to know the lay of the land with university scholarships, and the financial aid office is always happy to help with questions about loans and grants. The more these wonderful people know about you, the more they can help, so be sure they get an invite to your next slumber party. Or maybe just make an appointment to talk with them.
2) Never be afraid to ask:
This was the biggest lesson I learned during the college and scholarship application process. If there’s a scholarship or grant you want to be considered for and you haven’t yet been put up for it, just ask. If you haven’t received the money you need to attend a university, ask. Everyone generally wants to help you out, and the worst thing that can happen is your don’t get the money you already don’t have.
3) Get your scholarship applications in early:
A lot of scholarships have a rolling deadline, so getting it in as early as possible is important. And even if a scholarship doesn’t have a rolling deadline, it’s always nice to separate yourself from that huge pile that comes in to the scholarship office the day after the deadline.
4) Realize there are people on the other end of the application process:
It’s important to realize that someone else is working hard to sift through the applications. It’s your responsibility to help them keep your application in order. Submit your application in exactly the way they request it, call them to confirm they received your application, and write them a thank you note for reviewing your application or taking the time to interview you.
If you’re a Texas resident this is a great website to search for scholarships and financial aid. They have lists of scholarships and grants from different organizations, the due dates, and a brief description of each.
6) Don’t assume there aren’t any scholarships for you:
Many assume that they aren’t unique enough to be selected for scholarships, but there are a million different kinds of scholarships out there. Here are a couple of categories to search for: specific nationalities (ie German, Swedish), professional unions or companies your parents work for, religious denomination scholarships, and sometimes camps or organizations in which you participated.
Hope this helps everyone out! Happy money hunting!