When it comes to scholarships, don’t ignore the small stuff
I am currently 28 years old. In just a few weeks it will be exactly 10 years since my first day as a freshman at a Christian College in North Carolina. I had four wonderful years there. I had some incredible adventures, made life-long friends, and gained an education that laid the foundation for my professional career. If I could change it all though, I will tell you one important thing I would change: my scholarship hunt.
I was a great high school student. I had a high GPA, a good (but not great) SAT score, and was involved in lots of extracurricular activities. I applied to several colleges and competed for the highest scholarship available at two of them, thankfully landing a pretty good scholarship at my school of choice. What I didn’t do was apply for any of the smaller scholarships.
There are hundreds of scholarships available at the local, state, and national level, many of which are in the $250-$500 range. I decided these scholarships were not worth my time. Can you believe it? I kept applying for these really large scholarships, hoping to get a full ride, and never applied for any of the smaller ones. One the other hand, a good friend of mine from my high school who wound up attending the same college as me put significant effort into applying for every scholarship she could find and end up using a collection of $250, $500, and $1000 scholarships to pay for a considerable portion of her college expenses. There were semesters when she actually had money left over and was able to use the extra scholarship money as spending money!
A $250 scholarship may not seem like much when there are $10,000 scholarships out there but they are still worth your time. Use resources like www.fastweb.com to search for every single scholarship you are eligible for and apply for them all.
Aaron Wilkinson is the Director of Admissions for Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. He got his M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary and his B.A. in Religious Studies from Gardner-Webb University. Prior to working for Wesley Seminary he worked for three years as the Coordinator of Admissions and Marketing for Asbury University’s Master of Social Work program.