Earning a scholarship for college

September 14, 2012

The cost of attending college can be quite substantial, especially if the school of choice is a distinguished institution. However, ambitious high school students can help reduce the overall expense by qualifying for scholarships for college. In a recent column for U.S. News and World Report, Matt Konrad of Scholarship America listed some of the top ways students could qualify for grants while in high school.

One of his suggestions is to engage in community service while in high school. He says that some scholarships require those applying to have completed a certain amount of volunteering hours, and it will also show that the applicant is interested in helping those in need.

Another way that many people are able to qualify for scholarships is based on financial need. Perhaps the most popular way to do this is by applying for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When people fill out these documents they will be able to see which grants they qualify for and possible options for work-study programs as well. 

An important aspect to obtaining funding for college is writing a compelling personal essay. Konrad suggests telling the potential scholarship providers about the accomplishments you've made, how you see the world and reasons for needing the money. He also says avoiding both spelling and grammar errors is key as well. One way to avoid this is by reading the essay out loud before it is finally sent. In some cases, errors can become clearer when a person delivers it in an audible way.

Finally, a letter of recommendation could prove to be one of the most vital parts of any scholarship application. It’s important to find someone that has gotten to know you well enough so that he or she can write a letter touting your positive attributes.

When it comes to getting necessary funding, there are all sorts of resources available that provide advice. In a recent article for Business Day, Chiaka Osuala writes that in addition to applying for scholarships, students can also get a part-time job that will allow them to both focus on classes as well as earn some much-needed income. The employment could also help students get valuable experience in their fields of study as well.

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