Scholarships: the Five Methods to Save you from Debt

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Money! The wonderful answer to college costs. But this doesn’t mean you need to suffer all your time and energy through a job, you can also seek out scholarships!

Nicole Seemann, Editor in Chief

The phrase we all dread…college costs. I know, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. That said, now is not the time to cry in the corner. It is time to go and make some money! More specifically, to apply for scholarships.  We all know what a scholarship is, but do you know how you can get them? So here is a list of the five different methods you should differently be aware of when it comes to scholarships. 

 

  1. Automatic Merit Scholarships

Believe it or not, but you can get money just for being accepted into a college. Now this isn’t for all schools, but many will give applicants an automatic merit scholarship based on either their ACT/SAT test scores or unweighted GPA—depending on which one will put them in a higher scholarship level. The amount of money given is also dependent on the school and whether you are in state or out of state. In most circumstances, out of state applicants are given more money to compensate for the elevated tuition prices. Specific amounts aside, this scholarship is no small thing. You get a scholarship of $6,000 or maybe $12,000 a year without any extra work. Yes, you heard me right, a year. As long as you keep up your grade point average to the standard the college sets then this scholarship will automatically be renewed all four years of your college experience.

2. College Scholarship Portals

These are great sources of information. Once you are accepted to a college, regardless if you plan to attend there or not, you will be given a student account and access to their scholarship portal. These programs don’t just tell you about your college’s scholarships, but gives you access to a multitude of external scholarships which you can use at any college. It’s simple, just answer a few questions on your preferences and it’ll match you to thousands of scholarships. Heads up, these websites only provide essay, speech or video scholarships from my experience, so if you’d rather just try your luck with raffles…then these are not the sites for you. 

3. Great Scholarship Sites

There are tons of great sites that provide external scholarships. Win these and you can use them on any school you decide to go to. Just make sure you fit all the eligibility criteria. Some exceptional sites to check out are: Fastweb.com, Scholarships.com, Niche.com, The College Board, Cappex.com, Scholarship Owl (the free version) and SallieMae.com. Also, these sites provide more than just essay scholarships. There are tons of scholarship raffles you can enter if you don’t have much free time. Just know that it is a raffle, so don’t set your heart on getting tons of money through this method. 

 

4. National Merit Scholarship

This might shock you, but the PSAT is actually important. I know, who would have thought. When you take the test you are taking the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. About 16,000 earn scores that qualify them as Semifinalists and 15,000 of these people become Finalists. Out of this group, around 7,500 are awarded a scholarship of $2,500 which is renewed each year you’re in college. The scholarship itself aside, the title has great value. On college applications, schools will usually ask if you were a Semifinalist or Finalist. Having these titles can increase your chance of being accepted to your college, or the amount of money they’ll give you. So if you’re super smart and think you can make it into the top one percent scores, good luck! 

 

5. Financial Aid Scholarships

FILL OUT YOUR FAFSA! Financial aid is huge in the scholarship world. If you are from a low income or even middle class family, there’s a huge chance you can get some form of financial aid. For more information on financial aid check out our other article called “The Secret to Graduating College Debt Free”. I promise you won’t regret it. 

 

Now before you forget all this information thrown at you, go and apply for some scholarships! Even just an hour a week is better than waiting to the last minute. Now go make some cash and enjoy your college experience instead of spending it juggling three jobs.