Scholarships are a very smart way to decrease out of pocket cost of your education. Unfortunately, many students don't put in a lot of effort applying for them. Remember...It’s FREE MONEY that you don’t have to pay back—ever! Here are some common blocks or myths to avoid when thinking about scholarships:
Tip: You should NEVER have to pay to apply for a scholarship!
- Scholarships are only for 4-year colleges/universities. Not true. There are many scholarships that can be used for any type of post high school education including 2 year schools, technical schools, and vocational programs.
- Scholarships are only for seniors. So I won't worry about it until then. Although the bulk of scholarships are applied for in the summer before or during senior year, there are many scholarships that you can apply for before that. Keep your eyes open for things like essay contests, and civic engagement awards for earlier grades. Bottom line... search!
- I can start filling out applications any time. No pressure! Sorry, but YES PRESSURE. This doesn’t mean that applying for scholarships has to be a stressful process. It does mean that there is a specific window of time when the most and the best scholarships are available to you. Some find it productive to make scholarship applications a priority for the summer between junior and senior year, like a part-time job. But don't stop there. Scholarship application windows open and close all year, so stay on top of your game.
- I won’t bother applying for lower dollar scholarships. Too much work and not enough money! If you are eligible for the scholarship, you should apply for it. Even if it's small because it adds up. AND other students may be thinking it's too small to apply for as well which reduces the number of applicants, which increases your chances of being awarded.
- I'll just ask my counselor for a list of scholarships I am eligible for. As much as we want to help you pursue your dreams, this is not a thing. There are thousands of scholarships out there for all kinds of applicants. It's up to the student and student's family to search, search, search. That said, we DO HAVE RESOURCES for scholarships that are great starting points.
- Your Naviance account is filled with scholarship opportunities. Simply log in to your account and click on COLLEGES in the upper right hand corner, and then click on Scholarships and Money.
- Scholarship Foundation of Northshore offers scholarships for students in our district, and some are just our school. That application window usually opens Nov. 1st of each year.
- The Washboard.org is a scholarship "matching" site just for Washington residents. You build a profile and based on what you have entered you will get a list of scholarships that you are likely eligible for. You will still need to read the find print of the actual scholarship to make sure it's a good fit for you, and then apply. College Board has a good matching site to. It's called Big Future Scholarship Search.
- I remember in 7th or 8th grade I got something called the College Bound Scholarship. But that probably won't help. So, so, so wrong. If you qualified for the College Bound Scholarship and have maintained your eligibility (same financial need, a gpa of 2.0 or higher, and not a felon), you are in serious luck!! This means at all state schools and some private schools you will pay $0 in tuition. The scholarship doesn't cover housing and food though. Just tuition. That could mean tens of thousands of educational dollars for free! Talk to your counselor if you have any questions about College Bound.