By Ezra Ekman
Are you struggling to afford college or concerned about graduating with debt? You aren’t alone. But what if someone gave you money just for filling out a form and writing a short essay about your college goals? That’s how scholarships work. In this first of a two-part series, I’ll explain why you should apply for scholarships.
Many organizations offer free money for college. They know working while going to school makes study challenging, which can impact grades. Scholarships are designed to make it easier for committed students to focus on school instead of working.
It’s a myth that scholarships are hard to win, and many go unclaimed. You don’t have to be a minority, have a low income, or even have a high GPA. You just need to apply. Most colleges will help you, including FRCC.
Illustration by Madison Otten
FRCC handles many scholarships through the FRCC Foundation Scholarship. You complete a single application to be considered for dozens of scholarships at once. Each scholarship provides funds to the FRCC Foundation Scholarship, then the Scholarship Office determines which scholarships apply to each student.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the best grades; many scholarships require a GPA of only 2.5. Do you play sports? Was your high school local? Are you studying science? Nursing? Journalism? There are scholarships for all these and more. Some scholarships aren’t published, so go to the Scholarship Office (located in the Financial Aid Office) and introduce yourself! The staff is friendly, encouraging, and will help get you started.
While the FRCC Foundation Scholarship closed On March 1, more scholarships open between March and August so be sure to check the Scholarships page often.
There are also “outside scholarships” you can find using scholarship search engines like those below. Sign up and create a profile to see a huge list of scholarships that match, then apply! It’s that simple. The FRCC Scholarships page has links to a few, but here are several more:
Note that, if you are a veteran receiving GI Bill benefits, you should speak with the scholarship office and an advisor before applying. Your GI Bill probably gets you more than most scholarships will, and accepting a scholarship may actually reduce your benefits such as tuition or housing allowances. For everyone else, however, scholarships are the way to go.
It’s free money. You don’t have to do much to get it, and you can be the student who does! So ask yourself this: What could you do with all of that cash? Scholarship deadlines are early so get started now!
Stay tuned for part 2, of this scholarship series, in which I’ll describe how to give yourself the best shot at being awarded one.