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The FAFSA is the primary document students and parents will fill out to receive federal financial aid. There are several types of federal aid that comes through the FAFSA:
- Direct Loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized)
- Federal Supplemental Education Opportunities Grant (FSEOG)
- PELL Grant
- TEACH Grant (for Teachers Education)
- Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
- The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART)
- Institutional Grants
On top of these funds, there is also Campus based aid available:
- Work Study
- Perkins Loans
After this, there isn’t much else. So what happens when the Award Letter (this is from the school and explains how much aid students are awarded) doesn’t match the cost of going to the school? SCHOLARSHIPS!
The key to earning scholarships is 3 fold. This is of course speculation and opinion. While I wish I could say this is a sure-fire way to do it and I promise you’ll get more scholarship alas, I cannot. There are however some tips I can give you to help make yourself more appealing.
- GRADES: This may seem simple to you, but grades are very important! Most scholarships include a “need” based caveat, but you often can’t apply without having a GPA above a 3.0. Study hard and keep your GPA up. This helps on a number of different levels: (1) It helps build self discipline, (2) It will help get you into college (or a better college) and (3) it will help make you attract more scholarship opportunities.
- Quantity: Our whole lives we have been taught “Quality over Quantity”. In this case, we need both! One author suggested applying for at least one scholarship every day for at least 6 months. That is 182 scholarships minimum! That may seem like a lot, but I can show you how to do it.
- Quality: This is more than just having correct grammar and sentence structure. While that is important, what you write about is also important. Most of the time scholarship judges are also professional essay readers, and they may read a thousand essays just to pick 1 out of 5000 applicants (quantity is important!) Writing about things you are passionate about, writing in a colorful manner, and creating content that speaks loudly are just a few ideas for writing essays that stick out. I can also help create high quality essays for scholarships.
- Activity: Stay active in the community. Get involved in politics, helping the homeless, or some other social service that appeals to you. You’ll find yourself growing in ways you never thought possible, and you’ll become passionate about things you never knew you were passionate about. This will come out in your writing and help you develop some life goals and direction.
I can help if you are looking for scholarships. Feel free to contact me!