In 2014–15, College Board recorded that a total of $123.8 billion in scholarships and grants were awarded to college students. Scholarships can ease the expense of college and reduce the amount of student loans necessary for attendance. In fact, several scholarships can renew over the length of four years to help keep your finances afloat while earning your degree.
So how do you find scholarships? Through free online scholarship databases like Tuition Funding Sources. TFS provides access to more than 7 million scholarships, both national and local, totaling more than $41 billion to help pay for college. That can go a long way.
After creating your account, the database matches your information with hundreds of available scholarships, including graduate student scholarships. There are also career assessment tools and a college advice blog.
If you’ve created an account and are ready to start applying, heed this advice:
- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some scholarships may be need-based, in which case they’ll likely require information from your FAFSA.
- Apply for smaller rewards. These scholarships are often less competitive. It’s possible to receive multiple, smaller priced scholarships that will add up to the larger sum.
- Apply for as many as possible. Don’t apply to one scholarship and bank on winning it. Apply for as many as you can.
- Stay on top of deadlines. Make sure you’re setting time aside to complete applications. Steer clear of cramming to finish them all in one day, because the odds are you won’t be submitting your best work. Which brings up the next tip…
- Make time. Think of applying to scholarships like an ongoing project: You need to commit a little time to it each day or week. If you consistently submit well-thought-out applications, you can feel confident knowing that you put in your best effort.