9 Stellar Scholarships to Apply for in Iowa

The Hawkeye State isn’t just known for its agriculture, it’s also home to a handful of great universities! Top schools like the University of Iowa and Iowa State University attract thousands of students from all over each year…but studying here doesn’t come cheap!

The average in-state tuition for the University of Iowa is $9,492 per year while out-of-state students can expect to pay $31,458. Iowa State University is a cheaper option, with in-state tuition costing $3,870 and out-of-state tuition coming in at $11,072. For some, these prices can make it difficult to continue their education, but scholarships can help!

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

Scholarships are great because they never need to be paid back and there are tons of different ones for all types of situations. The best place to start your search is with Going Merry. We match you with relevant scholarships and allow you to apply directly through the sitesaving you both time and money! Then, talk with your high school guidance counselor or college financial aid office to learn about even more opportunities.

If you’d like more information and scholarship tips in the meantime, check out our comprehensive guide to applying for scholarships or our list of expert tips to bring your application to the next level.

scholarships in iowa

Check out these 9 scholarships in Iowa: 

1. The Robert D. Blue Scholarship

These Iowa scholarships are awarded to state residents who are planning to attend college during the next school year. Award amounts vary and winners are heavily determined by financial need.

Amount: $500 to $1,000

Provider: Iowa State Treasurer’s Office

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors & Undergraduate Students

Requirements: (a) Planning to attend an accredited college or university for the upcoming school year, (b) Residency in Iowa, (c) Financial need, (d) Academic achievement. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

2. The All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship

Incoming college freshmen who graduated within the last two years are eligible to apply for these renewable scholarships in Oregon. Priority is given to students who have overcome financially difficult situations. Some examples are children who have aged out of the foster care system, children of deceased public safety workers, and students who participated in the GEAR UP grant program in Iowa.  

Amount: Varies (For the 2018-2019 school year, the maximum award was $4,532)

Provider: Iowa College Student Aid Commission

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors & Recent Graduates

Requirements: (a) Planning to attend an eligible college or university in Iowa, (b) Residency in Iowa, (c) FAFSA, (d) Enrollment in at least three semester hours while in college, (e) Meet the criteria for Expected Family Contribution on the FAFSA (TBD). For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

3. The Tim Dwight Foundation, Inc. Scholarship

The Tim Dwight Foundation, Inc. scholarship focuses on students with high potential who have overcome challenges in their lives. Some examples include social, mental, and physical disabilities, one-parent families, and long-term health issues. Recipients must attend Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, or the University of Northern Iowa.

Amount: Full Tuition for One Year

Provider: The Tim Dwight Foundation, Inc.,

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Iowa, (b) U.S. Citizen, (c) Full-Time Enrollment in college, (d) Graduating from an Iowa High School. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in iowa

4. The Lois Dell Memorial Scholarship

The Lois Dell Memorial Scholarship is awarded to female students studying full-time at an accredited college or university. Any woman from Polk, Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story, or Warren County can apply.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: The Des Moines Women’s Club

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate Students

Requirements: (a) Female, (b) Enrollment in an accredited college or university, (c) Full-time student status.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

5. Larry W. Carter Scholarship

These scholarships in Iowa were created in memory of Larry W. Carter, an activist and prominent community leader. Any African-American Iowa resident is eligible to apply. Applicants can be pursuing full-time or part-time studies at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Amount: Varies

Provider: The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students

Requirements: (a) Residency in Iowa, (b) African American, (c) Enrollment in a full-time or part-time college program. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

6. PMI Eastern Iowa Chapter Scholarship

These Iowa scholarships are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in project management or a related field. Priority is given to children and stepchildren of PMI residents who are residents of Eastern Iowa.

Amount: Up to $1,000

Provider: The Project Management Institute

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate Students & Graduate Students

Requirements: (a) Pursuing or planning to pursue a degree in Project Management or a related field, (b) Attending or planning to attend an accredited college or university. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in iowa

7. Home Builders Association of Iowa Scholarship

Students pursuing a career in the homebuilding industry or a related trade as well as immediate family members of association members are eligible to apply for these generous scholarships in Iowa.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: The Home Builders Association of Iowa

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students

Requirements: (a) Pursuing or planning to pursue a relevant career, (b) Residency in Iowa. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

8. The Shirley and Kenneth Smith Memorial Scholarship

These generous awards are granted to male and female students planning to major or minor in art, especially painting or drawing. Applicants must be residents or full-time students in Polk, Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story, or Warren County.

Amount: $2,000

Provider: The Des Moines Women’s Club

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in one of the counties mentioned above, (b) Plans to major or minor in art.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

9. Conservation Districts of Iowa Scholarships

Students interested in pursuing a degree related to conservation or agriculture are eligible to apply for these scholarships in Iowa. Applicants must be graduating from an Iowa high school and be residents of the state of Iowa. The winner is chosen based on career goals, involvement, leadership, character, conservation message, and academic achievement.

Amount: $600 to $4,000

Provider: Conservation Districts of Iowa

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Pursuing or planning to pursue a relevant career, (b) Residency in Iowa, (c) Entering college for the first time. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in iowa

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

10 Tips for Writing an Essay About Yourself

Even though we know ourselves better than anyone else, writing about yourself is hard work! When applying for scholarships or college, questions that force us to analyze ourselves come up all the time in all different forms…and they often leave us stumped! Some common examples of personal essay prompts are:

Tell me about yourself.

Describe a challenge or event that made you who you are today.

What are your short- and long-term goals and how do you plan to achieve them?

Write about a time you failed at something. How did it affect you?

…and the list goes on and on!

We might find it so difficult to write about ourselves because we’re embarrassed, don’t want to brag, or simply don’t know what to include. But knowing how to approach these essays can make them much easier!

how to write an essay about yourself

Check out these 8 tips for writing an essay about yourself:

1. Create a List of Questions

After understanding the prompt, the first thing you should do when figuring out how to write an essay about yourself is to make a list of questions that you’d like to answer. The best way to do this is to think of smaller questions that relate to the big question.

To get you started, here are a few common examples:

What is your background?

What’s your greatest accomplishment?

What are your goals?

What are your interests?

2. Brainstorm and Outline

After deciding which questions you want to answer, it’s time to brainstorm your responses. Feel free to write down anything that comes to mind. Once you have all your thoughts out, focus on the most important parts and create a comprehensive outline to work from!

3. Be Vulnerable

Don’t be afraid to let both your weaknesses and strengths shine through in your essay! Scholarship and admissions committees love to see that you’re self-aware and conscious of how you can improve as a person so go ahead and talk about your mistakes and how you learned from them.

how to write an essay about yourself

4. Use Personal Examples

Since this essay is all about you, you should make it as specific as possible! Avoid using generalizations (e.g. I’m really good at music) and, instead, go for more personalized statements (e.g. My fourth-grade teacher really inspired me to pursue my interest in the clarinet). Your own personal examples are what will make you still out in the end.

5. Write in the First Person

Even though you likely had an English teacher at some point who told you to never write an essay in the first person, you can throw that advice out the window. When figuring out how to write an essay about yourself, you should absolutely write in the first person. Using the third person perspective for a personal essay is strange and awkward, so it’s best to avoid it.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Show Off…But Don’t Overdo It

Most students hate writing a personal essay because they don’t want to brag, but it’s more than okay to highlight your accomplishments and strengths. However, it’s a good idea to take a second look at your essay to make sure that you’re keeping the tone informative and realistic. Also, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed when writing your essay. The committee wants to hear all about you so there’s no shame in giving them what they want!

how to write an essay about yourself

7. Let Your Personality Shine Through

Just because it’s an essay doesn’t mean it has to be dry and boring. This essay is all about you, so let your personality shine through! Trying your best to express who you are as a person will have a huge effect on the admissions or scholarship committee!

8. Proofread and Edit!

The last step in writing your personal essay is to double check your work! One typo can bring your essay from amazing to just okay…and it doesn’t take long at all to avoid that. In addition to proofreading, it’s also a great idea to go back and change sentence structures or add/delete information to make your essay stronger.

how to write an essay about yourself

What are your best tips on how to write an essay about yourself? Let us know below!

How to Write an Awesome Essay About Your Career Goals

Even though it can be challenging, writing a career goals essay is often an inspiring and motivating process! Not only can it give scholarship committees a well-rounded picture of your goals and aspirations, but it’s also a great opportunity to sit down and think of what you’re passionate about.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you start the essay. Taking the time to brainstorm and create an outline before you start writing can be super helpful (just to get your thoughts in order first). Here are a few questions to help get you started, but feel free to pick and choose or add your own:

  • What are my short-term and long-term career goals?
  • Where do I see myself in ten years?
  • What events in my life have led me to have these goals?
  • What major will help me reach my goals?
  • What skills do I need to reach my goals?
  • What impact do I want to have on society?

These questions are a great starting point. When it’s time to put your ideas into essay format, it’s good to have a general idea of structure. You can use the template below to give you some ideas. However, remember that some rules are meant to be broken, so don’t be afraid to be innovative and think outside the box!

career goals essay

Career Goals Essay Template

The first paragraph should be an overview of what you’re going to talk about and it should also grab the reader’s attention. For example, instead of starting your essay with something generic (e.g. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a zoologist.), get creative with it! Try something like My greatest memory as a young girl was going to the zoo for the first time or While most kids play house or school, I always wanted to play zookeeper.

For the second paragraph, it’s a great idea to elaborate on what inspired your career goals. Perhaps it was a relative, a TV show, or simply an experience that you had. You can touch on your short-term and long-term goals here as well, although it might be better to really focus on them in the upcoming paragraphs.

In paragraph 3, you can discuss your short-term career goals and your intended major. How will your intended major help you reach these goals? What skills do you need to learn to reach them? At the end of the paragraph, try discussing how your short-term goals can help you achieve your long-term goals

For the fourth paragraph, it’s a fantastic idea to focus on your long-term goals and the impact that you hope to have on society. If you’re not sure what your long-term goals are, don’t sweat it; they’ll probably change anyways. You can focus on the difference you’d like to make overall instead. And don’t worry too much about the size of the impact…remember that just doing what you’re truly passionate about has a massive impact on those around you.

The last paragraph is your conclusion. You can use this paragraph to summarize what you discussed in the last few paragraphs. If you want to be even more creative, try ending your essay with a question for your readers or a new insight. And good luck!

career goals essay

If you still need some inspiration, check out examples from other students just like you. Here are some links to some great career goal essay examples to get you started:

Example 1 

Example 2 

Example 3 

10 Spectacular Oregon Scholarships to Help You Pay for School

Beautiful hiking and breathtaking scenery isn’t the only thing that Oregon is known for; it’s also known for its stellar universities. With top schools like Reed College and the University of Oregon, it’s no wonder that thousands of students call this state home each year.

But a quality education doesn’t come cheap! Reed College, a private institution, charges students $56,030 per year for tuition (although they do have an excellent financial aid program). At the University of Oregon, in-state students can expect to pay $9,765 per year for tuition while that price rises to $33,345 for out-of-state students. Luckily, scholarships can help!

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

Scholarships are great because they never need to be paid back and there are tons of different ones for all types of situations. The best place to start your search is with Going Merry. We match you with relevant scholarships and allow you to apply directly through the sitesaving you both time and money! Then, talk with your high school guidance counselor or college financial aid office to learn about even more opportunities.

If you’d like more information and scholarship tips in the meantime, check out our comprehensive guide to applying for scholarships or our list of expert tips to bring your application to the next level.

scholarships in oregon

10 Scholarships in Oregon

1. Oregon Community Quarterback Scholarship

Created for upcoming Oregon leaders, this scholarship aims to help students planning to attend a college, university, or trade school within the state. This scholarship is renewable for four years and each recipient receives a personal mentor throughout their college education.

Amount: $16,000 ($4,000 per year)

Provider: Harrington Family Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Involvement in the community, (b) Demonstrated financial need. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

2. Alice and Mason White Memorial Scholarship

Oregon high school graduates who are entering their junior or senior year of full-time undergraduate education are eligible to apply for this prestigious award. These scholarships in Oregon are based on financial need and awarded during the Fall semester.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC)

Who Can Apply: Junior and Senior Undergraduate Students

Requirements: (a) Minimum 3.0 GPA, (b) Participation in at least one extracurricular activity, (c) Demonstrated financial need.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

3. Horatio Alger Association Oregon Scholarship

Funded by Horatio Alger members, these generous scholarships are awarded to high school students who have faced and overcome substantial obstacles in life.

Amount: Up to $10,000

Provider: Horatio Alger Association

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree, (b) Demonstrated financial need, (c) Involvement in co-curricular and community service activities, (d) U.S. Citizen, (e) Minimum GPA of 2.0.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in oregon

4. The Asian American Foundation of Oregon Scholarship

The Asian American Foundation awards two $1,000 scholarships in Oregon each year. Students who have demonstrated participation in the Asian community and cultural events within the state are eligible to apply.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Asian American Foundation of Oregon (AAFO)

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, Undergraduate Students

Requirements: (a) Residency in Oregon, (b) Minimum 2.5 GPA, (c) U.S. Citizen.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

5. Sharon D. Banks Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship

Aimed at cultivating the development of women in the transportation field, the Sharon D. Banks Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship provides financial assistance in Oregon to qualifying women.

Amount: $2,500

Provider: WTS Foundation

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate Students

Requirements: (a) Minimum 3.0 GPA, (b) Enrollment in a transportation-related degree program, (c) Plans to pursue a career in a transportation-related field.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in oregon

6. American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon

These scholarships in Oregon are awarded to graduating high school seniors or GED students with no previous college experience. Applicants must be majoring in civil, electrical, mechanical, or environmental engineering at a four-year Oregon university that offers an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Preference is given to students interested in entering a career in consulting engineering.  

