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All about Scholarships

Have you been wanting to go back to school, but you thought “no, I can’t afford it”? Or maybe you’re already enrolled, but you’re concerned about how to pay the full tuition, or how you’ll be able to pay back your student loans. Well, there’s good news: a scholarship might be your answer!

A scholarship usually requires an application process, but the reward is a gift, not a loan. This means that if you qualify for or win a scholarship, you do not need to pay back the money the way you would with a student loan.
Free money for school sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it? It’s not something that’s too good to be true, but finding the right scholarship to fit your needs does require a bit of work. Here are some of the basics to help get you started:

Where Can I Find Scholarships?

One of the best places to start is the admissions office or financial aid office of the school you’re interested in attending. Here at Central Coast College, you can request information through our website, or come to the financial aid office to speak with a staff member. You can also check bulletin boards around campus for fliers about local scholarship opportunities, or check our Facebook page, where we periodically post scholarship information.
Many scholarships can also be found online. Simply Googling “scholarships” may not get you the best results right away. Here are a few websites that are a good place to start when searching online:

How do I Apply for Scholarships?

Every scholarship is different. Not everyone is eligible for every scholarship, but don’t despair – with enough searching you can find a scholarship that can fit almost any need or qualification.

The most important thing to do is to read all of the information about each scholarship. Whether it’s a flyer posted on the bulletin board in the hallway at school, or a promising post you found on one of the scholarship websites, read everything. Eligibility, application instructions, and other necessary information is usually provided.

Here are a few other quick tips to help you along in the scholarship application process:

  • Cast a wide net. This means that you shouldn’t just apply for one or two scholarships and call it done. If you’re serious about receiving financial assistance for college, then apply for as many scholarships as you can (and for which you qualify). A lot of people are applying for scholarships all the time, so you want to have as many opportunities going for you as possible. Don’t let this discourage you, though. That’s what the “wide net” means – the more applications you submit, the better your chances. And if you win more than one of those scholarships – even better!
  • Read all the fine print. And then follow the instructions. Every scholarship application is different. Some might require a 500-word essay, others might require two letters of recommendation from previous teachers.
  • If you’re using an online scholarship search engine, fill out every box that you can. The more information you can give the online search engines about yourself and your needs, the better your chances of finding appropriate scholarship matches. Use wisdom and caution, though, when filling out online profiles: if a website asks for secure information like your social security number or bank account, or asks for a payment in order to register with the website, then steer clear.
  • Be honest and professional. Don’t lie about your grades or your school or job experience. There’s no need to feel embarrassed about any achievements that you feel you lack – there are scholarships available for practically every background, experience level, and education level. Make sure you submit the best application that you can: have someone else proofread your applications for typos, and to make sure that you’ve included all the required information or materials. Put your best foot forward!

Next Steps

If you’ve never applied for a scholarship before, then use this post as a starting guide.  If you’ve applied for scholarships and haven’t won any yet – don’t give up! There are countless scholarships available for people with all different needs and backgrounds, and new scholarships are available all the time.

Here at Central Coast College, we’re always available to help you with any stage of the scholarship process. Whether you’re a current student at CCC, or still looking at applying, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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