As if your last year of high school wasn’t busy enough, you have to worry about narrowing down the list of colleges you’ll be applying to and coming up with funding options to pay for that endeavor. Applying for college, scholarships and grants isn’t an easy feat, but with a little organization and research into how to make those tasks less time-consuming and more successful, you’ll feel much better about tackling that seemingly endless stack of applications. Look through our site for our advice on making the most of your application experience so that you’re not so stressed that you miss deadlines, as deadlines are one of the most important things to remember not only when applying to school, but applying for funding to go to school. Colleges and financial aid offices aren’t going to wait for you!
Choosing the college you’re going to attend is going to be one of the most important decisions you make to date, so choosing the right college will require some research and work. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down through a college search based on the criteria most important to you – cost, location, fields of study offered, for example – you’ll be faced with the daunting task of filling out those college applications. With pressure coming at you from all sides, the process could be stressful. Lucky for you, we’ve come up with tips and information on how you can make things more manageable for yourself and understand a process that can get convoluted quickly.
We can’t say it enough: apply early and apply often to maximize the free money you’re able to get through college scholarships and to minimize the amount of student loan debt you’ll face post-graduation. You’re not going to land any free money if you don’t apply, and if you talk yourself out of applying for scholarships now, you’re going to hurt yourself in the long run when you’re forced to take out more loans to pad that financial aid package. While college-based scholarships can be very generous, don’t forget about private college scholarships from outside organizations that may be just as generous and less competitive. Conduct a free scholarship search to find awards you specifically qualify for. And if you feel yourself getting stressed out or feeling dejected, browse through our site for tips and strategies on not only applying for scholarships successfully, but finding scholarships linked to any criteria and characteristic you can think of, and making yourself a more attractive scholarship applicant to land the most scholarship money you can.
Grants are another ideal source of funding, because like scholarships, you don’t need to pay them back. The first step in applying for most grants, particularly federally-funded awards, is filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. That application will come up with your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which will determine what the government expects you to come up with as far as financing your education. The neediest students will be eligible for the most grant funding on the federal level, although students going into fields where there is a high need for new graduates may also find a plethora of options for grant funding. Grants are very specific, so don’t waste time applying for awards you don’t qualify for when you could be finding grants specific to you. Browse through the information we’ve put together on applying for grants to maximize your chances of not only landing more free money, but learning about all the possibilities out there to do so.