Amount: Varies

Provider: Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC)

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors & GED Holders with No College Experience

Requirements: (a) Minimum 3.3 GPA, (b) 1280+ combined SAT Scores or 28+ composite ACT scores, (c) Full-time enrollment, (d) Major in any of the engineering fields listed above.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

7. Chick Evans Caddy Scholarship

These prestigious scholarships for golf caddies provide full tuition and housing at participating universities. Recipients live in Evans Scholarship Houses with fellow winners. Applicants should demonstrate a strong record as a golf caddy, academic achievement, outstanding character, and financial need.

Amount: Full Tuition + Housing

Provider: Western Golf Association Evans Scholars Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Strong record as a golf caddy, (b) Demonstrated financial need, (c) Academic achievement. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in oregon

8. Oregon Association of Nurseries Scholarships

These scholarships in Oregon, ranging from $500 to $1,500, are awarded to students interested in pursuing a career related to ornamental horticulture.

Amount: $500 to $1,500

Provider: Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN)

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors & College Students

Requirements: (a) Majoring in a horticulture-related field, (b) Residency in Oregon. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

9. Association for Women Geoscientists Pacific Northwest Chapter Scholarship

Undergraduate women in Washington State and Oregon can apply for these awesome Oregon scholarships. Applicants must be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in a geoscience-related field, such as geology, environmental/engineering geology, geophysics, geochemistry, hydrogeology, and hydrology.

Amount: $1,200

Provider: Association for Women Geoscientists Pacific Northwest Chapter

Who Can Apply: College Sophomores, College Juniors, College Seniors

Requirements: (a) Majoring in a geoscience-related field, (b) Residency in Oregon or Washington state, (c) Minimum 3.2 GPA.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in oregon

10. Portland Latino Gay Pride Scholarship

These scholarships in Oregon are aimed at supporting the Latino LGBTQ community. Applicants must be of Latino descent and either a member of the LGBTQ community or a child of a member of the LGBTQ community. These awards are available for Oregon residents and residents of Clark County, Washington.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: The Equity Foundation & Portland Latino Gay Pride (PLGP)

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors & College Students

Requirements: (a) A member or child of a member of the LGBTQ community, (b) Latino, (c) Residency in Oregon or Clark County, Washington. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

scholarships in oregon

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

16 Study Tips to Lead You to College Success

College is an exciting and life-changing experience. It may be the first time you’ll be living on your own and it’s a fantastic opportunity to make friends and meet new people. However, adjusting to college life can be overwhelming – and getting down a solid study routine is no exception!

College courses are completely different from high school courses and your old study habits might not be as effective. Taking the time to figure out what works can save you tons of headaches in the long run!

Don’t just study, study effectively

Learning to study efficiently can save you time and help you get the most out of your classes. Not only will you better understand the subject in general, which will help you in future classes and jobs, but your test scores will likely reflect all the effort you’ve put in!

How To Find the Most Effective Study Habits

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula or prescription for how to study effectively…everybody is different! The best approach is to try out different methods that you like and see what works and what doesn’t. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t get discouraged. There are tons of college study tips out there…and if you don’t like any of them you can always invent your own!

16 Expert Study Tips for College:

study tips for college

First, Focus on Preparation.

1. Organization is key!

Your planner can be used for more than just jotting down your homework…use it to map out your upcoming exams and create a study plan around them! Additionally, make sure that the area where you plan to study is organized and clean so you don’t get distracted by the mess.

2. Plan Ahead

Creating a study plan at the beginning of the semester or before an exam can make the task of studying much more manageable. Ideally, you should study a little bit every dayeven just 20 minutes can make a huge differenceso you don’t end up cramming and stressing out right before the big day.

3. Take Good Notes

Studying starts in the classroom. If you don’t pay attention and take careful notes, you’ll likely have more trouble trying to remember the information later. Learning effective note-taking strategies can have a direct impact on your study habits and is one of the most important study tips for college. 

4. Find a Routine

Getting yourself into a routine is one of the best ways to make sure that studying becomes a part of your everyday habit. Determine what time of day works best for you and make a real effort to dedicate that time to reviewing notes.

study tips for college

Teamwork is Essential

5. Study with Friends

Studying doesn’t have to be boring…getting friends involved can make everything more fun and effective! Plus, studying with friends is one of the best study tips for college since it allows you to be social at the same time.

6. Ask for Help!

If you really don’t understand a concept, asking questions can be a huge help! Don’t be afraid to stop by office hours (that’s why they exist!) or reach out to classmates and professors via email. There’s never any shame in not understanding a concept.

7. Teach Someone!

Teaching a friend, family member, or even your pet the material is a great way to see how well you know it! When you explain it to someone else, you’ll have a better grasp of which information you already have down and which information you should spend more time on.

study tips for college

Create an Ambiance

8. Mix Up Your Study Spots

Studying in the same spot can get tedious, so why not mix it up and get a new perspective on things? College campuses have tons of study spots for studentsfrom the library to the campus lawn to local cafes. Take advantage and give yourself a new view every day!

9. Get Rid of Distractions

Studying without distractions is crucial when deciding which college study tips to adopt. Try to find a quiet space or put headphones in to block out your surroundings. It’s also helpful to put your phone on silent. You can always respond to your messages afterward!

study tips for college

Approach

10. Don’t Cram

While it may seem like a good idea to learn an entire semester’s worth of information in one night, it’s not a very effective study habit and it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Instead, study a little bit of information every day. You’ll likely remember more and you’ll be much calmer when it comes to exam time. 

11. Memorize vs. Understand

One of the study tips for college that can make a massive difference in how you approach new information is knowing the difference between memorizing and understanding. Memorizing information isn’t actually learning the informationit’s just helping you learn how to repeat it. When you fully understand a concept, you’re able to use it in various contexts and understand how it relates to other concepts. In college, unlike many high schools, your exams will likely be testing whether you actually understand the information and not whether you’ve memorized it.

12. Reorganize your notes

One way to study is to rewrite and organize your noteswhether in your notebook again or in flashcard form. Going through each line of your notes ensures that you’re hitting all the information you reviewed in class and might even remind you of a few things you would have missed otherwise.

13. Study Smarter, Not Harder

Occasionally, college professors will tell you the information that will (or won’t) be on an examlisten to them! They’re telling you for a reason and you can save tons of time studying if you focus your efforts on what you know you’ll be tested on.

study tips for college

Keep Your Cool

14. Use the Reward System

Studying can be draining, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself for a little motivation. Buy a coffee from your favorite coffee shop or get some yummy study snacks. You can also reward yourself with breaks doing things you like, like taking a walk, reading, or watching TV.

15. Take Breaks

Continuing from the last point, taking breaks is super important. It might seem like you need to use all the time you possibly can to study, but your brain will start to slow down after a while. Taking breaks can help you get the most out of your study time with the least amount of stress.

16. Don’t Stress

Stressing out while your studying is counterintuitive. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break, walk away, and come back to it a little later with a fresh perspective. It will make all the difference!

study tips for college

What are your best study tips for college? Let us know below!

13 Exceptional Scholarships to Apply for in Arkansas

Arkansas is nicknamed as the land of opportunityand it’s higher education is no exception! With top schools like the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University, thousands of students choose this state as the destination for their college education…but it doesn’t come cheap!

Across the entire state, in-state students can expect to pay an average of $4,703 in tuition per year while out-of-state students pay an average of $11,308. Keep in mind that these numbers might be different depending on whether your school is public or private. Luckily, scholarships can help!

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

Scholarships are the best way to pay for your college education since they never need to be paid back! Plus, there are all different types for all sorts of people in all kinds of situations. But where can you find them?

The best place to start your search is at Going Merry. We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and allow you to apply directly through our site—saving you tons of time and effort! After that, head to your high school guidance counselor or college financial aid office to learn about more scholarships that you qualify for!

In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about applying for scholarships, check out our step-by-step guide and our list of expert tips.

scholarships in arkansas

12 Scholarships in Arkansas:

1. Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship

These generous scholarships in Arkansas, funded primarily by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, are for any Arkansas resident pursuing higher education. Academic status is not a factor in the decision process, so anyone from high school students to adults returning to school is eligible to apply.

Amount: $2,000 to $5,000

Provider: Arkansas Department of Higher Education

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Students, Non-Traditional Students

Requirements: (a) Residency in Arkansas, (b) Plans to enroll or currently enrolled in an accredited college/university/technical school.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

2. Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship

Based on academic performance, these prestigious Arkansas scholarships recognize students with a demonstrated talent for academics. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 and an ACT score of 32 or SAT score of 1410 to apply. Students who are National Merit Finalists or National Achievement Scholars may be eligible to apply without meeting the minimum GPA requirement.

Amount: Up to $10,000

Provider: Arkansas Department of Higher Education

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Arkansas, (b) Minimum 3.5 GPA, (c) Minimum ACT score of 32 or SAT score of 1410. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

3. Cornerstone Scholarship Charitable Trust

Black and African-American students in Arkansas are eligible to apply for these fantastic scholarships! Applicants must be between 17 and 25 years old, have a high school degree at the time of the application, and come from an economically disadvantaged background.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Cornerstone Scholarship Charitable Trust

Who Can Apply: Graduated High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Black/African-American, (b) Roots in the state of Arkansas, (c) U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, or Permanent Resident, (d) 17-25 years old. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in arkansas

4. National Rice Month Scholarship Program

Designed to promote and create awareness of U.S.-grown rice, these awards are granted to students in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. To apply, students must create a video about the importance of U.S. rice and National Rice Month.

Amount: $1,500 to $4,000

Provider: Corteva Agrisciences

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in a rice-growing state, (b) Original video. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

5. Arkansas Farm Bureau Scholarship

Both children and grandchildren of Arkansas Farm Bureau members can apply for these scholarships in Arkansas. Recipients should be planning to study agriculture at an accredited university within the state. The winner is chosen based on career plans, financial need, academic achievement, character, and leadership.

Amount: $3,000

Provider: Arkansas Farm Bureau

Who Can Apply: College Juniors, College Seniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum GPA of 2.5, (b) At least 2 full semesters away from degree completion, (c) Residency in Arkansas. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

6. Gary D. Holmes Smile Scholarship Endowment

Aimed at promoting athletic involvement, any graduating senior from Mississippi County who has participated in athletics during high school can apply for these endowed scholarships.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Arkansas Community Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Mississippi County, (b) Participation in athletics. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in arkansas

7. Ouachita County Community Engineering Scholarship Endowment

Ouachita County seniors who plan on majoring in Engineering are eligible to apply for these $500 scholarships in Arkansas. Recipients can pursue any field of engineering.

Amount: $500

Provider: Arkansas Community Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Ouachita County, (b) Plans to major in engineering. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

8. Dr. Austin C. Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund

Graduating seniors from any high school in Northwest Arkansas who plan on majoring in a healthcare-related field are eligible to apply for these generous awards.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Arkansas Community Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Northwest Arkansas, (b) Plans to major in a healthcare-related field. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

9. Jim and Jean Stanford Christian Health Center Scholarship Endowment

Residents of Cleburne County who plan to or are currently majoring in health- or medical-related programs can apply for these scholarships in Arkansas. Applicants can be high school seniors or current college students.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Arkansas Community Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Cleburne County, (b) Plans to major in a health- or medical-related field. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in arkansas

10. Elizabeth G. Redman Republican Party of Kansas Scholarship Endowment

One of the many awards for members of the Republican Party of Kansas, these Arkansas scholarships are granted to members or students who are active in the party.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Arkansas Community Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Member or activity in the Republican Party of Arkansas, (b) Residency in Arkansas. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

11. Arkansas Service Memorial Scholarship Endowment

These renewable Arkansas scholarships are awarded to the children of those who have lost their lives while serving the nation, state, or community, such as in the National Guard or any branch of the armed forces.

Amount: $2,500

Provider: Arkansas Community Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Child of Arkansas Resident who lost their life in the line of duty. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

12. AT&T War Memorial Scholarship Fund

Residents of Arkansas who have served in any branch of the Armed Forces, the National Guard, or the Reserves and have veteran status are eligible to apply for these $2,500 scholarships. Recipients should plan on attending a two- or four-year college or university within the state.

Amount: $2,500

Provider: Arkansas Community Foundation

Who Can Apply: Veterans

Requirements: (a) Residency in Arkansas, (b) Veteran status, (c) Planning to attend an accredited Arkansas college or university. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

13. Ted & Clara Gentry Scholarship

The AWW & WEA award six $2,000 scholarships per year to dependents of employees of public and private waterworks and sewage facilities within the state of Arkansas. Students must meet the dependency requirements set by the IRS to qualify.

Amount: $2,000

Provider: AWW & WEA

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Arkansas, (b) Dependent of waterworks/sewage employee.  For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in arkansas

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

14 Scholarships to Fund Your Study Abroad Experience

While many college students often overlook it, studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity that can have a significant impact on both your personal and professional life. Not only that, but it’s likely the only time in your life that you’ll be able to travel freely without “adult” responsibilities like a family and a mortgage. Immersing yourself in a new and different culture can broaden your perspective of the world…plus it looks great on your resume!

Unfortunately, studying abroad usually comes with a hefty price tag. Luckily, scholarships can help!

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

Scholarships are the best way to pay for your study abroad experience because they never need to be paid back! That’s right…scholarships are just like getting free money! Plus, there are all different types depending on your background and the programs you’re applying for.

