words Alexa Wang
Education is an important and worthwhile investment. It’s one of the several factors that can contribute to your future success. For many Americans, however, tertiary education remains a dream because of the financial requirements to pursue it.
If you’re planning to go to college, you should be ready to handle the expenses that go along with it. Many students end up getting buried in student loan debt, which they usually have to pay for after graduating from college. Aside from the tuition, you’re also expected to shoulder housing costs, books or learning materials, food, and other miscellaneous expenses. Is getting a college education worth all these expenses?
There are several benefits in getting a college degree, including:
- Boost marketability and gain competitive advantage
- Help prepare for specialization in your chosen field
- Increased economic stability and earning potential
- A better sense of satisfaction at work
- Build or grow your professional network
- A stepping stone to career advancement
- An investment that pays off in the long-term
- Improved self-esteem and personal fulfilment
While your future success may also be influenced by other factors such as your values and attitude, there’s no doubt that tertiary education is a vital contributor. In a society where knowledge and skill are considered important assets, individuals who accomplished higher education are likely to be respected and valued more.
However, with the rising costs of education, it can be challenging to obtain a degree. It isn’t unusual for aspiring college students—or, sometimes, their parents—to look for other sources of income to raise funds for college. There are various ways of how one can pay for tertiary education, such as:
- Look for work-study programs
- Start crowdfunding to raise funds for tuition
- Applying for student finance in the US
- Get a job and set aside your income for college expenses
- Inquire about payment plans for the tuition bill
- Apply for a grant or scholarship
- Take out a student loan
- Claim tax credits
Applying for a scholarship is a popular way to obtain financial help for education. The funds generated from the scholarship may also be used to fill in gaps or used for expenses aside from your tuition. There are also several advantages in earning a scholarship. One of the most obvious, of course, is the financial benefits. Obtaining a scholarship will also look good in your resume and make you more attractive to future employers.
Tips In Finding California College Scholarships
Before discussing how to find California scholarships, it’s best to know the differences between scholarships and grants. A scholarship and grant are both types of financial aid. The main difference between grants and scholarships, however, is why these are awarded to an individual. A grant is typically needs-based and is given to students from low-income families, for example. Grants may be given by the state or the educational institution itself.
On the other hand, scholarships can come from a variety of sources such as religious groups, community and business organizations, and individuals. Scholarships are typically merit-based, meaning the student should meet certain qualifications in academics or manifest talent in the arts, athletics, and other interests. Finding a suitable scholarship is possible with ample research and patience.
That said, here are some useful tips when searching for college scholarships in California:
- Reach Out To Prospective Schools
The first thing to do is decide what college or university you want to go to and find out what kind of scholarships they offer. Never assume that if you’re applying for scholarships, you’re also applying for admission to the school. Scholarship applications are often a separate process, so before applying to get into the school, take time to research if there is a suitable scholarship that you can aim for.
Now isn’t the time to be shy—if you think you deserve a scholarship, find a way to make it happen! There’s nothing wrong with looking at various scholarship resources and seeking the help of others to achieve a reasonable cause. If you’re graduating from high school, you can ask your school counsellor if they know any scholarships that will be suitable for you.
2. Utilize Your Network
Sometimes, you don’t need to go beyond your community to find a suitable college scholarship. Do you belong to a national club or religious group that supports students who need financial aid for college? Maybe your parents work for a corporation that grants scholarships to their employees’ children? Does your family know anyone from well-known foundations and organizations that offer merit-based scholarships to deserving students? Finding a scholarship is the best time to tap into your network and utilize your affiliations to obtain financial aid.
3. Do Your Online Research
If you use the Internet to get information about almost everything, you’ll find plenty of information about California scholarships with several clicks. Some websites specialize in curating info on companies and institutions that offer scholarships in California. It’s crucial, however, to double-check the requirements of the scholarship from the organization that grants it. You’ll be gladly surprised at the wealth of information that you can find when searching for California scholarships such as scholarships for single parents, for members of the LGBT community, and more.
4. Be Mindful Of Deadlines
You may be qualified to apply for a scholarship, but it wouldn’t matter if you miss the deadline that the organization set for interested applicants. The deadline for application varies from organization to organization; thus, it’s crucial to understand the requirements early on and send it before the final day of submission. It takes a good amount of organization and planning to manage scholarship applications and requirements like essays, interviews, et cetera—but it will be worth it.
Finding the right scholarship is crucial if you want to pursue tertiary education without taking out a student loan or seeking a financial grant from the state. Obtaining a scholarship is not limited to students with exceptional academic standing. If you’re a talented athlete, musician, or artist, it’s possible to find an organization that offers college scholarships for such interests. Whether it’s a full or partial scholarship, you will have the chance to graduate debt-free, so you can focus on what your professional future holds for you.