Guide to Finding Scholarships and Grants for College
Are you an upcoming high school graduate seeking a college degree in the field of science or technology? There are many resources you can use to find your funding.
Scholarships are offered everywhere; you just need to know where to look. High schools have personal scholarships funded by local businesses, families that lost loved ones, and local people in the community. Starting around January, applications can be found in the counselor’s office. Some scholarships are field-specific, but many are general, meaning anyone can apply. Depending on the requirements, you may have to write an essay or answer some questions. Don’t pass this opportunity up! Applications don’t take very long and it is almost guaranteed that you will get something come announcement day.
Universities offer scholarships, too, if you attend their campus for your education. These can be academic scholarships rewarding students with high GPAs and ACT/SAT scores. Schools do this because they are trying to increase their overall student GPA average to improve their school’s rankings. If they know your high school grades are high, there is a great chance your college grades will be, too! For those students that are athletic, there are scholarships that can pay from 25 to 100 percent of the tuition if you play on the sports team. Finally, there are often small scholarships that are major-specific that you can apply to your freshman up to junior year through the university. They can be found online on the college’s website.
Generalized online scholarships can be tricky to scroll through. While there are some reputable websites, there are scams, also. Try to look for websites with a ‘.org’ or ‘.gov’ when you look through the search engine’s results. Federal Student Aid is a good, reputable website with helpful tips.
For science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related funding, view these opportunities.
Grants differ from scholarships in that they are free money given by the government. Most of the time, universities will automatically place you with grants you qualify for based on family income. Your financial aid advisor will discuss all you qualify for when you visit.
For specific STEM grants, this link is a good source.
Are you prepared?
The best way to prepare for your scholarship application is to improve your grades, test scores and writing skills. Higher ACT/SAT scores will get you noticed, but don’t worry if you don’t excel at test taking. Good grades play a large role too. For those applications that require an essay, take your time and answer honestly. Talking about your struggles and how you have overcome them is a good idea if it is related to the topic. Personalizing with the reader is important.
Don’t fret too much; there are always people who are happy to help!