Going Merry is a great place to start your search! We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and then allow you to apply directly through our site to save you time and effort. After that, head over to your university’s study abroad office to find out about local and program-specific scholarships you might qualify for. If you’re looking for extra tips on applying for scholarships, check out our step-by-step guide and our list of expert tips.

scholarships for study abroad

Here are 14 scholarships for study abroad students:

General Study Abroad Scholarships

1. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Provider: U.S. Department of State

These scholarships for study abroad award funds to students who demonstrate financial need and wish to study abroad in any country. Recipients must be U.S. citizens and undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant money at either a two- or four-year college. For more information, check out the scholarship website.

2. IES Abroad Merit-Based Scholarship

Amount: $1,200

Provider: IES Abroad

IES Abroad awards $1,200 to students participating in summer internships both abroad and in Chicago. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.3. Some of the organization’s international internship locations including Cape Town, Milan, Vienna, and Berlin. For more information, head over to the scholarship website.

3. IES Abroad Need-Based Scholarship

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: IES Abroad

Students with financial need can apply for these scholarships for study abroad from IES abroad. Scholarships can be used towards semester, year, or j-term programs in a variety of countries, including South Africa, Germany, Japan, and Chile. Pell Grant recipients are given priority. For more information and a full list of eligible programs, check out the scholarship website.

scholarships for study abroad

4. Boren Award Scholarship

Amount: $8,000 for summer program, $10,000 for semester program, $20,000 for 6-12 months

Provider: National Security Education Program

These prestigious scholarships for study abroad are awarded to students who plan to enroll in programs focused on areas, languages, and fields of study that are considered important for U.S. national security. Such areas can include sustainable development, migration, global disease, hunger, and more. Students are encouraged to apply and make a case for why and how their area of study can contribute to national security. Recipients must work in the federal government with national security responsibilities upon graduation. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

Scholarships for Study Abroad in Africa

5. Heather Jo Leibowitz Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Provider: The School for Field Studies (SFS)

In memory of Heather Jo Leibowitz, who was a participant in the SFS Kenya program, this generous scholarship aims to help students who embody her passion for life and helping others. Students participating in the SFS Tanzania program are eligible to apply. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships for study abroad

Scholarships for Study Abroad in Asia

6. Freeman-Asia Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Provider: Freeman-Asia

This study abroad scholarship aims to help students with financial need who plan to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. Recipients are required to share their experience with their home campus or community in order to encourage other students to study abroad. For more information, please visit the company website.

7. The Morgan Stanley Scholarships for Study in Japan

Amount: $7,500

Provider: US-Japan Bridging Foundation

U.S. students interested in international finance and economics are eligible to apply for these generous scholarships! Applicants can be involved in any program in Japan. For more information, please check out the company website.

8. John Sommer Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 (amount may vary)

Provider: SIT Study Abroad

Each semester, SIT awards a generous scholarship to a student participating in one of the organization’s programs in either Asia or Southeast Asia. For more information, head over to the company website.

scholarships for study abroad

Scholarships for Study Abroad in Europe

9. Eastern European Study Abroad Merit-Based Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Provider: EESA

EESA awards these scholarships for students planning to study abroad in any Eastern European country. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.25. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

10. Walter Jensen Study Abroad Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Provider: American Association of Teachers of French (AATF)

Future French teachers can apply for these helpful study abroad scholarships. Students must be enrolled in a recognized French teacher program and plan to study abroad in a  French-speaking country. To find out more, please visit the scholarship website.

11. Edward Mowatt Endowed Scholarship

Amount: Up to $2,000

Provider: IES Abroad

Students who plan to study in London with IES abroad are eligible for these generous scholarships. Applicants should have financial need and a minimum GPA of 3.3. For more info, head over to the scholarship website.

scholarships for study abroad

Scholarships for Study Abroad in Latin America

12. Spanish Studies Abroad Merit-Based Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Provider: Spanish Studies Abroad

Students with a passion for the Spanish language can apply for these scholarships from Spanish Studies Abroad. Applicants should have plans to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country and demonstrate a commitment to the language both in and out of the classroom. For more information, check out the scholarship website.

Scholarships for Study Abroad in Oceania

13. New Zealand Study Abroad Scholarship

Amount: $15,000

Provider: Go Overseas

These full-tuition scholarships include all program fees plus roundtrip airfare for students studying abroad in New Zealand through Go Overseas. Applicants should choose their top three qualifying programs and submit an essay. For more information, check out the scholarship website.

14. Live Like Ally Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: International Studies Abroad

In memory of Allison Willen, who passed away while studying abroad with ISA in New Zealand, this scholarship aims to keep her passion for life, nature, volunteerism, and hiking alive. Applicants should plan to study in New Zealand through International Studies Abroad. For more information, check out the scholarships website.

scholarships for study abroad

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

12 Awesome Scholarships to Apply for in Alabama

Alabama isn’t just known for its Southern lifestyle and downhome cookingit’s also known for its renowned universities! Top schools like the University of Alabama and Troy University attract thousands of students per year…but the cost of attendance doesn’t come cheap.

For example, at the University of Alabama, one of the largest public school in the state, in-state students can expect to pay $10,780 for tuition while out-of-state students pay roughly $28,100. Similarly, in-state student at Troy University pay around $7,584 per year for tuition while out-of-state students pay $15,168. Keep in mind that tuition prices vary from school to school and depending on if the institution is public or private. Luckily, scholarships can help ease the burden.

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

The best part about winning scholarships? The money is yours to keep and you never have to pay it back! Plus, there are thousands of scholarships out there for all types of people in all different situations. But where can you find them?

The best place to start is Going Merry! We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and then allow you to apply directly through our site to save you time and effort. The next step is to speak with your high school guidance office or college financial aid office. They’ll have plenty of info on local scholarships and awards that you qualify for.

For more information on applying to scholarships, check out our step-by-step guide and our expert tips on making your scholarship application stand out from the rest.

scholarships in alabama

12 Scholarships in Alabama

1. CollegeCounts Scholarship

These scholarships in Alabama are awarded to first-time freshmen who demonstrate financial need and a strong desire to make a difference. Applicants must be Alabama residents and must enroll in a college or university within the state. Four-year students receive $4,000 while two-year students receive $2,000.  

Amount: $2,000 to $4,000

Provider: Office of State Treasurer

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. Citizen, (b) Residency in Alabama, (c) Plans to enroll in a Georgia college or university, (d) Financial need, (e) Minimum GPA of 2.75. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

2. The Two-Year College Academic Scholarship

Not based on financial need, these Alabama scholarships are a great opportunity for students with a knack for academics. These generous awards cover full tuition plus books for students attending an accredited two-year school within the state.

Amount: Up to the cost of full tuition + books

Provider: Alabama Commission on Higher Education

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, Two-Year Community College Students

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Academic Achievement, (c) Attending a public, two-year institution in Alabama. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

3. Linly Heflin Scholarship

Designed for Alabama women pursuing a four-year degree, recipients of this award receive $6,000 per year for four years or until graduation (whichever comes first).

Amount: $6,000 per year (Up to $24,000)

Provider: Linly Heflin Unit

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Female, (b) Residency in Alabama, (c) Plans to pursue a four-year degree, (d) Financial need, (e) Minimum GPA of 2.5, (f) Minimum ACT of 23. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in alabama

4. GEAR UP Student Scholarship

High school students who participated in the GEAR UP program are eligible to apply for these full-tuition scholarships in Alabama. Applicants should be intending to study at a technical or community college within the state.

Amount: Full Tuition

Provider: Gear Up Alabama

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Intention to attend an Alabama technical or community college, (c) Participation in Gear Up. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

5. Alabama Concrete Industries Association Foundation Scholarship

The Alabama Concrete Industries Association Foundation (ACIF) awards two $8,000 scholarships per year. The awards are granted to college seniors majoring in architecture, engineering, and building sciences at universities within the state.

Amount: $8,000

Provider: Alabama Concrete Industries Association Foundation (ACIF)

Who Can Apply: College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Majoring in a field mentioned above, (b) Attending an Alabama university. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

6. Alabama Home Builders Foundation Scholarship

Students pursuing an education related to residential building at a junior college, technical school, or university within the state are eligible for these scholarships in Alabama. Some examples of commonly accepted majors are civil engineering, drafting and design, masonry, landscaping, and sustainable construction.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Alabama Home Builders Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors, Technical School Students

Requirements: (a) Majoring in a relevant field, (b) Residency in Alabama. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

7. Cabaniss, Johnston Alabama Law Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship, granted by one of the oldest law firms in Alabama, was established in 1987. It’s geared towards students entering their second year at accredited U.S. law schools, even ones outside of Alabama.

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal

Who Can Apply: Law students entering their second year

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Attending accredited U.S. law school, (c) Academic excellence. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in alabama

8. The Junior and Community College Performing Arts Scholarship

Students with a talent for the performing arts can apply for these generous, full-tuition scholarships in Alabama. Recipients should be full-time students attending accredited junior or community colleges within the state. The winner will be decided through competitive auditions. Students can contact the financial aid office at their intended school for more information.

Amount: Up to the cost of full tuition + books

Provider: Alabama Commission on Higher Education

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, Junior College Students, Two-Year Community College Students

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Major in performing arts-related field, (c) Exceptional talent. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

9. The David Womack Memorial Alabama LGBT Scholarship

These Alabama scholarships are awarded to gay and lesbian undergraduate students throughout the state. An essay with a maximum length of five pages is required for the application and recipients can use the money at any accredited school in the United States.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: IanThom Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) LGBT status, (c) Attending a public, two-year institution in Alabama. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

10. The William Verbon Black Scholarship

Endowed by Mrs. Delia Black in 2007, these scholarships in Alabama aim to help full-time students at the University of Alabama School of Law. Applicants should be Alabama residents.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Alabama Law Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Enrolled in University of Alabama School of Law. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in alabama

11. Suzy Spiceland Michelson Memorial Scholarship

Graduating Calhoun County seniors who are involved in either Track & Field or Cross-Country can apply for these running scholarships. Applicants should also demonstrate involvement in school and community activities.

Amount: $500

Provider: Anniston Runners Club

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Participation in track & field or cross country, (c) Involvement in school and community activities. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

12. Alabama Funeral Directors Association Scholarship

This niche scholarship is geared towards students studying funeral service at an accredited mortuary science school. Applicants must be sponsored by a current member of the AFDA and should have plans to work in Alabama upon graduation.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Alabama Funeral Directors Association (AFDA)

Who Can Apply: Students intending to or currently studying at mortuary science school

Requirements: (a) Acceptance into accredited mortuary science school, (b) Plans to service the public working in Alabama, (c) Minimum GPA of 2.5, (d) Residency in Alabama, (e) AFDA sponsorship. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in alabama

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

26 Tips to Start Your Freshmen Year Off on the Right Foot

Heading to college can be both a life-changing and overwhelming experience. From dealing with roommates and new social situations to interacting in a completely different educational atmosphere, it can be difficult to know how to make the most out of your experience. Luckily, starting off on the right foot can make all the difference and we have the knowledge to get you there!

Check out these 24 helpful tips for college freshmen. We’ve split them up into four different categories to make it easier for you, including social, academic, health & wellness, and financial! (P.S. if you’re also looking to start off on the right foot financially, have a look at our step-by-step guide on applying for scholarships!)

8 Social Tips for College Freshmen

1. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

When you first start college, you’ll likely feel out of your element. After all, this may be the first time you’ve been away from home for so long and you’ll be exposed to lots of new experiences. Our #1 tip for how to be successful in college is to try as many new things as possible!

Don’t be afraid to meet new people, take the initiative with starting conversations, or join new clubs and activities that you normally wouldn’t. College is filled with opportunities and it’s completely up to you to take them.

tips for college freshmen

2. Put Your Roomie Issues Out in the Open

Living with a roommate isn’t always easy, but being honest can make the situation much simpler. The best approach is to determine a set of rules that you both agree on at the beginning of the semester. If something your roommate does bothers you, don’t be afraid to say something (nicely, of course!) and try to find a solution.

3. If Possible, Live on Campus

While it’s not always possible for money reasons, living on campus can completely transform your college experience. You’ll be able to see what it’s like living on your own and it will make it much easier to get involved in campus life, go to parties, and get a feel for the overall college experience.

4. Don’t Lock Yourself in Your Room to Study

Most campuses invest a lot of money to make sure that their students have great study spacesso take advantage! Instead of staying in your room, head out to the library, a café, or even an outdoor space. It will give you a change of scenery while making you feel less lonely at the same time.

5. Involvement is Key

So many students make the mistake of ignoring this college tip for freshmen and not getting involved in campus life, but involvement is so important! Not only does it give you the chance to meet new people, but it gives you an outlet for other interests. Don’t be afraid to get involved in student government, sports, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or any other activities you enjoy!

6. Use College as a Fresh Start If Necessary

You are under absolutely no obligation to be the same person in college that you were in high school. Don’t be afraid to use college as a chance to completely reinvent yourself!

tips for college freshmen

7. Make Your Space Yours

Having a boring dorm room or apartment can really make a difference in your mood, so don’t be afraid to customize your space. Put up pictures of friends and family, hang a tapestry, or put up your favorite movie postersget creative with it!

8. Have fun!

Don’t forget that college is just as much about the experience as it is about getting an education. Enjoy yourself and live every day to the fullest! College will likely be some of the most transformative years of your life.

4 Health & Wellness Tips for College Freshmen

9. Don’t Let Homesickness Control Your Life

Being homesick is completely normal, especially during your first year of college, but it doesn’t have to control your life. Set aside time each week to talk to your family, but don’t overdo it. Make sure that you’re not sacrificing time that could be spent getting involved in campus life. Finding a balance between speaking with family and experiencing college is crucial!

