Tips for Finding and Completing College Scholarship applications

College is more expensive than ever, and the cost continues to rise. According to the U.S. Department of Education (DoED) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the past five years, the average cost of attending four-year college institutions — including room and board — went from $20,409 to $23,600.

For many soon-to-be college students, the cost of undergrad makes receiving scholarships a necessity. This is why we’re providing five helpful tips to assist students with finding and winning college scholarships.

1. Places to Look for Scholarships

High School You Attend

If you’re still in high school, heading to the guidance counselor’s office could be the quickest path to discovering multiple scholarship opportunities. Guidance counselors use academic and job-related resources to help students decide what to do after graduation. For the college bound, guidance counselors usually have lots of information about scholarships.

Financial Institutions

Some Financial institutions give college scholarships. For example, at American Eagle Credit Union we offer our annual Vince Jacknewitz $1,500 College Scholarship, which awards six $1,500 scholarships to graduating high school seniors each year. We encourage you to check your qualifications and apply!

Religious Organizations

If you belong to a religious organization, research if it offers college scholarships for members. For example, Catholic students whose fathers belong to The Knights of Columbus have scholarship opportunities through the organization, and Hillel International is an organization helping Jewish high school and college students find scholarships. Other religious organizations offer similar scholarships.

Community Organizations

Local community organizations — law enforcement, sports leagues, restaurants, etc. — can be hotbeds for college scholarships. Scholarships from community organizations are often small, with some being a few hundred dollars. However, every dollar of tuition you pay with scholarship money is a dollar not coming out of your pocket!

2. Tips for Winning Scholarships

Apply for Small Award Scholarships

As Time magazine notes, “Scholarships with smaller awards usually have fewer applicants, so your chances of winning may be higher.” Students are naturally most interested in receiving “full ride” scholarships, but most students don’t receive them. This is why it’s a good strategy to apply for several small award scholarships whose combined value can add up to a large award.

Target Scholarships That Require Work

Some scholarship opportunities simply require you to identify yourself, provide financial information, and submit a transcript of your grades, extracurricular activities, and standardized test scores. Students favor these scholarship opportunities over those that require writing essays or other time-consuming work. If you’re willing to put in the effort, scholarships that require you to demonstrate your abilities could be excellent to target.

Apply for Multiple Scholarships

Because many scholarships have stringent criteria for applicants — such as being a member of a religious organization — you can’t win every scholarship out there. But finding scholarships you qualify for — and applying for as many as possible — is a good option.

It’s similar to applying for college: The more applications you fill out, the greater the chance you’ll be accepted. You may not expect to get a major scholarship from a big name school, but if you have good academic standing, what’s to lose by applying? You might get a good offer from a great place you can’t turn down.

Review Application Requirements

Review all scholarship application requirements before and after you complete it. First, review requirements to see if you qualify. Then, when the application is finished, you check to see if you provide all the necessary information, provide it within the right timeframe, properly address the essay topic, etc.

Start Your Scholarship Search Here

Our Vince Jacknewitz $1500 College Scholarship Program will be here to help our members afford college. If you are a high school senior graduating in Spring and heading to college in the Fall, why not apply? Begin here for the application form and program requirements: 2017 Scholarship Program. For more information about the program, please call us today at (800) 325-9905, or send us an email through our contact form. Good luck!

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