While most teens would rather not put much thought into how they are going to pay for college, if you need to rely on scholarships, and help from places other than your parents or your part time job, high school is the time to look. There are numerous scholarships available to high school students, some only available during certain years of high school. There are essay contests, pageants, and all sorts of other ways to get college scholarships in high school. The following is a guide to finding college scholarships while you are in high school:
- The first and most important thing to do when in high school if you want college scholarships is go into your counselor’s office, and meet with your counselor. Do this your freshman year of high school. Tell them that you are interested in applying for any and all college scholarships that come available, and enlist their help. That is what they are there for, but unless you make sure they know you and what you want, there is a good chance you won’t get it. They should get some information about you so that they know which scholarships will apply to you when they do come available. For example, some are specifically for low income families, families of certain races, etc. From this point, your counselor should make you aware when they hear of or find any scholarships you can apply for, and should get you all the necessary forms, and make sure you hit the deadlines. Of course, counselors are busy and have a lot of kids they are over, so check back in with them every couple of months, and stay on them to look for scholarship opportunities for you.
- The second thing you must do is not just leave your fate in the hands of your high school counselor, but take the time to do your own research. If you type “college scholarships” into a search engine online you will find hundreds of opportunities. Spend an hour a week or so browsing these opportunities and determining which ones you could, and should apply for. Some will require you to write essays, etc. Do it. Do not let the prospect of a little work keep you from trying for a scholarship. Think of it this way, an essay may take you a few hours to write, but if it gets you a $2500 college scholarship, even if it took you 25 hours to write, you are making $100/hour, which is way more than you would make working in a job to earn money for college. So, the time and effort is worth it, even if you do not get every scholarship you apply for.
- If you know what college you want to attend, and have the grades, test scores, etc. to get in, contact the school directly to find out what scholarship opportunities they offer, and what you would need to do to be considered. For example, they may offer academic scholarships, so you can work hard to get your scores and grades up enough to qualify for one.