10. Remember That You’re Not Alone

Among all the tips for college freshmen, this one is often overlooked! College can be overwhelming, but there are thousands of students around you who are going through the same experience. If you feel like you’re in over your head, academically or emotionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to on-campus psychologists, roommates, fellow students, family, friends, coworkers, professors, or anyone else. It’s completely normal and talking it through or seeking help can be extremely beneficial!

When we were at university, we were told about the ‘duck syndrome’. It refers to the fact that when you look around everyone seems to be swimming along smoothly, but under the surface, they’re all kicking furiously to say afloat! At the times when you are struggling, know that you are not alone.

11. It’s All About Balance!

Unsurprisingly, your grades are a super important part of your college experience, but don’t forget to balance things out! When it comes to figuring out how to survive college, you’ll soon realize that this tip is key. Make time for going out with friends, extracurricular activities, alone time, and whatever you enjoy. Stressing out over grades will only lead to you feeling burnt out and frustrated. Plus, learning how to balance various aspects of your life is a life-changing skill to develop!

tips for college freshmen

12. Throw It Back to PreSchool…Naps Are Your Friend

Naps aren’t just for five-year-olds–they’re for college students, too! Between your social life, extracurricular activities, work, and class, you’ll be lucky to get a solid 8 hours of sleep a night. Luckily, class schedules often allow for a nap or two throughout the day…and don’t be afraid to take advantage! Napping can boost your productivity and reduce stress.

7 Academic Tips for College Freshmen

13. Learn to Think Outside of the Box!

College is all about expanding your mind and growing as a person…regardless of your major! It’s where you start to not only answer your questions but to question your answers. Improve your ability to think for yourself and don’t be afraid to discuss outside-of-the-box ideas during class. You’ll learn much more during your undergraduate experience that way!

14. Be Open to Changing Your Major

While you might go into college completely passionate about your intended major, be open to realizing that your passion might lie elsewhere. In fact, about one-third of college students change their major during their academic career. College is a time to discover new interests and passions and there’s absolutely no shame in changing your major!

15. Don’t Be Afraid of Office Hours!

Professors hold office hours for a reason…because they want you to go! Too many students overlook this college tip and end up regretting it. Don’t be afraid to show up and ask questions about exams, assignments, projects, or simply topics discussed in class. Office hours also give you the chance to get to know your professors, which can open more opportunities for you and give you someone to turn to for letters of recommendation and references when you’re applying for internships and jobs.

16. What’s the Earning Potential of Your Major? Don’t Worry About It.

Unless you want to enter a highly-specialized field where you need to know very specific knowledge, such as engineering, don’t worry too much about guessing your future earnings. In this day and age, the most important thing is that you have a college degree in general! For example, a degree in philosophy doesn’t mean you have to enter a philosophy-related field; there are opportunities all around!

tips for college freshmen

17. Look Forward to Studying Abroad!

Studying abroad is possible for all majors, from international affairs to geology, if you choose the right program! Completing part of your education abroad can give you a strong advantage when you enter the job market and also give you a new perspective on life and your future career. Not to mention, it’s likely the only time in your life that you’ll be able to travel without adult responsibilities, so take advantage of this college advice and do it!

18. Form a Relationship with Your Academic Advisor

Your academic advisor will be with you throughout your academic careerso it’s important to develop a relationship with him or her! Don’t be afraid to take their classes or ask them for career advice…they were in the same place as you at one point. Plus, your academic advisor can be one of the best people to turn to for a letter of recommendation in the future.

19. Participate in Class…Don’t Be Passive!

One major difference between high school and college is that class participation is much more important. Don’t be afraid to come out of your shell and share your opinions…that’s what college is for! In fact, depending on your major, participation in class might make up over 50% of your grade!

tips for college freshmen

5 Financial Tips for College Freshmen

20. Wait to Buy Textbooks!

While it may seem tempting to show up to the first day of class completely prepared, it’s actually better to wait to buy your textbooks (unless your professor says otherwise)yet another one of the tips for college freshmen that students tend to overlook. Often times, the syllabus is wrong or the professor can recommend a cheaper version of the book that will work just as well. Also, always try and buy used—it can save you loads of money in the long run! Some great places to check for used textbooks are Amazon, Chegg, AbeBooks, BIGWORDS, and local bookstores around your campus (although the actual campus bookstore is usually overpriced).

21. Working Is Beneficial

While it can seem a little overwhelming, getting a part-time job in college is actually a great college tip! Not only will it help you meet new people and expand your social circle, but it will give you a little extra spending money!

22. Get Your Money’s Worth

College tuition isn’t cheapand most students don’t even take advantage of all the free resources available to them! Take some time to figure out the campus resources available to you, like the gym, fitness classes, the career center, writing center, seminars, career fairs, and more!

tips for college freshmen

23. Budgeting is Your Friend

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you probably won’t have much money in college. Learning how to budget is key…and luckily the internet makes it easier! Check out resources like Pinterest to see how you can get the most for your money when it comes to groceries, apartment decorations, going out, and more. Plus, don’t forget that you can get tons of discounts with your student ID!

24. Minimize the Financial Burden by Applying for Scholarships

It’s no secret that college isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s a huge investment. Of all the tips for college freshmen, this is one of the most important and directly impacts your future. Applying for scholarships can help take some of the stress away. Create an account at Going Merry and we’ll match you with the scholarships you qualify for then allow you to directly apply through our sitesaving you time and effort!

What are your best tips for college freshmen? Let us know below!

How to Start a Scholarship Fund in 5 Easy Steps

Starting a scholarship is an exciting and rewarding experience! It’s a unique opportunity to turn a student’s dream into a reality. Scholarships can provide life-changing financial aid to students from a variety of different backgrounds.

Who you choose to help is completely in your hands. For example, your scholarship could target students who share similar backgrounds or interests. A common theme we see is donors supporting students from their high school, but you can also make your scholarship more general and help low-income students or students with disabilities as an example.

Another reason to begin a scholarship fund is to memorialize a loved one and honor their life. As friends and family can also contribute, it can be a powerful healing experience.

In addition, many companies build scholarships to continue the legacy of an important person in their organization. It’s a great way to show your school, company, or organization’s commitment to social responsibility and student development as well.

Now that we’ve figured out the why, let’s break down the steps to go through when figuring out how to start a scholarship fund:

how to start a scholarship fund

Step 1: Decide which students you’d like to support

The first step to figuring out how to start a scholarship fund is to decide who your scholarship is for. There are many different options as you can use a wide range of criteria. The most common ones are:

  • High school or university (e.g. you or a loved one’s alma mater)
  • Home city or state
  • Age or grade level

However, there are many others to keep in mind, including:

  • Gender
  • GPA
  • Major
  • Financial need
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Sports
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion

Additionally, you’ll want to decide the criteria that you’ll use to judge applications. Many scholarships look into factors like financial need, academic achievement, community involvement, work history, the scholarship essay, or achievements in specific fields.

So, for example, let’s say that you decide your scholarship is for high school students intending to major in music education. Will you award your scholarship to future college students in need? Or future college students with outstanding academic achievement?

Alternatively, you can award students who have already demonstrated success in the field of music education through community involvement or work.  

how to start a scholarship fund

Step 2: Figure Out the Logistics

Once you’ve decided who your scholarship is for, it’s time to concentrate on the logistics. Check out these key questions you should ask when figuring out how to start a scholarship fund:

  • How many students will receive the scholarship per year?
  • How much is the award worth?
  • Is your scholarship a one-time award or renewable?
  • How will students apply?
  • When is the deadline?

P.S. When deciding how students will apply for your scholarship, we can help out and handle the logistics for you! We help you:

  • Build a website for your award
  • Add a donation link so family and friends can contribute 
  • Set your eligibility requirements
  • Create the online application
  • Reach out to the eligible students
  • Receive and review the completed applications

If you’re ready to start one right away, click here to set up a call with our team or you can build it yourself here.

Step 3: Determine How Your Scholarship Will Be Funded

So you have all of the information and criteria ready to go, but where will you get the money? Funding the scholarship is often the most difficult part to decide when figuring out how to start a scholarship fund. Luckily, there are tons of options available!

One of the most common ways to raise money for your scholarship is to get people to donate to it. This can be done through fundraising events or online crowdfunding sites. If you host your scholarship with Going Merry, we make it easy by allowing you to raise donations through our site!

Otherwise, if your company is hosting a scholarship, you can set aside a specific number of funds each year. Or if you’re creating a memorial scholarship, perhaps personal funds or inheritance money can be used for funding.

how to start a scholarship fund

Step 4: Review the Tax Guidelines

Keep in mind that many scholarships are tax deductible, so it’s a great idea to meet with a tax expert beforehand to make sure that you meet all the requirements. For more information, check out these guidelines.

Step 5: Advertise it!

There’s not much sense in having a scholarship fund if nobody knows about it! One of the most crucial parts when figuring out how to start a scholarship fund is advertisement! How will you make sure that students hear about the opportunity?

Social media can be a huge help, especially since high school and college students tend to spend a lot of time on major sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Your website is another great option and, especially if your scholarship is local, getting in contact with colleges and universities in the area can be an effective marketing tactic as well.

When it comes to outreach, Going Merry also has you covered. We have relationships with over 2,500 schools across the country and have helped people manage thousands of scholarships already. Through our network, we can advise you on how many applications to expect and then help you get them!

To give you an idea, here are just a few of the amazing, diverse scholarships that we’ve added to our site:

Jennie Goas Memorial Scholarship: Two female students in Chicago recently won $10K in scholarship money from this generous award created by a local woman in memory of her best friend.

Tara Grinstead Memorial Scholarship: This memorial scholarship was founded by a Georgia TV station to honor the memory of a beauty pageant participant whose murder they helped to solve.

Caleb Tripp Thornton Memorial Scholarship: Created by his sister in memory of Caleb Tripp, this scholarship has raised $5K of its $26K target so far.

Helen Herzberg Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship was created by a couple in California in loving memory of the wife’s mother. The couple designed their wedding so that friends and family could donate directly to the scholarship.

Lincoln J. Powers Memorial Scholarship: A Utah family started this scholarship fund in honor of their son, who was killed in a fatal car accident.

Bill Browning Memorial Scholarship (Dallas & Ann Arbor): These two scholarships were created by a successful entrepreneur, the Founder of Bonobos and Trunk Club, to honor the memory of one of his family’s teachers.

WillowTree Scholarship in Honor of Whitney French: This generous scholarship was created by the employer of a domestic violence victim in Virginia. Students majoring in graphic design are eligible to apply.

Courtney C. Gregoire Memorial Fund: In memory of a suicide victim, this scholarship is aimed at helping young women with mental health issues succeed and pursue higher education.

Phoenix Home Services Felon Reform Scholarship: This scholarship is aimed at helping adults with prior convictions, especially felonies, to reenter the workforce. This scholarship can go towards training in a variety of fields.

Compassionate Leadership Apprentices: This scholarship makes paying for school easier for high school students intending to pursue a vocational education.

National Art & Trade Tuition Opportunity Scholarship: This scholarship supports students who are pursuing a career in sequential art, such as comics, animation, storybooks, or children’s books.

how to start a scholarship fund

Want to Make the Process Easier?  Let Us Handle It

Going Merry handles the logistics for you. We help you:

  • Build a website for your award
  • Add a donation link so family and friends can contribute too
  • Set your eligibility requirements
  • Create the online application
  • Reach out to the eligible students
  • Receive and review the completed applications

If you’re ready to start one right away, click here to set up a call with our team or you can build it yourself here.

If you already offer a scholarship and want to make it easier for students to find, we match your scholarship with the right students and collect application materials in one convenient place. Plus, we provide you with a Going Merry login that can be used to review completed applications and we always offer outstanding customer service along the way to make the process as easy as possible from beginning to end. Not to mention, helping students is at the core of our mission and vision at all times!

how to start a scholarship fund

And Congratulations! You’ve successfully taken a step in the right direction and are about to make a huge difference in the lives of students by helping them avoid student debt and make their dreams a reality.

What other questions do you have on how to start a scholarship fund? What scholarship would you like to create? Let us know below!

14 Incredible Scholarship to Apply for in Georgia

The State of Georgia is known for more than just its peaches – its universities are pretty impressive too! With top schools like the University of Georgia, Emory University, and Mercer University, it’s no wonder that more and more students are choosing Georgia as their college destination.

However, a good education doesn’t come cheap. In-state students can expect to pay around $4,542 per year for tuition while that price tag rises to $15,200 for out-of-state students. Keep in mind that that price could be cheaper or more expensive depending on whether you’re attending a public or private school. Luckily, scholarships can help!

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

The best part about winning scholarships? The money is yours to keep and you never have to pay it back! Plus, there are thousands of scholarships out there for all types of people in all different situations. But where can you find them?

The best place to start is Going Merry! We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and then allow you to apply directly through our site to save you time and effort. The next step is to speak with your high school guidance office or college financial aid office. They’ll have plenty of info on local scholarships and awards that you qualify for. 

For more information on applying to scholarships, check out our step-by-step guide and our expert tips on making your scholarship application stand out from the rest.

Now, check out these 14 Scholarships in Georgia to save you money:

scholarships in georgia

1. Greenhouse Scholarship

Residents of Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, or North Carolina who demonstrate financial need are eligible to receive these generous awards. Applicants should express a strong interest in community involvement as well as the ability to persevere through and strive in challenging circumstances.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Greenhouse Scholars

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, (b) Minimum GPA of 3.5, (c) Residency in CO, GA, IL, or NC, (d) Annual household income no greater than $70K. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

2. GSFC HOPE Scholarship

These merit-based scholarships in Georgia are awarded to state residents who demonstrate academic success and plan on attending a participating college or university within the state. Implemented by the Georgia Student Finance Commision, the aim of the Helping Outstanding Students Educationally scholarship aims to promote the success of Georgia students in higher education.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Georgia Student Finance Commission

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Georgia, (b) Minimum GPA of 3.0 in both high school and college. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

3. CJH3 Memorial Scholarship

These Georgia scholarships were founded in the Fall of 2011 in loving memory of Charles John Harin III. Applicants should be Georgia students with financial need and ambitious academic goals pursuing a degree in any field of study.

