Scholarships are an excellent source of financial aid

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If you're getting ready to attend college, I'm sure you're wondering how on earth you're going to pay for it. Even high school graduates often find that they need to contribute in some way to their college education. Whether you're taking out student loans, applying for scholarships or grants, or applying for some work study programs, there are a few things you need to know about financial aid at the college level.

First, financial aid can be a tricky beast. That's why it's best to apply early and keep a record of everything you send to the financial aid office. The information age has made things easier on one level and eliminated the personal factor on yet another level. However, if you own a personal computer, you will find that the Internet is a great source of financial aid and scholarship information. While the government offers a wide range of financial aid resources, there are many opportunities for you to pursue an education that does not revolve around government funding. You just have to spend time finding them.

Your local community is an excellent resource and a good place to start when it comes to financial opportunities for those preparing to attend college. Civic organizations and local businesses prefer to offer scholarships to promising students. Many of these have very specific requirements and you should pay attention to the qualifications you meet before applying. There is no point in wasting your and the scholarship committee's time by applying for scholarships you are not eligible for. Scholarships are preferable to student loans, because they don't need to be repaid. This is one of the most important things you need to understand when seeking financial aid for college. Debt is your income killer for the first few years after graduation. The less you can borrow for your education, the better. But they are there for those who cannot afford education without them.

If you can't find the scholarship you're hoping for at the local level, you should check with the county you live in, your state, and the school you plan to attend. Each of these has excellent resources in terms of financial aid. You should consult with your department head (for your chosen major) to see if any scholarships are available at the college you will attend. You'd be surprised at the number of scholarships you can qualify for. Apply if you meet the requirements to apply. Competition for these scholarships is often fierce but you never know when your application might spark the interest of one of the panel members or you might just be the most impressive candidate.

When applying for a scholarship be sure to read all the instructions carefully, make sure you have all the required documentation and that you check and recheck everything for accuracy and clarity. These corrections take time, and they can often be the difference between your scholarship and the honor going to another student. Scholarships are the best way to apply for financial aid but you should be careful not to put all your eggs in one basket. Apply for multiple scholarships, work-study programs, grants, and loans if necessary to achieve your educational goals.


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