For many high school students, college not only provides them with their first experience away from home, it also serves as the gateway to a bright and hopeful future. While the importance of a college education is evident in today’s competitive marketplace, paying for that same education is often not as clear to parents and college-bound students.
College scholarships provide students with a great opportunity to alleviate some of the financial costs of a college education. Below we will provide information on how to obtain a scholarship for a college freshman as well as advice for avoiding scholarship scams.
One of the largest obstacles college-bound teens and their families face when planning for college is the high cost of tuition. While the U.S. Department of Education reports that the price of higher education continues to increase, don’t forget that help is available. The amount of financial aid you can get is also on the rise and there are an increasing number of scholarship options for a college freshman. Here are some important tips to consider:
- Explore federal options—The nation’s largest resource for financial aid is the federal government. In order to obtain a college scholarship for a college freshman through the U.S. government, you must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is important to get your forms in order as soon as possible. Find out more about filing the FAFSA for financial aid on our web site.
- Explore local options—When trying to attain a scholarship for a college freshman, be sure not to overlook your local options. Often times, organizations such as the Rotary Club, the American Legion, and Boosters chapters set aside scholarship funds for high school students in the community. Because the competition is significantly less for obtaining a local college-bound scholarship than that of a national award, exploring what’s available in your area could prove to be advantageous. Follow this link to learn more about obtaining a local scholarship for a college freshman.
- Explore categorical options—It is important to note that an academic college scholarship is not the only type of scholarship available for a college freshman. We recommend exploring other categorical options which your student may be eligible for, including a college-bound scholarship based on ethnicity, religion or professional affiliations. For more information on these worthwhile opportunities, please follow this link: categorical scholarship for a college freshman.
- Explore Corporate Options – corporations around the country ranging from Coca-Cola to Target offer financial aid to thousands of college-bound students every year. A great place to start exploring your options for a corporate scholarship is at a company that you or someone you know works for. Find out more about this form of college-bound scholarship and whether or not your student is eligible.
A scholarship for a college freshman can either be based on need or merit. Need-based awards are either given by colleges or the federal government and are based on financial aid information provided by families in need. Merit-based awards, such as an athletic or academic college scholarship, are given to students based on their athletic or academic abilities. These college scholarships, however, can also be given for categories such as club membership, interests, talent, ethnicity or career plans.
An important fact to keep in mind when searching for a college scholarship for a college freshman is that it is rare to find scholarships which will pay for an entire college education. For the most part, college-bound scholarships are small awards that will only fund a portion of a higher education and it takes several of them to add up. Whether you are in search for a need-based scholarship, or an athletic or academic college scholarship, we recommend seeking the help of your high school counselor to obtain valuable information on these types of awards.
With so many college-bound scholarship scams out there, it can sometimes be difficult to avoid becoming a victim. How can you determine which awards are legitimate and which ones are scams? Here are some basic guidelines you can follow to prevent a scholarship scams for a college freshman:
- Rewards without entries—It is rare for a scholarship to simply be given out to a student without having to submit an application. Be careful to avoid rewards proclaiming no entry is necessary.
- Processing fees—Any award requesting you provide a processing fee should be avoided. You should never have to pay for information regarding an award or to apply for a scholarship for a college freshman.
- Guaranteed scholarships—You may have seen a statement reading “a scholarship guarantee or your money back.” This is a clear indication of a scam. In the world of financial assistance, there are never any guarantees. If you come across such a guarantee, it should raise a red flag.
- Free seminar—This is an on-the-spot-scam that convinces parents and students to attend a free seminar with a guarantee of qualifying for a college-bound scholarship. Before the seminar, letters are sent proclaiming students will receive valuable materials if they attend. A fee is then charged or deducted from your bank account. You can avoid such scams by requesting information on the need-based or academic college scholarship presented from your high school counselor or a credible database.
Start Planning Early
Now that you know your many options for obtaining a scholarship for a college freshman and how to avoid scams, it is important that you begin you search early. The rising cost of tuition has sparked the need for financial aid for thousands of families around the country. While more and more scholarship options are becoming available for college freshmen, there are a limited amount of obtainable awards.
Whether you are in search for a need-based scholarship, or an athletic or academic college scholarship, we recommend meeting with your high school counselor as early as your sophomore year in high school. It’s not too early. Get your college-bound scholarship search underway.
Visit our Financial Aid section to begin your search for college scholarships today.
College-Bound Student Information
CollegeView offers an extensive amount of valuable information and resources for the college-bound student. Please follow these links to discover how our articles can help you in your choice for an educational pathway: