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What is a Scholarship

Students who find that the costs of college are way beyond the family budget often worry that they will have to postpone their dreams. However, there are many financial aid opportunities that will help cover your higher education costs so you can earn your degree right now without putting your family into bankruptcy. Federal financial aid covers a portion of the expenses for many students, but is rarely enough. Students who are still having difficulty paying for college can get extra help from scholarships. What is a scholarship? Simply put, a scholarship is money for college that you do not have to repay. Different scholarships have different requirements, but there are some available for every student, regardless of major, GPA, or talent.

Merit Scholarships

What is a scholarship for merit? Merit scholarships are designed to reward students for having exceptional talent in one or more areas. This may include academic ability, athletic talents, artistic accomplishments, and more. Merit scholarships are typically offered through colleges and universities and are highly competitive. Many times, these scholarships are offered without students seeking them out. It is still a good idea, though, to check into all available scholarships so you can submit any documents and paperwork that may be required.

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Full-Ride Scholarships

What is a scholarship that covers all college costs? A full-ride scholarship covers all, or most, of a student’s costs of attending college. These scholarships are a type of merit scholarship and are available through schools and private organizations. Full-ride scholarships are the most desirable and most competitive of all scholarships, so they are typically awarded to students with excellent GPAs, a high level of accomplishment in a particular sport or art, and those who have exhibited great leadership skills.

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Need-Based Scholarships

What is a scholarship that is need-based? Need-based scholarships are those that are awarded to students based on financial need. This does not mean that grades and other accomplishments are not taken into consideration. To receive a need based-scholarship, students must prove a true financial need that is threatening their ability to attend college or a university. From the eligible candidates, scholarships usually go to those with the best GPA or other factors such as leadership skills, volunteer service, and more.

Special Circumstance Scholarships

There are many scholarships that are provided to specific groups of people. This may include race, country of origin, physical limitations, adversity, or other criteria. There are scholarships for left-handed students, those for cancer survivors, those for military children, and many more. Most of these scholarships are provided by private organizations and require students to submit an application and other required paperwork to be considered.

Scholarship Contests

Finally, there are many scholarships that can be earned through contest entries. These may be as easy as filling out an entry form, or may be complex and involve essay writing or other projects. Most of these scholarships have no requirements on the school chosen, the intended major, or academic performance. Because of this lack of limitations, however, these are the most competitive of all scholarships and the least likely to be received.

A scholarship is a fantastic opportunity to get free money for college. There are so many types of scholarships available that any student should be able to find at least one source of college funding. The earlier you start searching for and applying to scholarships, the more likely that you will get the money you need to earn your degree and to make your dreams come true.

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