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Going to college is confusing. It is not a simple task. You have to decide what you want to do, where you want to go, and what classes you take. The next step is all about the money. There is financial aid, but we all know that that’s not enough. With the rising costs of living most students are unable to cover school, housing, food, and much more with what financial aid offers. This blog post is created for those students who know the reality but don’t know what to do next.

sierra17summitYou may know about scholarships, but this is Scholarships 101 so we are going to start from the beginning. A scholarship is money that is awarded to students to go towards the costs associated with funding their education that students do not have to pay back. These costs can include tuition, fees, books, and some living expenses. Now that we have covered what a scholarship is, let’s debunk some myths.

Myth #1: There is too much competition. Experts estimate that people receive one of every ten scholarships that they apply for. So go for it. Apply to as many as you can.

Myth #2: It is too much work for too little money. Here is some math. If you were going to attend Seattle Central College, one hour of credit is $105.17. Let’s say you’re taking 15 credits (a full course load), then your total tuition would be $1,577.55. Now minimum wage in Seattle is $15 an hour. You would need to work 106 hours to pay for a quarter of school. It takes roughly 6 hours to complete a scholarship application and essay. Many of your scholarship materials are reusable, so you spend less and less time on each application the more that you do them. What a great return!.

Now let’s talk about types of scholarships. There are many different types. Washington state has a site specific to scholarships available in Washington – theWashBoard.org. A lot of people think they can’t get a scholarship because their grades are not very good. This, however, is not 100% true. Yes, there are merit-based scholarships, but there are also many more. One of these many options is a need-based scholarship. Need-based scholarships are created for students who have a financial need for additional support. Another type of scholarship is background based. These are scholarships that are open to students who have experienced certain life events or done certain things. There are so many other opportunities. Just look and see what you find. Just remember any application that asks for your social security number or an application fee is a scam.

Now that we have talked about what a scholarship is and what types of scholarships are out there, let’s talk about how to apply. Most applications are now fully online. Applications generally include: questions about your personal demographics, educational background, and goals. They might also require essay questions or personal statements, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and some even require a multi-stage review process and/or an interview. Remember as you apply for these applications that it takes time. Be honest and clear with what you’re saying and be sure to apply to everything you qualify for. By taking the time to fill out applications now school will seem a lot easier. By my taking time to fill out applications for spring quarter I found resources to cover all my basic costs as well as have some extra money to help with costs relating to food and housing. The same could happen to you!