Amount: $1,000 to $1,500

Provider: Charles Harbin III Memorial Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Plans to enter an accredited college or university in the United States, (b) Demonstrated financial need, (c) Minimum GPA of 2.75, (d) Residency in Georgia, (e) Desire to make a meaningful contribution to society. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in georgia

4. Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Program

With the aim of making private colleges more affordable, these scholarships in Georgia provide non-need-based funding to students attending eligible private colleges within the state.  

Amount: $317 per quarter or $475 per semester

Provider: GA Futures

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Georgia, (b) Full-time undergraduate student status, (c) Demonstrated academic success, (d) Compliance with Georgia Drug-Free Education Act of 1990, (e) Compliance with Selective Service registration requirements. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

5. COAG Scholarship

Georgia students planning to attend a college or university within the state are eligible to apply for these scholarships. Applicants should be currently pursuing or planning to pursue a degree related to government, law enforcement, political science, accounting, finance, business, or pre-law.

Amount: $500 to $1,500

Provider: Constitutional Officers’ Association of Georgia, Inc.

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. Citizen, (b) Residency in Georgia, (c) Full-time student status, (d) Majoring in one of the fields mentioned above. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

6. CASE Scholarship Program

The Casualty Actuarial Society awards two generous scholarships per year to students from Southeastern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage students in these states to become future working members of the CAS.

Amount: Up to $1,500

Provider: Casualty Actuarial Society

Who Can Apply: All students who will be continuing as college students in the following year (High school seniors/incoming freshmen are not eligible)

Requirements: (a) Has sat for actuarial exams, (b) Has passed an actuarial exam, (c) Minimum GPA of 3.0, (d) Demonstrated success in actuarial science courses, (e) Has completed an actuarial science internship. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in georgia

7. Walter J. Brown Scholarship

Walter J. Brown believed that the best path to success and personal fulfillment was through a college education. These Georgia scholarships, founded in his honor, are awarded to students living in and around the Savannah River Valley and are renewable for the first four years of undergraduate study.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Watson Brown Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in or near the Savannah River Valley, (b) Plans to attend an accredited, four-year, non-profit college/university, (c) Minimum GPA of 3.0. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

8. GFB Foundation Scholarship for Agriculture

These scholarships in Georgia are designed to help students studying in an agriculture-related field. Applicants should demonstrate strong leadership abilities and plan to enroll in a college or university in  The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College, or any accredited college/university in Georgia with an agriculture program.

Amount: $1,500 to $3,000

Provider: GFB Foundation for Agriculture

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Georgia, (b) Majoring in agriculture or environmental sciences, (c) Minimum GPA of 3.0, (d) Involvement in extracurricular activities. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

9. Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship

Aimed at female Christian students who demonstrate financial need and academic talent, these Georgia scholarships are awarded for young women attending colleges or universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Applicants should have a special interest in health education.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Female student involved in the Christian religion, (b) Demonstrated financial need, (c) Attending a participating institution. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in georgia

10. Ty Cobb Educational Foundation

Students who are both U.S. citizens and residents of Georgia are eligible to apply for these generous awards. Students should demonstrate financial need and have completed at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours. Priority is given to the students with the greatest financial need and the highest academic averages.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Ty Cobb Educational Foundation

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate Students

Requirements: (a) Residency in Georgia, (b) Demonstrated financial need, (c) Completion of at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

11. Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowship

These scholarships in Georgia aim to attract students with a background in STEM-related fields who have an interest in teaching in high-need Georgia schools. This scholarship includes a $10,000 stipend for a Master’s program at one of two participating universities, teacher certification, support and mentoring, and a lifelong membership into the national network of Woodrow Wilson Fellows. Recipients must commit to teaching for three years in a high-need urban or rural secondary school for one full year. 

Amount: $10,000

Provider: The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Who Can Apply: Graduate Students

Requirements: (a) Have majored in or received 30+ college credits in a STEM-related field, (b) U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, (c) Minimum GPA of 3.0, (d) Have earned or expect to earn a Bachelor’s degree by the specified date. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

12. APIASF/United Health Foundation Scholarship

If you have plans to pursue a degree that will lead to a career as a healthcare professional, this scholarship is for you! Eligible professions include general practitioners, internists, family practitioners, OB/GYNs, dentists, public health professionals, mental health professionals, nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists. Students must also reside in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, KS, MN, NC, NM, NV, NY, TN, TX, WA, or WI and show a strong commitment to working in underserved communities.

Amount: $5,000

Provider: Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund/United Health Foundation

Who Can Apply: Upcoming, full-time, second-year college students

Requirements: (a) Majoring in a healthcare-related field, (b) Demonstrated financial need, (c) Completion of at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in georgia

13. Georgia Mining Foundation Scholarship

The Georgia Mining Association is made up of 40 mining and mineral producers as well as 175 mining-related companies. Each year, the organization awards $40,000 in scholarships to deserving students. Three two-year awards for $1,000 ($500 per year) are awarded and the remaining funds are given in the form of $500 scholarships. In order to qualify, applicants must be attending school in a county where the company maintains operations. Applicants must also complete a high school curriculum consisting of 4 years of college preparatory English, 3 years of history/social sciences, and 5 courses from select math and science courses, including Algebra I & II, Geometry, Physical Science, Biology, and Chemistry.

Amount: $500 to $1,000

Provider: Georgia Mining Association

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum SAT score of 960 OR ACT score of 18, (b) Minimum grade average of 85%, (c) Completion of the appropriate high school curriculum, (d) Residency in Georgia. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

14. Hubert Owens Scholarship & B. Phinizy Spalding Scholarship

These separate $1,000 scholarships in Georgia encourage the study of historic preservation and related fields, including archaeology, architecture, history, and planning. Applicants who demonstrate strong leadership skills and academic achievement are given priority.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

Who Can Apply: College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors, College Seniors, Graduate Students

Requirements: (a) Pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant field, (b) Attending a Georgia school, (c) U.S. citizen, (d) Residency in Georgia. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly. Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

10 Helpful Scholarships for Students in Utah

The Beehive State is known for more than just its bees: Utah is also a great destination for pursuing higher education. Tens of thousands of students call top universities like the University of Utah and Utah State University home each yearbut attending school here doesn’t come cheap.

Utah residents can attend the University of Utah for about $8,382* per year and Utah State University for roughly $6,800*. For out-of-state students, those prices rise to $26,298* and $20,450* respectively. Luckily, paying for school doesn’t have to break the bank; scholarships can help.

*tuition only

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

The best part about winning scholarships? You never need to pay them back! That’s rightscholarships essentially provide you with free money for school. Plus, there are scholarships available for all different people in all types of situations.

The best place to start is Going Merry! We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and then allow you to apply directly through our site to save you time and effort. The next step is to speak with your high school guidance office or college financial aid office. They’ll have plenty of info on local scholarships and awards that you qualify for.

If you’d like more information on scholarships and how they can save you money on college tuition, check out our step-by-step guide on applying for scholarships and our list of tips on making your application stand out from the rest.

scholarships in utah

In the meantime, here are 10 awesome scholarships in Utah:

1. Utah Jump$tart Coalition/America First Credit Union Scholarship

The Utah Jump$tart Coalition uses advocacy, research, and education to promote financial literacy among K-12 youth. In order to apply for these scholarships in Utah, applicants must create an informative YouTube video on avoiding college debt.

Amount: $1,250

Provider: Utah Jump$tart Coalition & America First Credit Union

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Utah, (b) Senior in High School. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

2. Utah New Century Scholarship

These Utah scholarships are designed for high school students who either complete an associate’s degree before their high school graduation or complete a specific math and science curriculum. Students can complete the associate’s degree through schools that are part of the Utah System of Higher Education, including Dixie State University, Salt Lake Community College, Snow College, Southern Utah University, Utah State University, Utah Valley University, the University of Utah, and Weber State University. The scholarship itself can be used at a four-year institution within the Utah System of Higher Education as well as at Brigham Young University and Westminster College.

Amount: Varies (Maximum $1,250 per semester)

Provider: Utah System of Higher Education

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum high school GPA of 3.5, (b) Minimum Associate’s degree/math and science curriculum GPA of 3.0, (c) Residency in Utah. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

3. Horatio Alger Utah Scholarship

Students who have overcome obstacles and demonstrated success at facing adversity in their lives are eligible for these scholarships in Utah. Horatio Alger members, many of whom have overcome obstacles themselves, fund these generous awards.

Amount: Up to $10,000

Provider: Horatio Alger Association

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Commitment to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in the United States, (b) Critical financial need, (c) Involvement in co-curricular and community service activities, (d) Minimum 2.0 GPA, (e) U.S. Citizen. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

4. Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents Scholarship

The Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents grants a minimum of 3 scholarships in Utah to high school seniors each year. The best part? Applicants don’t need to be entering into an insurance-related major as long as they meet the basic requirements. 

Amount: $500 to $2,000

Provider: Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum 3.0 GPA, (b) Participation in extracurricular activities in school, work, community, or church. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

5. RMCMI Engineering & Geology Scholarship

The RMCMI, founded in 1912, is a non-profit organization that aims to promote Western coal through education by sponsoring educational programs relating to coal mining technologies and production techniques, mining management and safety, and laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to coal mining and other energy-related issues.

Amount: $5,500 (over 2 years)

Provider: RMCMI: Promote Western Coal Through Education

Who Can Apply: Upcoming College Juniors & College Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in one of eight RMCMI member states (Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, or Wyoming), (b) U.S. Citizen, (c) Intention to develop a career in the coal industry. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

6. RMCMI Technical Scholarship

Another scholarship sponsored by RMCMI, these scholarships in Utah are awarded specifically to students pursuing an education in a technology-related field that can benefit the coal mining industry.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: RMCMI: Promote Western Coal Through Education

Who Can Apply: College Freshmen

Requirements: (a) Enrollment in a technical program at a two-year school, (b) U.S. Citizen, (c) Intention to use skills in the coal industry, (d) Residency in one of eight RMCMI member states (Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, or Wyoming). For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

7. APWA Utah Chapter Scholarship

Full-time public works employees who plan on pursuing education relating to public works or engineering can apply for these generous awards. The organization also awards two scholarships to full-time graduate students studying Water Resources Engineering.

Amount: $2,500

Provider: APWA Utah Chapter

Who Can Apply: Graduate Students or Full-Time Public Works Employees

Requirements: (a) Job in a relevant career field or studying for a graduate degree in a relevant career field, (b) Studying a field related to engineering, public works, or Water Resources Engineering, (c) Residency in Utah. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

8. Bervin Hall Scholarship

These Utah scholarships are for students pursuing an undergraduate safety degree program. First priority goes to students who are Colorado Chapter ASSP member, Colorado residents, or ASSP Region II members in the states of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Students currently living within ASSP Region II are considered next.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: American Society of Safety Professionals

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate Students

Requirements: (a) Completion of at least 60 undergraduate semester hours if pursuing a Bachelor’s degree or 24 undergraduate semester hours if pursuing an Associate’s degree, (b) Full-time or part-time status, (c) Pursuing a safety degree program, (d) Minimum 3.0 GPA. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

9. Stephen T. Kugle Scholarship

ASME student members attending a public college or university in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, or Wyoming are eligible for these generous scholarships in Utah. Strong participation in the organization is a major factor in the decision-making process.

Amount: $3,000

Provider: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

Who Can Apply: College Juniors, College Seniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. Citizen by birth, (b) Attending an accredited school in one of the states mentioned above, (c) ASME membership, (d) Minimum 3.0 GPA. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

10. ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Scholarship

Amateur radio operators who are legal residents of Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado are eligible for these scholarships, which can be used at any fully-accredited college or university in the United States.

Amount: $500 + Membership

Provider: ARRL Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. Citizen, (b) Residency in Rocky Mountain Division state, (c) Letter of recommendation from sitting officer of an ARRL-affiliated club. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

5 Awesome Scholarship Essays That Worked

When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are the best form of financial aid since they offer students free money that never needs to be repaid. But let’s face it: completing scholarship applications, especially the essays, can feel overwhelming. Not to mention, the essay is arguably the most important part of the application and should take up the majority of your time.

Not only is it your chance to let your personality and life experiences shine through, but it’s the one part of the application that gives you the opportunity to stand out from other applicants. For more information on writing a killer scholarship essay, check out our list of helpful tips.

The best way to get an idea of what scholarship committees are looking for is to look over the scholarship essay examples of past winners. Take some time to analyze the writing style, think about the strong points, and consider how you can improve. It might seem like a tedious task, but luckily we’ve already done some of the work for you.

scholarship essay examples

Here are 5 winning scholarship essay examples that have actually worked:

1. Financial Literacy for Hispanic Women by Rosaisha Ozoria

“Twice a week I head down to volunteer at the Los Sures Social Services office, situated next to the local senior citizen home, to help at the food pantry. We distribute food to people in my neighborhood. Many are familiar faces. Many are middle-aged Hispanic women with children dangling from their hips like grass skirts. These women are there as a result of their culture and lack of financial knowledge. In our Spanish culture, patriarchy prevents women from preparing for themselves as much as they should. This leads to Hispanic women having little or no money management skills. Financial illiteracy is a major issue in my neighborhood, and that is why I hope to give Hispanic women a chance for a better future through financial education.

