What You Should Know about Applying for Scholarships
Preparing your student for college is the step where most parents seek advice or look for resources. A major part of this process is applying for scholarships or financial aid. While most scholarships don’t specifically exclude homeschoolers, more and more are actually targeting them specifically and even encouraging homeschoolers to apply.
College Scholarship Eligibility
General aid initiatives in the form of Federally Subsidized Student Loans and Pell Grants are available to homeschoolers provided eligibility requirements are met. Homeschoolers follow the same paths as other students when pursuing aid for college, including taking the SAT or ACT during their junior year in high school. In addition to academic scholarships awarded to all accepted college-bound students by the institutions, there are also homeschool foundations that homeschoolers should go for scholarship assistance.
Types of Scholarships
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has recently become homeschool friendly, incorporating a homeschool waiver that opens the doors to many students each year. Visit the NCAA Home School Students page for more information. There are many levels of college athletics. NCAA Division I & II schools, NAIA schools, and some Junior Colleges are all eligible to give athletic scholarships. NCAA Division III schools are able to give other types of scholarships and financial aid.
MERIT BASED SCHOLARSHIPS
Scholarships awarded on basis of merit are less dependent on where you attend school and more dependent on what you have accomplished. As long as a student fits the specific criteria of the scholarship, such as artistic accomplishment, academic achievement, or volunteer work, it is unlikely to matter where or how a student attended high school.
States, countries, and cities like to support their local outstanding students. Since the pool of eligible candidates for these scholarships is limited by population, the odds of winning one of these scholarships can be better than with some other types. Almost every state has a scholarship program for residents, so it is worthwhile to research the ones available in your state.
Some scholarship opportunities are aimed at specific demographic populations, including minorities, women, people with specific backgrounds, or people of specific ethnicity or religion.
Scholarship opportunities are aimed at students whose families might not normally be able to afford college. Although these scholarships can come from private companies and organizations, students usually begin their search for financial aid via the FAFSA.
These types of scholarships are awarded to students pursing a particular career field, such as teaching, healthcare, engineering, or math.
Scholarship Application Process
1. Research all your scholarship options.
Some wonderful sources include The College Board, Scholarships.com, and StudentScholarshipSearch.com. Don’t forget to search for state, regional, and local scholarship opportunities as well.
2. Fill out the FAFSA application.
Your first application should be to Federal Student Aid. FAFSA provides more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to more than 13 million students.
3. Apply to any scholarships for which you are eligible.
Organize any applicable scholarships by deadlines and apply for the most pressing ones first.