Do not let the fact that college tuition is on the rise discourage you from applying for a higher education. As the cost of college rises, so does the number of financial aid opportunities available. Now, more than ever, college-bound students and their families are able to obtain the necessary aid required to fund additional schooling. Use this free college scholarship search information to guide you in your hunt to make college more affordable.
An important factor to keep in mind as your college-bound student progresses through his or her high school career is the amount of aid provided to younger students. A large number of awards are geared toward high school students, which is why as early as sophomore year, students should begin compiling transcripts, recommendations, test scores and essays as preparation for initiating a free college scholarship search.
Due to the sizeable amount of paperwork involved in applying for certain awards, planning early for your free college scholarship search will help to make the process feel less overwhelming. Being well-prepared will also help to keep you on track and reduce the likelihood that any important deadlines will be missed.
It is a common myth that students should wait until they are accepted into college before beginning their search. The truth is, most financial aid is presented on a first-come, first-serve basis. While most college-bound teens would likely prefer not to spend their free time performing a college scholarship search, a little effort today can result in a huge payoff in the years to come.
You have decided it is time to initiate a scholarship search, but where do you begin? There are a number of steps to take and several free resources to consider. Below we will outline some helpful guidelines to follow as you proceed with your college scholarship search:
- File the FAFSA – an important and necessary step in obtaining federal financial aid, whether it is a scholarship or grant, loan, or work opportunity on campus, is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines your child’s eligibility for student financial aid from federal programs, though colleges and universities also use information from the FAFSA. The FAFSA can be completed and submitted as early as January 1 for the upcoming school year. While there continue to be more opportunities to take advantage of during your free college scholarship search, it is important that you do not wait too long, or the money may already be given to other students.
The federal government awards college-bound teens with thousands dollars of aid each year. Make use of this largest financial aid resource. Learn more about filing the FAFSA for financial aid today.
- Explore your options – while the government should be toward the top of your free college scholarship search ranking, they are not the only resource to consider:
Local options – your local community is a worthwhile option. Several organizations, such as the Rotary Club, the American Legion, the Jaycees, and Boosters chapters often set aside scholarship funds for college-bound students in the area. The advantage of performing a free college scholarship search in your own community is the reduced amount of competition. Thousands of students apply for federal aid each year, but candidates for local scholarships are limited to those in your area.
Learn more about exploring your local options by following this link: Free Local College Scholarship Search Ranking
Categorical Options – your student may be eligible for a college scholarship based on the virtue of ethnicity, religion, or professional affiliation. You can find out which awards your student may be eligible for without having to leave home.
Learn more about carrying out a free online scholarship search on our site, and let the opportunities find you.
Corporate Options – while not as common as federal scholarships, businesses around the country do offer corporate-based scholarships to college-bound students. One place to start this particular free college scholarship search opportunity is with you or your spouse’s company. Exploring whether or not your workplace offers scholarships to children of employees could result in a large pay off.
Learn more about a free corporate college scholarship search to see which awards your student may be eligible for.
During your free college scholarship search, you may encounter an application or statement which appears suspicious. This is not uncommon. There are several college scholarship scams out there that make false claims in an attempt to pocket your money. Here is some advice to help you avoid becoming the victim of such a scam:
- Processing fees – be wary of any application which requires a processing fee. You should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship. There are several free, legitimate opportunities to explore during your college scholarship search.
- Rewards without entries – also be cautious of any claim that states your student can win an award without having to submit an entry. The college process is tedious, and a reward without entry should raise a red flag.
- Guaranteed scholarships – in the world of financial aid, there are no guarantees. If you come across a free guarantee during your college scholarship search, avoid it.
These warning signs can help you to steer clear of scholarship scams, however, they are not always easy to recognize. During your free college scholarship search, it is important to determine the source’s ranking. If you are suspicious of a particular scholarship, get more information about the organization. You can also call the Better Business Bureau to help you verify whether or not an organization is credible. For more information on how to protect yourself, please follow this link: Avoiding College Scholarship Scams.