The Best Things to Know When Applying for Scholarships
by: Angela Duraine, Financial Aid Representative at UMU
Do you want free money to help you pay for college? Outside scholarships are a great way to get help paying for school and the best part about them? They don’t have to be repaid!
When I was a senior in high school (and throughout college), everyone told me to apply for as many scholarships as I could. Did I listen? Of course not! So now here I am, preaching to students about the exact same topic, sadly wishing I had listened all those years ago. (This feeling is particularly strong when I make my student loan payments each month!) I will say, if I can get through to just one student, then all of my nagging is worth it.
So here’s what you need to know. Scholarships can come from all kinds of places. You have so many resources at your fingertips and I’ll give you some good tips on what to do.
To start, here’s a timeline that I recommend. Remember, it’s never too late to start looking for scholarships!
Junior/Senior year in high school:
- Meet with your guidance counselor! Local scholarships are your best bet and with a guidance counselor to help, how can you go wrong?
- Have your parents check with their employers – some places have scholarship opportunities for employee children.
- Set up accounts on the popular scholarship search engines (listed below) and search, search, search! Really, I mean it, apply for as many as you can!
While you’re in college:
- Talk to your financial aid office to see if they know of any opportunities
- If you attend Mount Union, we post all outside scholarships that we know about to iRaider (under Quick Links > Scholarships). This is an amazing resource for our students and makes scholarship searching easier!
My favorite places to find scholarships:
- iRaider (for students with a valid Mount Union email address)
- studentaid.ed.gov/scholarships (scroll down to the Department of Labor’s Free Scholarship Search Tool)
And one more thing, never pay to apply or search for a scholarship! There are plenty of free resources out there for you and besides, you are looking for money to help you, not to pay someone else!
Again, I hope this helps someone out there. Good luck in your scholarship search and remember, search and apply, search and apply, search and apply….you get the idea!
For more information about financial aid, grants, scholarships, private loans and eligibility, visit http://www.mountunion.edu/financial-aid.