Your college years are said to be the best years of your life. You get to experience so many incredible things, like meeting new people and learning more about the field you're interested in and having wild adventures with the friends you make. The best part is, it's okay to be completely broke while you're in college- you don't need a ton of money to stay afloat! However, what many of us don't realize is that while we're living it up in college, enjoying our almost money-free experience, those loans are piling up.
We all know that attending college these days, particularly a state university, costs a lot of money, and because of this, taking out those subsidized and unsubsidized loans seems almost inevitable. Thus, when we graduate and begin our careers, we are left with an overwhelming pile of debt that has been stacking up.
This is a very discouraging thought for the college kids who don't begin working the 6-figure paying job right after they graduate, and it makes you wonder what you could have done differently.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem that is likely to leave you with a substantially smaller pile of debt when you leave school- scholarships.
Scholarship opportunities are everywhere, whether we realize it or not. With higher education becoming so expensive, scholarships have practically become a necessity, so there's a lot of them. I'd like to present to you just a few of the best scholarship opportunities out there for college students who want to get cut a break. Taking advantage of these might even result in you graduating debt-free!
1. Academic Scholarships
This is where all your hard work in high school and throughout college comes into play. Schools highly value academic performance, so they often award huge chunks of money per semester to students who excel in the classroom. Keep your grades up, find time to study in between hanging out with friends, and you just might find yourself earning $4000 a semester (or even higher).
2. Athletic Scholarships
If you're not the best when it comes to trigonometry, but you can throw a mean spiral or shoot the perfect 3- use it to your advantage! Spend some time practicing and getting better at the sport you love, and it's possible you'll be offered athletic scholarships by multiple schools who want you to play for them. The chance of getting paid to go to college and play the sport you're good at is too good to pass up.
3. Creative Scholarships
It doesn't stop at academics and athletics when it comes to colleges recognizing talent. There are also quite a few scholarship opportunities out there for students who are amazing at the arts- painting, dancing, singing, acting, designing, you name it. Schools centered around the arts, in particular, are always offering scholarships to people with recognizable talent. If you're good at drawing or singing, enter a few competitions! Let those schools know you're interested, and they might help you out with a grant. Some schools even offer $5000 rewards or more.
4. Scholarships Based on Background
There are so many scholarships out there reserved for students of certain ethnic or situational backgrounds. For example, my private college offers a $2500 scholarship every semester, just because I attended a private Christian high school. Many scholarship programs even offer around $5000, if you come from a certain ethnic background. Use your history to your advantage and see what's out there!
5. Private Organization/Community Service Scholarships
If you volunteered, interned, or worked for a certain organization in high school or during college, check and see if they have scholarship opportunities available! Chances are if they're a larger organization, they do. The American Red Cross gives a $1500 scholarship for donating blood 3 times in high school. Look and see what you can do in the community, and you may be rewarded for your efforts!
6. Essay-Writing Scholarships
I know, I know- essays are the worst. I don't think I've ever seen someone that was excited to write an essay for a class or project. However, even outside of class, it might be worth your time to write a few essays for scholarship opportunities. Academic journals, newspapers, and other publications or organizations are always showcasing students' work in essay-writing. If you're good at voicing your opinion or sharing your knowledge, why not get paid to do it? Essay scholarships often offer $1000 or more to essayists who win these competitions.
7. School-Based Scholarships
Before you've set your mind on attending any particular college, check out what scholarship opportunities they alone offer. Some schools have mounds of scholarships available in wanting to encourage you to attend. These could include RA scholarships, job positions on campus, leadership scholarships, honors scholarships, outstanding community service scholarships. See what your school of choice has available, and see what category you fit into!
You don't have to graduate school with over $100,000 in debt. Look for these scholarships, see what you're able to do, and take advantage of the many opportunities that are out there! Let's finish school strong.