Scholarships 101: How to Get Free College Money

Written by Scott Benjamin

January 19, 2021

Each year college is getting more and more expensive, making it more difficult for people to attend and receive a degree. While student loans are the main form of payment for college, scholarships are the best way to finance college. Scholarships do not need to be repaid, unlike loans that need to be repaid with interest. While it may seem as though scholarships are difficult to attain, they are widely available! Many different types of organizations provide scholarships, from corporations to nonprofits. Continue reading for more information about getting free money for college!


Where Do I Find Scholarships?

To start your financial aid journey, talk with your guidance counselor or financial aid office to discuss different scholarships that are available to you. Many states provide scholarships based on grade point average that covers a percentage of tuition each semester. Companies and organizations within your community might offer scholarships to high school students that require an application. Check with any local civic organizations and clubs to see if they offer scholarship and grant opportunities. Parents should check with their employers about scholarship opportunities for children of employees. Research the scholarships provided by universities you are looking to attend to see if you qualify. Beyond these options, there are many online resources to help you find scholarships you qualify for.


When Should I Apply?

It is never too early or late to apply! Whether you are a junior in high school or a senior in college, there are scholarships out there for you. Each scholarship has its own individual deadline to meet. So, be sure to be aware of your application’s due date.


How Do I Apply?

Every scholarship has its own requirements. Some scholarships require much less than others. Many state scholarships are automatically provided to you if you meet the GPA and testing requirements. Other scholarships from companies and organizations may require an application, resume, and/or essays. When looking at a scholarship, make sure you see all the items required to apply.


What Other Types of Scholarships Are Out There?

While academic and merit-based scholarships are the most widely known, many other scholarships exist. Athletic scholarships are an option for some students, but it does come with a large number of responsibilities. For people who are the first generation in their family to attend college, there are scholarships specifically for “first-gens.” There are categories of scholarships for a specific ethnicity, nationality, and religious sectors. Apply for any type of scholarship that you are qualified for!


How Much Will Scholarships Cover?

Many scholarships vary from $500 to $2,000. While that does not seem worth applying to, apply! The scholarships with lower amounts usually have a lower number of applicants. So, you are more likely to win. By applying to multiple small amount scholarships, money can begin adding up to tackle your college costs. Large sum scholarships, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, are definitely still worth applying to.

All of this information is tough to take in if you are new to the scholarship process. Firethorn Wealth Partners wants to help you make planning your college finances easier. Give us a call at 706.426.4243 or schedule an appointment here to get started!