While I was volunteering I met a woman who happened to live in the same building as my aunt. Unemployed with two young children, and a husband earning minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, she struggled to get by every day. I thought to myself – many in my community are just like her. Then I realized I could do something to help. How? I can start a financial literacy program, which teaches Hispanic women to earn and manage money. Once a woman becomes financially literate, she is capable of making good personal and profession decisions, empowering her to improve her family’s financial well-being. Moreover, such a program will help Hispanic women become competitive employees, even in a slow recovering economy such as the one we are experiencing now.

Participating in the 2013 Women’s World Banking Global Meeting in Amman, Jordan gives me access to invaluable resources that will help me achieve this goal. I hope to find mentors from a roomful of inspiring, experiences leaders who will offer me their guidance. Also, meeting accomplished women from other countries means access to new ideas and unique perspectives. And if I am lucky, I may even come across individuals who can provide financial support to jumpstart my financial literacy program for Hispanic women. Lastly, I will tell my idea to everyone I meet in Jordan, a baby step to help Hispanic women rise from poverty.

The world continues to change rapidly, especially with globalization. It is about time that Hispanic women strive for gender equality. Thus, it is essential that Hispanic women increase their roles and knowledge in finance. The women in my neighborhood shall no longer be left out. I will task myself to help these women become better, stronger and most importantly, take control of their lives. I want to be involved so that they can save themselves from any unforeseen financial crisis. This is a tremendous goal, but for me, it is an opportunity to make a difference – in my neighborhood and for my Spanish community.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

First of all, the introduction paragraph of this essay thoroughly summarizes what the reader can expect to find in the body of the essay. This helps create structure and avoid confusion. In fact, the entire structure of the essay is very clear and logical. Having a clear structure ensures that the reader can follow your ideas without a problem.

Besides the structure, Rosaisha is clearly passionate about the topic at hand and isn’t afraid to express it through her writing. Additionally, she connects it to her own life by using personal examples. Using personal examples and showing your emotions can give you an edge over other applicants.

Lastly, even though Rosaisha discusses a sad and difficult topic, she keeps the tone light and inspirational. Rather than dwelling on how terrible this situation is, she expresses hope and her desire to make a change in the world. It’s important to keep in mind that an essay can be happy even if it’s about a sad or difficult topic.

2. Who is a “Good” Doctor? by Joseph Lee

“Had you asked me the same question one year ago, my answer would have been vastly different to the one I will give today. In the summer of 2012, with my first year of medical school completed, I embarked upon my last official summer vacation with two things in mind: a basketball tournament in Dallas and one in Atlanta. My closest friends and I had been playing in tournaments for the past 10 summers, and it was a sacred bond forged together in the name of competition. However, two weeks before our first tournament, I became instantly and overwhelmingly short of breath. Having been born to Korean immigrant parents, I was raised to utilize the hospital in emergency cases only, and I knew this was such a case. A few scans later, doctors discovered numerous pulmonary emboli (PE), caused by a subclavian deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and just like that, I was lying in a bed of a major hospital for a life threatening condition.

Fast forward a few months, and I am lying in a similar bed to treat the underlying cause of the sublclavian DVT: a first rib removal. There is little that can adequately prepare someone physically, emotionally or spiritually to undergo surgery; and my thoughts continued to race in the days following. In addition to the expected physical pain, isolation, fear and frustration were a few of the emotions I experienced in the four day ordeal. The procedure went according to plan thanks to a skilled surgeon and his team, but the attributes that made the doctor “good” went far beyond his ability to operate.

“Wow. I’m glad you are feeling better” and “I can’t believe you went through that” are common reactions people have when they see the scars on my upper chest. Quite frankly, the past nine months have been difficult, literally full of blood, sweat and tears. But through it all, I have been able to maintain my positivity and gratitude knowing that I have gained the invaluable experience of being a patient and discovering the vulnerability and trust that patients give their doctors. Patients indulge information to doctors that they may have never told anyone in their life and in doing so, place a great deal of trust and responsibility in the hands of a doctor. Many patients will not understand the mechanism of disease behind their condition and anticipate that the doctor will explain to them and their family why it is that they are feeling the way they are and ultimately heal them. And that is precisely what my surgeon understood: the privilege of being able to care for patients and the intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship. And as I awoke to the care of my worried parents, the first thing they wanted to discuss was the details of the procedure that was methodically and patiently explained to them by my “good” doctor.

In study after study, patients have reported dissatisfaction with their medical care, not because of lack of knowledge or health outcome, but because their doctors did not show enough warmth in the encounter or listen to the patient’s questions and concerns. There are few times where a patient and their loved ones are more vulnerable and in need of compassion than when dealing with a hospitalization. And for some doctors, a patient may be another item on a checklist, but that patient is someone’s mother or father, son or daughter, sister or brother. My “good” doctor understood this and would often say “If you were my son…” when discussing treatment options, reflecting on the type of care he would want for his family and treating me similarly. Such ideals are rooted in love and compassion for patients, not as clients in the health care system, but as fellow human beings striving to make something of themselves and the world around them (I).

Unfortunately, the ordeal of living with a chronic illness or undergoing a major operation extends beyond the confines of the hospital. Whether it is creditors harassing patients for medical bills, prescriptions that need to be refilled, or lifestyle modifications that need to be made, the health care experience doesn’t end when a patient walks out of the hospital doors. It often takes merely a minute, as in the case of the “good” doctor who told me that as a student I could apply to get the procedure financially covered by the hospital. Such foresight in anticipating financial concerns and directing me on the next steps to be taken provided relief in the surmounting stress.

Lastly, the “good” doctor understands that as our patients are human, so are we. This means we will make mistakes, some of which can result in life-threatening consequences. With that said, the “good” doctor practices humility and honesty, apologizing and sharing as much information with patients as possible. Although no one strives to make mistakes, they will happen, and how one reacts to them is a distinguishing feature of the “good” doctor (II).

Of all the qualities I tried to explain in what makes a “good” doctor, there was no emphasis on skill and knowledge. And while being able to fulfill the duties of making the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans is expected, the intangibles of love, compassion, foresight and honesty is what makes a doctor, “good”. I learned such lessons in the purest manner possible, by being a patient myself, and will use them to guide me in all future patient encounters, as I strive to be a “good” doctor.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

This essay immediately pulls the reader in and makes him/her want to know more. We want to know how Joseph’s definition of a good doctor has changed and also why it has changed. Hooking your reader from the beginning is the best way to make sure they keep reading and a solid structure, like many of these scholarship essay examples have, is the best way to ensure there’s no confusion along the way.

One of the strongest points of this essay is that Joseph takes a negative personal experience and shows what he learned from it and how it caused him to grow as a person. This provides the reader with a different perspective and makes the essay much more interesting overall.

3. Life Happens Scholarship by Emily Trader

“When I was seventeen years old, my father lost his battle with kidney failure and cardiovascular disease. As long as I shall live, I do not believe that I will ever forget the first moment I saw my father’s once vibrant face in that cold and unforgiving casket. I won’t forget his lifeless and defeated hands, or how his pale lips would never utter another joke or speak to his grandchildren. Even though the day of his funeral was undoubtedly the worst day of my life, I wish I could relive it just to be with him one more time. Since that moment, I have felt as if all of my grief and longing resides underneath my skin with nothing to relieve the pressure. On September 8th, 2016, I lost my voice of reason, my confidant, my cheerleader, and my best friend.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had lost so much more. Upon my father’s passing, he left us with funeral and medical expenses that his insurance would not cover. Because he did not have any form of life insurance, the financial burden of his death was now the responsibility of my mother and me. Even though my mother works night shifts as a neonatal nurse and her commute is nearly two hours, she was forced to pick up extra shifts to support my family. Though I already had a job and I worked about ten hours a week, I now work anywhere from twenty-five to thirty-five hours a week, and I am also a full-time high honor student. Even though the death of my father forced me to realize the importance of cherishing time with my family, I do not see them very often because of our busy schedules. I also sacrificed my social life and the joy that every senior in high school should experience. Instead of football games and homecoming, I had to deal with mourning and the possibility that I would not attend college because of my family’s financial troubles.

If my father had a life insurance policy, we would not have to work ourselves to the bone and sacrifice our physical and emotional well-being to keep up with expenses. I would not have to worry so intensely about the future of my education on top of the crippling grief that I have felt over the last five months. If this devastating experience has taught me anything, it is this: financial planning for these situations is absolutely invaluable. I will not soon forget the stress and despair that I have experienced, and I now realize that to have a life insurance policy is to throw your surviving family members a crucial lifeline. Though no one can ever prepare you for the trauma of losing a parent, life insurance allows you to grieve without the constant stress of financial burden, and for that reason, it is an absolutely essential precaution.

I love and miss you so much, Dad. Thank God I will see you again.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

Throughout her entire essay, Emily shows strong and very real emotions connected to the death of her father. Although the tone of this essay is sad, it helps the reader connect and empathize with the experience that Emily went through and gives a real glimpse into her thoughts and emotions.

On a structural level, the first paragraph immediately pulls the reader in because of the amount of interesting detail involved and the body of the essay follows a logical flow and structure. One major point you can take away from these scholarship essay examples is that maintaining a clear structure is half the battle.

4. Bio-Rad Scholarship Essay by Lauren Croda

“I could not believe my eyes. Before me were fifteen massive jugs of Martinelli’s cider, needing to be consumed by my family of nine in just three days. My mother, the science volunteer for my second grade class, needed the bottles for a science project. As my mother came in biweekly to do hands-on projects with the students, I became immersed in science. My class, and myself, marveled at the sights before us. Our lessons were filled with sucking eggs into bottles, dissecting owls’ poop, and even completing a circuit using wires attached to a student’s capped front teeth. The possibilities for amazement were endless.

Experiencing science at an early age, I became enthralled with each new experiment, captivated by the chemistry of it all. I watched longingly as my older siblings created their science fair projects. Too young to enter the school science fairs, I took to my family. Force-feeding different animal food to my siblings and parents, I graphed their favorite types. While I was only six, my family has never forgiven me; my “experiments” remain the family joke. Nevertheless, I have progressed from my dog food days, leaving taste tests for DNA gel electrophoresis experiments.

While many find themselves turned away from the complexity of science, I have found myself mesmerized by it. This difference in opinion has spurred from my upbringings in science, feeling connected to science at an early age. By entering into hands on experiences at an impressionable age, I realized that science was not only for experienced technicians in lab coats, but for anyone.

In order to encourage interest in science, students need to experience early interactions. By gradually assimilating into the world of science, children can find themselves capable of mastering science. Additionally, elementary years constitute the most impressionable years of a person’s life. By experiencing science at such a young age, one can find themselves, like me, passionate about science for a lifetime.

Many science teachers find themselves unable, or unwilling, to teach using hands- on experiments and demonstrations. When learning the chemical formula of NaHCO3 (aq) + HC2H3O2 (aq), one feels themselves distant from these complex, boring symbols. However, when taken off paper and into the classroom, this distant formula reveals the ordinary household products able to create an exhilarating volcanic eruption. Hands-on learning experiences are vital to gaining interest in science, showing students that what they learn on paper operates not only in the books, but in everyday life.

By focusing funds on the creation of science labs in elementary schools, students can relate to science not as a foreign concept, but as a fun and intuitive way to learn about the world around them. Without interest and participation in science, the world could not continue. From roller coasters to doctors, science affects every aspect of life.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

The essay opens with a strong opening line simply stating “I could not believe my eyes”, immediately pulling the reader in. As the paragraph continues, the lighthearted and engaging tone keeps the reader interesting and also allows the reader to see Lauren’s personality.

Plus, the easy-to-follow structure means there’s no room for confusion. Furthermore, the real-life examples used throughout the essay make her passion for science even more obvious and engaging. If you’re passionate about the topic at hand, don’t be afraid to let it shine through! It just might be the difference between an essay that worked and one that didn’t.

5. Why College Is Important to Me by Nicole Kuznetsov

“As a child, my life had structure. Coloring books had lines, letters took on very specific shapes, and a system of rules governed everything from board games to the classroom. I found comfort in the fact that my future had an easy-to-follow template: elementary, middle, and high school, college, job, family retirement, “happily ever after” ending. When I graduated from elementary school I was told I completed 25% of my education. During my middle school graduation, I was told I was half way there and I know I’ll be told I’m 75% done when I throw my cap in the air this June. College was always factored into the percentage and the overall formula for life. And I never questioned its importance. I always figured it is important because it is necessary.

Going to college makes sense. From helping my parents land stable jobs after coming to America to giving my brother the chance to gain work experience at some of the top financial firms, college educations have shown their worth in my family. Yet I didn’t think about what actually goes on inside the magical universities until I entered high school. Applying to the Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering was the first time I had actively made a decision in my education. With the encouragement of my parents and favorite science teacher who recognized that I would excel in the challenging environment of like-minded students, I applied. Four years later, I can confidently say they were right.

My class of twenty-six has shown me the benefits of a collaborative rather than a competitive environment, especially the impact that camaraderie with my peers has on our collective learning experience. Each student has an inspiring level of passion and motivation that made me excited to learn, work on projects, and participate in discussions both in and out of the classroom. I used my education to gain skills and open doors for myself such as an internship at my local hospital. I gained confidence in my abilities to communicate with individuals from strangers my age to practicing professionals. I was thinking longer and harder than I ever had before to solve individual problems and large-scale challenges. In all honesty, I was having fun.

