Money for college is less than scarce; it can be easy to come by, as long as you're willing to be resourceful. One of the most common sources for money for college is student loans. They can be co-signed for by parents who will share the responsibility of paying back the loan. A better and more cost-effective way to pay for college is through scholarships. Depending on the school that you attend, there may be additional resources right there in your school's financial aid office.
Scholarships are available in all sizes and from many different sources. Charitable organizations typically will offer scholarships in memory of a deceased supporter, founder or noted member. Local businesses, banks and companies will also sponsor scholarships to local schools as a service to their community and a tax write-off for themselves.
In some cases when you submit your application for financial aid, your school will automatically scan for scholarships issued to their school by area businesses. This is incredibly convenient, but should not be your sole source for scholarships. In other cases, scholarships are available nationally and require that you not only search for them, but also apply for them. It never hurts to start looking early and apply for as many as you can.
Scholarships exist for almost every reason. Scholarships are available for academic excellence, as well as the talent-based excellence. For example, talent-based scholarships may be awarded for excellence in creative art such as painting, drama or music. This may not require an extremely high grade point average (GPA) because it is based on talent. That offers some leeway for students who are more creatively inclined.
Of course, the strong GPA helps when applying for scholarships. There are other areas that should not be forgotten. Achievement or accomplishment in the areas of community service and extra-curricular activities may also be important to your application, showing that you have a balanced, well-rounded life outside of academics or talent. This can also help when you are considering a major that will lead to a career of service, such as education, nursing or political science.
Scholarships are available everywhere for many reasons. There are extensive amounts of books, websites available to help you narrow your search for scholarships for which you might be eligible. Another reliable source is your school's financial aid office. Check with your financial aid representative and on the office bulletin board for opportunities.
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