This is a guest blog post written by student writer Jenn Crim.
There are a lot of things for which I'd be willing to go into debt. A house, a trip to Paris, and an island vacation top the list. However, the one thing it looks like I will be going into debt for didn't make the list: College. My parents have paid for the first two years of my college education at a community college and (thanks to them) I currently have no college debt. But when I step on to the campus of my four year university later this year, I know the price I will be paying, and it's a price I can't currently finance. That's when I got the idea: scholarships. Now, I know I'm not the first one with this idea and I won't be the last, but I'm currently on a quest to apply for and (hopefully) be awarded enough scholarship money to pay for my last two years of college. Here are some tips for anyone else who has the same idea and would like some guidance:
1. Search for scholarships by major. When I first started my scholarship search, I searched broad topics. "Scholarships for college students" was one of my categories. I wanted to expand my list of scholarships and also find scholarships I would be more likely to win, so I branched out and started searching for scholarships specific to my major, graphic design. I couldn't have been more surprised to find a ton of scholarships for design students! Many of these scholarships require sending a portfolio of your work, or writing an essay about your design career, but I know I'm better about writing what I'm majoring in than just a standard essay. Search for scholarships specific to your major.
2. Ask your professors about scholarships. I asked one of my professors to write me a recommendation letter for several scholarships, and she was kind enough to forward me several scholarship opportunities that she found for which I might be able to apply. Professors are a great resource, especially if they are teaching a class within your major. Don't be afraid to reach out to them and ask them if they know of any local scholarships. Teachers have a lot of students, and even more connections than you would think. They are also always there to help. I had the same professor email me several ideas for scholarship opportunities for a study abroad trip as well. All you have to do is ask!
3. Look for scholarships in your local area. One of the top scholarships I've applied for is being offered by a Women's Group right here in my home county. I searched scholarships that were specific to my state and area. A lot of states have statewide scholarships, whether they are from organizations or clubs. A local organization in my area also offers a huge scholarship to students in my major every year. Do your research. Sometimes scholarship searches take hours on Google, but those hours could turn into you not graduating with college debt. I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend a few hours on Google than a few years paying off college loans!
4. Use Scholly While searching Pinterest for anything scholarship-related. I came across a pin about an app called "Scholly". Created by three Drexel University students, Scholly helps students to find and 'save' scholarships. I found 50% of my scholarships using Scholly. You can personalize your search in Scholly and find scholarships particular to your state, race, GPA, gender, grade, major, and more. Scholly also allows you to save any scholarships you think you'd like to apply for and provides you with a list of your saved scholarships. It is not only incredibly handy to find scholarships, but to keep track of the ones you're hoping to apply for as well.