Looking back on my years at the Academy I realize how big of an impact the school made on how I view education. I wasn’t coming to school to mark another day off my calendar and inch closer to finishing the next 25%. I came to school to learn and question and push myself. Now, as a senior, I’m excited. I’m thankful for the sample that my high school gave me of what learning is supposed to be like and thankful that it left me wanting more. I’m entering college in August with a new understanding of its importance. It is important because it is what I want for my future.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

Firstly, this essay is chock full of personal examples, which scholarship committees love. Making your essay more personal can seriously put you ahead of the competition. Similarly, discussing your own goals can make your essay unique – show why you deserve to win over the other candidates.

Also, like many of the other scholarship essay examples here, the introduction paragraph is engaging and interesting. It gives us a new perspective on following a life path that seems determined and how Nicole learned new and unexpected lessons along the way.

Were these scholarship essay examples helpful? What are your best tips on writing a winning scholarship essay? Let us know below!

The Ultimate Guide to Completing the CSS Profile

When it comes to applying for financial aid, most schools and the federal government use the FAFSA to figure out their award packages. But some schools, around 250 to be more exact, use the CSS Profile, which was created by the College Board and looks at student aid from a different perspective. If you’re applying to one of those schools, you’ll need to know how to approach the questions to get as much financial aid as possible.

Are the FAFSA and the CSS Profile Similar?

Before we dive into specifics, let’s go over the similarities and differences between the CSS Profile and the FAFSA. For starters, both forms ask for financial information and use it to determine student aid eligibility. Plus, both are online forms and both are sent to the schools you choose.

But there are 7 major differences between the forms that you should keep in mind:

1. The Issuer. The federal government handles all things FAFSA while the College Board (the same organization responsible for AP classes and the SAT) is in charge of the CSS Profile.

2. The Cost. The FAFSA is always free, but the CSS Profile isn’t. As of 2018, the fee for the application and one school is $25 plus $16 for each additional school. When applying, low-income students are automatically considered for fee waivers.

3. The Financial Section. The financial section of the CSS Profile is more comprehensive than the FAFSA. You’ll be asked more about things like non-custodial parent income (if your parents are divorced), home equity, medical expenses, non-qualified annuities, and the value of small family businesses. Student assets are also weighed heavier. We’ll give you more info on all of this down below.

4. The Methodology. Each form approaches financial aid in a different way. The FAFSA uses Federal Methodology, which considers parental gross income as the main factor for aid eligibility. The CSS Profile uses “Institutional Methodology”, which takes a more rounded look at a student’s financial situation, looking at factors such as home value, non-custodial parent income, and medical expenses. The CSS Profile also considers special circumstances that affect your ability to pay for school.

5. The Flexibility. With the FAFSA, financial aid is determined by a set formula without any room for human interpretation. In other words, the FAFSA is based solely on the Federal Methodology formula. The CSS Profile, on the other hand, allows more room for professional opinions and colleges have their own formulas for interpreting it. More specifically, college financial aid offices have more freedom and say in the amount of financial aid that a student receives.

6. The Use. The FAFSA is the only form used for federal aid, such as Pell grants, federal loans, and work-study, and most schools also use it to decide their institutional financial aid packages. The CSS Profile, on the other hand, is used only for institutional aid at around 250 colleges and universities.

7. The Questions. The FAFSA has the same questions for all students while the CSS Profile customizes the questions that students see depending on their answers in the registration phase.

css profile

Now, let’s dive into the specifics for how to fill out the College Board CSS Profile.

1. Take Out Your Calendar

Before you even start, get an idea of the submission deadlines for the schools you’re applying to. Hint: most deadlines are between January 1st and March 31st.

2. Gather Your Documents

To make completing the CSS Profile easier, get your documents together before you start filling it out. You’ll need the following documents for yourself and, if you’re a dependent, for your parents as well:

-Last year’s tax returns

-W-2s and income records from both this year and last year

-Records of untaxed income for this year and last year

-Bank statements

-Mortgage info

-Records of savings, stocks, bonds, and trusts

-Info on small businesses and other assets

css profile

3. Create a College Board Account/Register

Before you start the form, you’ll need to create an account. If you took the SAT, you likely already have one. Either way, head over here to sign in or sign up. Then, follow these steps:

1. First, you’ll need to provide basic information like your name, email, date of birth, and permanent address. The section also asks for your social security number, but it’s optional. Next, you’ll be asked about your year in school and which school you’re attending.

Keep in mind that even if you’ve taken AP courses for college credit or a few classes at a community college, you can still select that you’ve never attended college before. As a general rule, only students who have been enrolled at least half-time in a college program are considered to have attended college in the past.

2. After providing that information, the registration phase will take you through some questions to determine your dependency status. The “Student Expected Resources” section asks questions about the financial help that you expect to receive from family and your own income. Your answers to these questions will determine whether you see questions for dependent or independent students while filling out the form.

3. The next step of registration is the “College and Program Search” which is where you choose the schools you want the form sent to. Unlike the FAFSA, you should take some time to carefully think about which schools will receive your CSS Profile since there’s a cost involved.

Send it to each school that you’re applying to, but make sure that the school actually requires the form. If you can’t find it in the search then it probably doesn’t. You’ll also be asked housing information for each school, so be sure to check and see if there’s an on-campus housing policy for freshmen.

4. Lastly, you’ll need to provide information about your parents’ marital status, finances, home, employment, etc. Again, all of the questions in this step will determine the questions you’ll see on the form.

After you’ve completed the registration step, you’ll have access to the pre-application worksheet, which will show you the questions you’ll see on the form. If it helps, print the sheet out and feel free to make notes on it.

4. Parent Data (if dependent)

If you qualify as a dependent, you’ll need to fill out the Parent Data section, which is the first part of the official form. Keep in mind that you can save and continue at any time as well as jump between sections. If you need help, there are question buttons throughout the form with more information. If you need extra help, contact the College Board.

First, you’ll need to fill in the data for your first parent. The form will ask for basic information, including employment data and retirement plan information. After that, you’ll provide the exact same information for your second parent if applicable.

When asked about the number of people in your household, always include yourself. When asked about the number of people in your house who will be attending college, don’t include your parents even if they are.

This section also covers any public assistance plans that your family is involved with.

Note: Many people get confused about the question asking if your parent is a “dislocated worker”. The purple question mark provides more in-depth information about what exactly defines someone as a dislocated worker.

5. Parent Income & Benefits (if dependent)

Next, you’ll move on to parent income and benefits, the longest section of the CSS Profile. Having a copy of your recent federal income tax return will speed up the process. Each question gives you the exact line number where you can find the information on your return. If you don’t have it on hand, you can enter estimates rather than the exact dollar amount.

The first part of this section is about the previous year’s income and the second is about the year before that so that financial aid advisors can see if your family is going through major financial changes from year to year. The third section goes on to asks about your expected income for the following year. If there are any big changes coming up or currently happening in your life that will have a significant impact on your ability to pay for school, you can mention them later on in the “Special Circumstances” section.

6. Parent Asset Section (if dependent)

The next section is the Parent Asset section. You’ll find questions about assets in your parents’ names and also in your siblings’ names, such as college savings plans. You’ll see questions about investments, current home value, and how much money your parents owe on their home as well.

Note: home equity has been a huge topic of debate and confusion on the CSS Profile. Some schools don’t consider home equity at all, or don’t weigh it very heavily, while others consider it to be a major factor.

Most schools will cap home equity value at double the family income. So, as an example, if family income is $80,000 and the home equity value is $500,000, the school will only value the home equity at $160,000 when calculating Expected Family Contribution. Then, most schools will count 5% of the home equity value towards what the family is expected to pay for school. In this case, 5% of $160,000 is $8,000. Therefore, $8,000 is added to your EFC.

However, a select number of schools use the full value of your home equity. In this case, 5% of $500,000 is $25,000, which would greatly affect your eligibility for student aid

Additionally, since student assets are generally valued higher than parent assets on the CSS Profile, it might be helpful to switch assets from a student’s name to a parent’s name before filling out the form.

7. Parents’ Expenses (if dependent)

This section is used to determine if parents have any unusual or extra expenses that haven’t been covered in previous sections, including child support, educational loans, out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses, and educational expenses for other children.

Other examples of extra expenses are elementary or high school tuition for the previous or upcoming year and monthly home mortgage or rental payments.

8. Student Data Section

Now that the parent section is done, it’s time to move on to the student section. This part will begin by asking you about the high school, college, or university that you’re currently attending as well as your year in school.

You’ll also be asked some financial questions, including the scholarships and grants that you’ve been awarded and how much your parents have paid for your education so far (if applicable). There are also a number of questions related to dependency status, such as whether you’re in danger of homelessness, have ever been a part of the foster care system, or have ever participated in the Upward Bound program.

The Income & Benefits area contains questions about your tax return from the previous year and the financial help you expect to receive for the following school year. Other questions range from veteran benefits to income to expected parent contribution. With the last point, feel free to use a conservative (but realistic) estimate if you’re not sure of the exact amount.

9. Student Assets

Similar to the Parent Asset section, this section asks about assets that are in the student’s name. Remember that, unlike the FAFSA, student assets are generally valued higher with the CSS Profile.

In this section, you should list the amount of cash in your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and investment funds. Don’t be alarmed if most of your answers are “0” in this section since students usually don’t have many, if any, assets in their name.

10. Family Member Listing – Parent’s Household

This section goes over the additional people living in your household besides you and your parents, such as siblings. You’ll be asked to list educational and other expenses for these people that your parents are responsible for paying.

11. Explanation & Special Circumstances

This is your chance to explain anything you’d like in further detail. You have up to 2,000 characters to describe special financial circumstances or anything that you feel will negatively affect your financial aid eligibility when it shouldn’t. Some examples of special circumstances include dramatic shifts in income and debt recovery.

12. Supplemental Questions

Schools can choose to ask additional questions specific to their institution at the end of the CSS Profile. Depending on which schools you’re applying to, you might not see this section at all. The specific questions asked depend on the school.

13. Pay the Fee or Get it for Free

Students are automatically considered for fee waivers when filling out the CSS Profile. Waivers generally include the $25 application fee plus the cost of sending the form to up to 8 schools. Students normally qualify if they’re an incoming freshman and annual family income is $40,000 or less. Some schools also provide fee waivers for students by giving them a code to enter at the end of the application.

If you don’t qualify for a waiver, you’ll need to pay the $25 fee before submitting the application. The first school is included in the fee, but each additional school is $16.

14. Double Check & Submit

Make sure to double check your form before you submit it since you won’t be able to make any changes online afterward. If you do make a mistake and need to correct it, you’ll have to print out the application summary form, make corrections, and then fax, email, or mail it to your school’s financial aid office.

After you submit it, you can get an idea of your aid package by using this EFC calculator. Keep in mind that your actual award might be different.

15. Submit It Every Year

Just like the FAFSA, the CSS Profile needs to be completed and submitted every year, so keep an eye out for deadlines!

css profile

Have additional questions about completing the CSS Profile? Let us know below!

13 Tips to Bring Your Scholarship Essay to the Next Level

Applying for scholarships would be a piece of cake if it wasn’t for the essay, which often forces us to reflect on ourselves, who we are as people, and what we’ve accomplished so far in life. While it can be the most difficult part of the application, it’s also the most important part.

The scholarship essay is your chance to make a case for yourself and to show the committee why you deserve to win. It gives you the chance to show your personality and what you’re most proud of in life. Your scholarship application should inform, but your scholarship essay should persuade. Scholarship committees read hundreds, or even thousands, of essays, so making your application stand out from the rest is crucial.

But how?

Luckily, you don’t need perfect writing skills to make it happen. With a few scholarship essay tips and tricks in mind, you can easily bring your scholarship application to the next level.

Here are our 13 scholarship essay tips to help you succeed:

scholarship essay tips

The Planning Phase

1. Plan Far in Advance

If you wait until the last minute to write your scholarship essay, the quality will likely suffer. To make sure that you have enough time for the planning phase, create a calendar with the deadlines for all the scholarships you want to apply for. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for brainstorming and proofreading!

2. Know Your Audience

The best way to give the scholarship committee what they’re looking for is to actually know what they’re looking for. Figure out who their ideal candidate is and how you fit into that picture. But be careful not to cater to their expectations too much.

Don’t sacrifice your voice and personality to fit the bill. Rather, take a look at your strengths and then determine how you can spin them to become the ideal candidate.  

3. Follow the Instructions

It might seem like one of the more obvious scholarship essay tips, but many applicants make their first mistake before they even begin – they don’t read the directions. Exceeding (or not meeting) the word count can hurt your chances since it shows that you didn’t prepare your essay as well as other applicants. Also, double check to make sure you’re responding thoroughly to all parts of the prompt and that you’re following the correct scholarship essay format.

4. Choose a Topic That You’re Interested In and Passionate About

Your topic can have a heavy impact on how well your essay turns out. If you choose a topic that bores you, you’ll likely bore your reader too! Try and choose a topic that you’re passionate about or that interests you in some way rather than a topic that you feel you should write about – that way your personality and excitement can shine through in your writing!

scholarship essay tips

The Writing Phase

5. Create a Strong Introduction

Since the introduction is what draws the reader into your essay and convinces them to keep going, it should be one of the strongest parts of your essay. Instead of starting off with a general overview, why not hook your reader in with a surprising first line?

For example, which of these two opening lines pulls you into the story more? Which one makes you want to keep going?

My first time traveling abroad was during a family vacation to Mexico in 2010.

It was 2010; I had just crossed the border into Mexico and my life was about to change.

The second sentence gives the reader something to look for; it makes them curious about not only how your life changed during your trip but also why it changed. It gives the readers unanswered questions and they have to keep reading to find the answers.

