The cost of higher education is continually rising, but students are not powerless in the face of tuition costs. If you’d like to take out fewer student loans and decrease your financial responsibility as a student, scholarships can be really helpful. Even a few small scholarships can add up to a substantial discount on tuition. But where and how do undergraduates go about finding these scholarships? Here are a few ways to get started.
Your School’s Financial Aid Office
Most colleges have a financial aid office on campus. This is a good place to visit at the beginning of your scholarship search. Employees in the financial aid office should have information about scholarships for undergraduate students being offered by on-campus clubs, local organizations, and even local businesses. An advisor may send you home with a few applications, or with a list of specific organizations to reach out to for additional scholarship information.
Sometimes local libraries keep applications on-hand for local scholarships. There may even be some scholarships available from local organizations like the YMCA, Knights of Columbus, or various veterans’ societies. Spend a few hours visiting local libraries near your college. Look for bulletin boards near the entrances; these are usually where scholarship information is posted. You can also head over to the reference desk and ask the librarian. Most local librarians are very well informed and may turn you on to some scholarships you’re eligible for.
A number of professional organizations welcome student members. For example, if you are studying engineering, there are likely some professional engineering organizations you could join as a student. Once a member of these organizations, students are often eligible for various scholarships. These can be easy scholarships to obtain since they are only available to the small number of students who join the professional organization prior to graduation.
Honors Societies generally welcome college students who wish to go above and beyond in their academic endeavors. Once you join one of these societies, you are often eligible for scholarships that are only offered to members. Joining an honors society is also a good way to connect with mentors who may know about other scholarships for undergraduate students. Additionally, you can include your honors society membership on your application when applying for other scholarships. This will help set you apart from other candidates and increase your chances of winning that scholarship.
Talk to your parents about your desire to find scholarships for undergraduate students. Ask the to talk to their employer or look into their employer’s scholarship offerings. Many larger companies offer scholarships for the children of their employees. There is often a lot of competition for these scholarships, but the applications tend to be pretty straightforward, so it’s worth putting your hat in the ring.
U.S. Department of Labor
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Labor has a Scholarship Finder tool for students and students-to be? You can browse the whole list of scholarships and note ones that sound promising. Or, you can use various search parameters to narrow down the types of scholarships you’re shown. The database includes scholarships for those pursing Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, and beyond.
Applying for scholarships is definitely worth the effort when you’re an undergraduate. While you should not expect to receive every scholarship you apply for, chances are, you will receive some. The dollars can stack up faster than you think, helping you reduce your student loan burden during your college years. Set some goals, and start sending in those applications.