The struggle is real: Most students heading into the world of higher education are seriously worried about building up a bunch of debt while earning their degrees. It’s a well-founded fear for many people, as tuitions continue to rise across the nation. Fortunately, there are more resources than ever for students who are looking for help funding their university education. We’ve compiled this helpful list of tips for effective methods, places and strategies when searching for scholarship opportunities.
OSAC is your new BFF
The Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) is the No. 1 resource for Oregon high school graduates who are university-bound. The site administers more than 500 scholarships, many of which can be applied for with a single application. The application deadline is March 1, and you don’t have to be admitted to any particular college or university in order to apply.
Ask at school
We know, not everyone loves hanging out in their high school counselors’ office. But we encourage you to get comfy there because they are great resources for local and community scholarship leads that can be hard to find otherwise. Also, ask your teachers, your coaches, your ASPIRE office—literally anyone who will talk to you about scholarship opportunities. They probably remember a great one that a previous student received.
Make it a job
It’s go time now, and you have to be aggressive to get that dough. Set aside time every day to search online, fill out applications and hunting down new scholarship leads. Remember, you are going to get paid in the end, so work hard. By the way, consider opening a free gmail account to use for scholarship forms; you’re going to start getting flooded with emails. It’s all part of the process.
Dominate online resources
There are more than a dozen gigantic websites that administer scholarship applications, such as Scholarships.com, FastWeb.com, Niche.com, CollegeBoard.com and Unigo.com. Of course, there are smaller scholarship portals as well, they are just less robust. Also, if you have a university in mind that you want to attend, check out the scholarships available to enrolled students at that specific school. Some universities (like WOU) give every enrollee an automatic scholarship and still have dozens of other scholarships available for those who apply.
Get a money buddy
It can be mind-numbing to sort through all the scholarships that are available, screening for the ones that are the best fit for you. It’s so much easier if you can team up with one or two other serious searchers who can help narrow down the list of options. Figure out what parameters you all want to search for and then start compiling a list to share with everyone. This approach will help cut down on scholarship-search fatigue while also allowing you to find more opportunities that you might on your own.