This 2022, an estimate by The College Board reveals that the average tuition of an out-of-state public university is around $24,000 per year. Private schools, on the other hand, have an average fee of roughly $32,000. Since the price of college tuition continues to rise annually, the majority of high school graduates and current college students may find themselves struggling financially.
Fortunately, if you’re a recent high school graduate or currently studying at a university, hope isn’t lost as there are ways to finance your college education. You can always apply for a part-time job. Just make sure that your work schedule won’t interfere with your classes. But if you want to use all of your energy towards getting a college degree, you can always apply for a scholarship to finance your college fees.
Read on to learn more about the nature of a scholarship, the impact of either a high school or GED diploma and transcript when applying for a scholarship, types of scholarships that help students like you get money for college, and some tips to get a scholarship.
What is a Scholarship?
When it comes to colleges and universities, scholarships aim to financially aid students to cover tuition fees for their undergraduate degrees. Since scholarships are aids, it’s different from student loans; student’s don’t have to repay scholarships, unlike student student loans. In most cases, a scholarship aid can be a one-time check. In other times, scholarships can also be renewable, which means students will receive financial support either per semester or yearly.
Once granted a scholarship, students may either receive the money as a check in their name, or it’ll be directly given to the school. In case of the latter, students are still required to pay any difference, specifically if the total amount can’t cover the cost for tuition, fees, board, and room. But if the scholarship aid is enough to cover the overall cost, then any excess amount will be given to the student.
Importance of a High School or GED Diploma
Keep in mind that scholarships aren’t just given to any student. In fact, students must first submit any necessary documents and files so they’ll be considered for a scholarship. That’s where your high school or GED diploma comes into the picture.
High School Diploma or Transcripts
Unfortunately, plenty of students fail to realize the importance of their high school transcripts until their final years in high school. This is because the need to use a transcript is rare during one’s junior years or below. Also, one’s transcript doesn’t contain much information during these years. Nevertheless, a high school transcript, much more a diploma, has plenty of uses, specifically when it comes to applying for a scholarship.
More often than not, you’ll be required to send a high school diploma and transcript if you’re applying for internships, jobs, and scholarships. Once you decide to apply for these opportunities, you may need to send your official transcript. Sometimes, a copy of your diploma or transcript will suffice. Hence, make sure to check in advance what each program or application requires.
In case a scholarship program requires an official transcript, you can ask one from your school or use online portals. When it comes to the latter, you’ll probably be filling out a form that states the address and scholarship program to which your diploma/transcript will be sent. On the other hand, if the scholarship only needs an unofficial high school diploma or transcript, simply make a copy of your original.
If you don’t have a high school diploma, you can still avail of a scholarship by getting a GED (General Educational Development) certificate. Essentially, a GED certificate proves that you have the same educational skills and competency as a high school graduate.
To get a GED certificate, you need to pass certain tests, which are overseen by the state you’re in. These exams aim to test your knowledge of the following subjects:
- Social Studies
- Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA)
Who Can Take the GED Test?
Anyone who’s not in any high school and is 17 years or older can take the GED tests. In some states, the age restriction is even lowered to 16. Also, there are cases where students that are enrolled in high school can take the GED test.
Does A GED Passer Qualify for Financial Aid?
Since a GED certificate proves that you’re on par with a high school graduate, educationally speaking, you can use the said certificate to apply for any college financial aid, including a scholarship program. Multiple scholarship opportunities, like those offered by colleges and universities, private foundations, and the state, will accept a GED certificate as an alternative for a high school diploma.
Types of Scholarships
You can apply for a college scholarship through various scholarship tools, organizations, websites, and more. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be the top student or star-athlete of your high school to have a scholarship. This is because a scholarship is merit-based, need-based, or depends on your field of study, hobbies, religion, ethnicity, and more.
For your reference, here are different types of scholarships that you can choose from.
Based on Field of Study
If you’re an incoming college student and already have an idea of what college major to pursue, you can find a scholarship that’s geared towards helping your chosen major and field of study.
If You’re a High School Senior
If you’re still searching for a college to attend to, don’t forget to search for scholarships, too. Scholarships for a high school senior aren’t only in the form of academic performance and financial aid, but they can also be based on your ethnic background, field of study, and extracurricular activities.
Here are some common types of scholarships available if you’re a high school senior.
Usually, there are local scholarship opportunities within your area. To find these opportunities or assess if you can qualify, ask your school counselor for more details.
High School Seniors With Parents in the Military
If you have parents who are on active duty, retired, killed on duty, or deceased, then you can look for state-sponsored scholarships. As this type of scholarship is state-sponsored, the requirements may vary for each state. To check the requirements or learn more about the scholarship program, call your state’s Office of Veterans Affairs or Department of Higher Education.
Seniors With High SATs/ACTs
If you have high SAT/ACT scores, you can look for scholarships that reward students due to their academic excellence.
If You’re a College Student
If you’re already in college and looking for financial assistance, your first step is to know the specific category of college scholarship that you’ll most likely qualify for. Here are some common categories:
- If you’re a minority: If you belong to any minority group –– African American, Native American, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Hispanic and Latinos, etc. –– you can take advantage of minority scholarships.
- If you’re a mom or single mother: Regardless if you’re returning or just starting college, you can apply for special scholarships that aim to help mothers like you.
- If you’re a transferee: Regardless of the reason why you’re transferring to another school, there’s always a scholarship program that helps with your transition.
Quick Way To Find a Scholarship
Now that you already know the different types of scholarship programs available for you, the next step is to conveniently look for a program that matches your qualifications. Fortunately, you no longer have to go to your guidance counselor’s office to submit your application personally. With the advent of technology, you can now quickly find available scholarships online. You can even use specific filters and keywords so you can match a scholarship program that fits your interest, experience, background, and qualification.
Here’s a list of sites you can use to conveniently find a scholarship program:
Despite the fact that getting a college degree can be financially straining, it shouldn’t hinder you from pursuing your dreams. If you’re worrying about how to finance your college education, you can always apply for a scholarship program. All you need is to fill up a form and, most importantly, either your high school or GED diploma.
Moreover, rule out any scholarship program that doesn't match your background, experience, interests, and qualification; focus on those programs that fit you. Also, don’t be overwhelmed by multiple programs you’ll encounter. Instead, be vigilant and take your time sieving through scholarship programs that are a perfect match for you. Lastly, don’t forget to check each program’s requirements; still, make sure you have your high school or GED diploma.
In case you want to spruce up your diploma, which may help it stand out from other applicants, contact us today so we can provide a cover, folder, or holder, all of which can be personalized to suit your preferences.