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Scholarships Save Education

By Jessica Bowman; For the Clock
On February 23, 2018

Scholarships Save Education

Jessica Bowman

For the Clock

jlbowman1@plymouth.edu

If you are like me then finding money for college does not come easy. My parents are working class which means we are right at the cutoff point and do not necessarily qualify for federal aid. Yet, we can not really afford all the things we should be able to afford. With two births in the family, a new house complete with a mortgage and renovations underway, household funds are lower than they have ever been. But we are still working class, so we should be able to afford an extra $10,000 towards my college tuition, right? FAFSA likes to think so.

But, there are these things that can really help with the money aspect of college, Scholarships.

They may be a lot of work but I am here to tell you how to effeciently apply for them. Most people know scholarships exist but they do not know where to find them or they think they are not qualified for much. It is a lot easier than you think it is. When you are in high school it is definitely easier because any student can go to their guidance counselor or a teacher and ask what they recommend for scholarships.

But we are all already college students, so we are on our own when it comes to putting ourselves out there. Upon entering my final year at Plymouth State University, I knew I would have to hit it out of the park for scholarships. So, I walked down to the Speare building, the one straight across from the HUB, and asked Financial Aid.

Finding PSU scholarships was even easier than I thought it was. A new program has been developed for students, both incoming and current, to recommend them scholarships. All you have to do is log in. Go to the Plymouth State University website and search for AcademicWorks. Click on the first option and you will be brought to a page with a paragraph of text and a hyperlink to a website titled AcademicWorks.

Once there you can log in with your student account information and the website will filter all the scholarships that PSU offers into recommendations for you.

Now you may not be eligible for all, however, even if you do not think you qualify you should apply anyway. Often colleges and scholarships will go unclaimed because no one applied for them. The scholarship program still wants to give away the money they have otherwise it just sits there. So even if you are not eligible you may still get the scholarship by default.

Almost all scholarships require you to write essays for them and to harken on your past accomplishments. Filling out these essays and qualifications is kind of like making a resume. You want to sell yourself. You should take any past accomplishment and twist your words until it sounds better than you think it may be. Do not lie, however. Never lie on resumes and applications; it will not go over well. But toot your own horn a little bit. Even if you would rather be humble in person, on paper you want to sound proud. This is what will get scholarships and companies interested in you. And some scholarships require a second part to the application process. Other scholarships will not require much. Truthfully there is no limit to the amount of scholarships you can apply for. The only limit is how many you can physically do yourself.

Before you think about taking out more loans that you will have to pay back later, look at scholarships and grants and federal aid, things that you will not own interest on or have to pay back. Loans should be a last resort for when you have nothing else to o er.

But there are more ways to get scholarships then just looking up AcademicWorks on the Plymouth website. Dozens of scholarship companies are opened to help students enter in their information and filter through scholarships they may be eligible for. New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is one such company who happens to work closely with Plymouth State University. They can give out 5,000 or more up to four years.

Scholarships.com is another source of scholarships, just like many other scholarship websites. As with anything outside of high school, you must do your own research into these companies and these scholarships to find what you need. Colleges will often auto apply students for scholarships but the total amount of money you will get from scholarships like that will never match the amount you need to pay for an education in any college.

That is why taking the initiative is so important if you want to get good results. Most scholarships accept applications that roll into the new academic year, but others still run year-round with rolling admissions. If you are struggling to pay for college like the rest of us, I implore you to take your future in to your own hands. Find the nearest professor or financial aid office and begin to ask specific questions on how to get scholarships that are right for you. Sell yourself in the essays that you need to write. And have those scholarship essays proofread for you by someone you trust whether it be a peer, a professor, an advisor, the PSU writing center, or all of the above. Do not let those loans pile up. You will thank your past self when you are out of college with even a few thousand dollars less to pay back. 

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