As you finish up graduation activities this month, you may be thinking about how you’ll pay for college come fall. Our expert guest blogger and college counseling expert, Erika Coplon provides some great tips.
Congratulations on finishing up a successful academic year! Now that the school year has come to a close, many of you are finalizing your plans for the fall, and that includes reviewing your budget. You may have a financial aid package in hand, but that rarely covers 100% of a student’s needs. So now what?!
Though the deadlines have passed for most scholarships by this point in the year, it’s not too late to apply for a few sizable awards, some of which are recurring.
Low efforts scholarshipsThese straightforward scholarship applications consist of little more than registering on a particular scholarship website, so these should be your first to-dos on your list. Here are two to consider:
Niche “No Essay” Scholarship - This scholarship powerhouse doles out a monthly $2,000 award, chosen in a random drawing. You can apply once each month, so add this to-do on your monthly calendar.
You Deserve It Scholarship - Spend one minute registering on ScholarshipOwl, and you’re automatically entered to win $1,000.
Short Answer Scholarships
This set of scholarships requires a greater time investment than the ones listed above, but the time you’ll spend drafting these short-answer responses could be well worth the trouble.
The Do Over Scholarship, worth $1,500, asks for a 250-word response to, “If you could get one do-over in life, what would it be and why? The application is due on June 30th, so you still have some time to ponder that tough question.
Flavor of the Month Scholarship, asks you to write about what ice cream flavor you would be, and why. Not a bad topic for the chance to win $1,500! This application is due on July 31st.
While you are investigating the traditional scholarship route, there are some additional avenues to simultaneously consider. These options require you to be more public about your financial needs, but don’t shy away from these possibilities, as they can result in significant financial support.
This online fundraising option has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to help college students pay for college, and depending on your network, this route has potential. You’ve likely heard of GoFundMe, but there are other crowdfunding platforms as well, including Microgiving and Indiegogo. When telling your story, make sure to articulate your goal and the specific needs that you’re raising money to support (books, housing, tuition, etc.). The key to a successful crowdfunding campaign? Use all of your social media outlets to help spread the word.
Last minute redistributed funds
Although uncommon, there may be some additional funds available from your college or university, once the May 1st intent to register has come and gone. If the financial aid office is unable to offer you additional monies, they will often design an installment plan for a semester or two, to help ease the burden.
Student job opportunities are often plentiful on and near college campuses. Check in with the financial aid office and student center at your school, and ask if there are any work study jobs that are still open for the fall. Not all campus jobs require that you qualify for federal work study, so it’s definitely worth asking. You can also contact a temp agency, which could allow you to earn money while exploring an industry or profession that might help inform your career path.
Click here to read our piece on successfully landing a job!
To avoid a last-minute scramble for funds next time around, begin looking now for scholarships to fund your 2023-2024 school year. Talk to your financial aid office, investigate both school-based and private scholarship opportunities, and fill out your FAFSA in October. The financial component of the college equation can be stressful, but with some advance planning and careful budgeting, you will be well poised to make the most of your college years. Good luck!
Looking for a great resource to learn more about financial literacy, scholarships and loans? Check out this article.
Erika Coplon, founder of Coplon College Counseling, has been counseling high school and transfer students for fifteen years, and approaches her work via a well-designed, very personalized process. Leveraging her background as a former high school college counselor and as a member of the admissions team at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Erika understands the college search and admissions process from multiple angles, and builds excellent rapport with both her students and their families.
A Board member of the San Francisco Education Fund, and a public school parent herself, Erika is passionate about accessibility and offers several scholarship spots each year to California public school students.