Overall, you’ll want to give your reader a quick preview of what they can expect from your essay – think of it like the written version of a movie trailer. Why should they keep reading? 

6. Keep a Good Structure

After the introduction, it’s important to make sure that your reader can follow along with your essay without too much effort. Creating a basic outline is a great way to make sure this happens!

To create an outline, first organize your thoughts. Write down the main points that you definitely want to cover in your essay. Next, organize those thoughts into various sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. Your ideas can either be in sentence form, short phrases, or simple words – whatever you prefer! Lastly, make sure your ideas flow in a logical order and, if necessary, add more detail under each point. Check out this source for more information.

Also, try to avoid going off on a tangent by trying to take the time to determine which information is relevant and which isn’t. If it makes it easier, try creating a basic scholarship essay outline before you start writing. 

scholarship essay tips

7. Show Emotions

Connecting with an audience through writing can be challenging but, when done right, it can create a very powerful connection between the reader and the author. Showing your emotions is a great way to do that and to get the reader personally invested in your essay. Showing emotion can help the reader see you as a person, rather than a faceless author. Even though it’s crucial, it’s one of the scholarship essay tips that people tend to ignore the most.

We all have vulnerabilities, so don’t be afraid to show them. Likewise, write about your passions and the forces that drive you to succeed in life. Scholarship committees don’t expect you to be perfect and want to see how you’ve grown as a person and handled the obstacles that life has thrown your way. In fact, opening up about times where you felt nervous or scared demonstrates maturity and self-awareness – two great qualities for a scholarship applicant to have.

8. Use Real Life Examples

Instead of telling your reader about your experiences, show them. Don’t be afraid to provide real-world examples of your experiences and/or how you’ve changed as a person. Nearly every applicant will have a somewhat similar response to the essay prompt and your personal examples are your chance to transform your essay from generic to unique.

9. Keep the Tone Inspirational & Positive

One of the most important scholarship essay tips is based entirely on your perspective and tone. Nobody wants to read a depressing and self-pitying story. Even if you’re writing about difficult or sad events in your life, try and keep the tone positive and inspirational. Rather than just writing about how you were negatively affected by an event, focus on how you grew from the experience and overcame the obstacle.

10. Stay Away from Dreary & Boring Conclusions

Most people use the conclusion to simply paraphrase their entire essay…but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Do something surprising and innovative. Make your essay interesting and attention-grabbing from the first letter until the last period.

One great way to bring your conclusion to the next level is to leave your readers with an interesting question for them to think about. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips.

scholarship essay tips

 

The Editing Phase

11. Proofread and Ask for Help!

As much as we like to believe that we’re perfect, we all make mistakes…which is why it’s so important to take the time to proofread your essay. One great way to find mistakes is to read your essay out loud. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips.

Once you’ve taken the time to proofread your own essay a few times, have someone else do it for you. Asking a family member or friend for help can provide you with a different perspective on your writing and a second set of eyes might catch a mistake that you didn’t.

12. Take Advantages of Resources

When it comes to writing, you don’t have to do it completely on your own. If you’re in college, most schools have a writing center that offers free feedback and guidance to students. They might even have some insightful scholarship essay tips that you (or we!) didn’t think about. Some high schools, communities, or libraries might also have similar services.

Other than that, the internet can be a great source of information. If you have a specific question, try doing a simple Google search. Also, one of the best writing resources out there for students of all ages is the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). Check it out here.

scholarship essay tips

What else?

13. Reuse Essays When Possible!

While it might seem impossible to write a new essay for every scholarship application, you don’t necessarily have to. A lot of scholarships use very similar essay prompts – meaning you can either use the exact same essay or slightly change it rather than writing a new one altogether. Plus, reusing essays allows you to put more time into perfecting one or two essays. 

What are your best scholarship essay tips? Let us know below!

The Trickiest FAFSA Questions & How to Approach Them

Every year, college students all over the country complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. The FAFSA determines these students’ eligibility for federal loans, grants, and work-study as well as financial aid at their colleges and universities of choice.

The FAFSA becomes available on October 1st each year. After you submit it, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that gives you basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid and also indicates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). 

EFC is the most important number on the form. It represents the estimated amount of money that your family can contribute to the cost of your college education.

In addition to the federal government, the majority of colleges and universities use your EFC to determine the financial aid package that they will offer you. Alternatively, some schools prefer to use the CSS Profile.* Though the outputs and resulting financial aid packages can be different, the CSS Profile is used in the same way as the FAFSA to determine how much financial support a student needs.

For more information on filling out the FAFSA, check out our step-by-step guide.

How to Approach the Trickiest FAFSA Questions

While a lot of the questions on the FAFSA are quick to answer, there are a few tricky ones that can leave students puzzled. There are others too that seem easy but you need to be careful when you answer as small mistakes can have a significant impact on the amount of financial aid you receive.

fafsa questions

Here are the 7 trickiest FAFSA questions and our best advice on how to approach them:

1. Your Name & SSN

While nicknames are cool, the FAFSA doesn’t appreciate them. The name that you enter must be an exact match to the name associated with your social security number or alien registration card. Otherwise, the federal government won’t be able to locate your information in the system. You should keep this in mind for both the student section and the parent section.

2. Your Legal Status

It’s worth mentioning that even though the FAFSA asks you for your legal status, both green card holders and U.S. citizens are treated the same in terms of financial aid. Essentially all U.S. citizens are eligible for financial aid as well as green card holders, conditional permanent residents, any person with a legal status stating “asylum granted”, “refugee”, “indefinite parole”, “humanitarian parole”, or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”. Lastly, citizens of the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated State of Micronesia are considered eligible non-citizens

DACA students are not eligible for federal student aid, but they are eligible to receive financial aid packages from many schools and sometimes from States too. Therefore, it’s still worth filling out the FAFSA if they have a social security number.

3. A Note About Selective Service…

All men in the U.S. are required to register for the Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday (either before or after). After that period, they have up until their 26th birthday to file a late enrollment. Women are exempt.

The FAFSA asks men if they’ve enrolled for the Selective Service and, if they select no, it asks if they would like to register now. Students who don’t enroll by their 26th birthday are ineligible to receive student aid from the government. Some state laws also prevent students from receiving school-based aid if they select “no” to Selective Service on the FAFSA. 

fafsa questions

4. The Size of Your Household

Some students get confused when asked about their household size, which isn’t necessarily the number of people who live in your house. Rather, it’s the number of people that you (if you’re independent) or your family (if you’re dependent) financially support.

Why does it matter so much? This little number makes a huge difference when determining the amount of financial aid you receive. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to figure out by following a few easy steps. First, you’ll need to determine if you’re a dependent student or an independent student.

There are 10 FAFSA questions to determine dependency. If you answer “no” to all of the questions, you’re considered a dependent student and must include your parents’ information on the FAFSA (more on that below). If you answer “yes” to one or more questions, you’re considered to be an independent student and only need to provide your own information. Now, let’s see how you can figure out your household size based on your dependency status.

For dependent students:

  1. Start with your parents and yourself.
  2. Add all children under the age of 24 that live in your parents’ house and receive more than half of their support from them. You can also include children who will be born during the school year.
  3. Then add any other people who live with your parents, receive more than half of their support from your parents, and will continue to receive half of their support from them during the school year (e.g. an elderly relative).

For independent students:

  1. Start with yourself and your spouse (if married).
  2. Add your children who receive more than half of their support from you.
  3. Then add any other people living with you who receive over half of their support from you and will continue to receive more than half of their support from you during the school year (e.g. an elderly relative).

Note: When the FAFSA asks about the number of people in your household attending college, don’t include your parents even if they are enrolled in a program leading to a degree or a certificate.

fafsa questions

5. Who is the Primary Parent?

Determining who to list as the primary parent, or your parents in general, can get tricky depending on your family situation. In general, only legally adoptive or biological parents can be listed as your parents on the FAFSA. Legal guardians don’t count even if they claim you on their tax forms.

If your parents are divorced and you qualify as a dependent, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. You must include at least one parent’s information on the form.
  2. If your parents are divorced or separated but still live together, provide both of their information.
  3. If your parents don’t live together and you need to decide whose information to provide, choose the parent that you’ve lived with the most in the last 12 months. Keep in mind that this might be different from the parent who has legal custody. If your primary parent is remarried, be sure to also include your step-parent’s information, too!
  4. If you spend an equal amount of time with both parents and receive more or less equal support from each, then you can choose which parent to include. To maximize your student aid, list the parent with the lowest income. And remember again to include your step-parent’s information if your parent is remarried.

Side note: When the FAFSA asks about your parents’ education levels, only enter information about your biological or legally adoptive parents. Step-parents don’t count for this one.

5.5 A Note About Recent Divorces…

If your parents were divorced recently, it won’t show up on their most recent tax return–meaning you could run into some issues. To fix this, contact the financial aid offices at the colleges or universities that you’re applying to and see if they can work with you to correct it. Schools are usually willing to provide FAFSA help as long as you can give some additional information (like your parents’ W2 forms). 

fafsa questions

6. Reporting Income for Parents and Students

The most confusing part of the FAFSA is the income section, since there are various questions about taxed and untaxed income. However, it’s also the most important determinant of your EFC. There are a few things you should keep in mind when filling out these FAFSA questions to help you get as much aid as possible for school.

If students have a part-time job, any annual sum of money earned over $6,310 is expected to be used toward paying for college. In fact, students are expected to put 50% of their earnings towards saving and paying for school.

When it comes to reporting income, parents should never list their 401K plan. Parents are never expected to use retirement money for college costs and as parent age rises, EFC decreases. Additionally, most social security runs out when a student hits 18, so you’re not expected to use any of that.

7. And What About Assets?

Deciding which assets do and don’t count can be confusing…and these FAFSA questions can also heavily impact your financial aid award. There are some assets that you’re required to report and others that, surprisingly, don’t really matter.

As a general rule, you should only report assets that are liquid and cash-based. Things like trust funds and 529 savings plans (if they’re owned by you or your parent) do need to be reported, as well as more obvious things like your bank balances.

Some assets that don’t need to be reported include 401K plans, small family businesses, and your parent’s home. Retirement assets are never included when calculating EFC. Additionally, the maximum contribution possible from parental assets is 5%. In other words, if you report $100K worth of assets, your contribution to paying for school would be $5K. Student assets, on the other hand, are weighed heavier. Students are expected to contribute 20% of their assets towards paying for college. Check out this list for a more detailed breakdown of which assets count and which don’t.

Side note: Try to complete the FAFSA on the day that your checking account is the lowest, like right before payday. That way, the amount that you report as your account balance will be smaller.

Side note 2: It’s best to keep college savings plans in a grandparent’s or non-custodial parent’s name so that you don’t have to list them on the FAFSA (i.e. to maximize your award!).

*While the CSS Profile and the FAFSA are both used to determine financial aid, they differ in a few ways.

  1. The CSS Profile asks questions based on the specific schools you’re applying to while the FAFSA questions are the same for everyone.
  2. The CSS Profile has a “Minimum Student Contribution” section while the FAFSA does not.
  3. The CSS Profile gives more decision-making power to financial aid officials.
  4. Home prices are taken into account on the CSS Profile, which can become an issue when home equity values rise.
  5. Lastly, the FAFSA is always free and the CSS Profile has a cost. As of 2018, the cost is $25 for the first school and $16 per additional school.

fafsa questions

Which FAFSA questions do you find most confusing? Let us know below! 

Everything You Need to Know About Filling Out the FAFSA

Figuring out how to apply for financial aid can be stressful and overwhelming, but it’s really not so bad once you have all the info. The FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the form that the government, along with several colleges and universities, use to determine how much financial aid college students should receive each year.

But what is the FAFSA and how does it work? In general, federal student aid (i.e. financial aid from the government) is determined based on four factors: Expected Family Contribution (EFC), year in school, enrollment status (i.e. part-time or full-time), and the Cost of Attendance (COA) at your intended school. Colleges and universities might use a similar method or a completely different one.

The FAFSA becomes available every year on October 1st and must be completed again each year. We recommend filling it out as early as possible since some awards are given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

EFC and COA

When it comes to figuring out how to apply for financial aid, students are often overwhelmed by all the technical jargon. EFC and COA are both determining factors when it comes to deciding financial aid awards. Understanding what they are and how they affect you can help you maximize the aid you receive and make paying for college much easier.

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is essentially your family’s ability to help you pay for school (i.e. how much they can contribute). It’s based on factors like your parents’ taxed and untaxed income, assets, benefits (like unemployment or social security), your family size, and the number of people in your household also attending school that year. Your EFC is determined by a set formula established by law. For more information, check out the official EFC Formula Guide.

Your Cost of Attendance (COA) is the price of attending your college or university of choice. In addition to tuition, the COA can also include the cost of books, transportation, supplies, loan fees, personal expenses, child or dependent care, disability-related costs, and study abroad program expenses.

how to apply for financial aid

Types of Federal Student Aid

The U.S. government offers several forms of financial aid, including grants, work-study, and loans, to help students pay for school. Grants are the best form of financial aid since they provide students with money that doesn’t have to be repaid.

Students have a variety of different grants available. The most common are Federal Pell Grants, which are worth up to $6,095 each year and are awarded to undergraduate students with significant financial need. Other programs include Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants, and Iraq and Iran Service Grants. For more information, check out our helpful section on federal grants.

Another option is federal work-study, which involves students being provided with part-time jobs while in school. Students can’t work more than a set number of hours per week (usually around 20) and can either work on- or off-campus. For more information about work-study, head over to our comprehensive financial aid guide.

Loans should be your last option for funding your education. The federal government, however, does offer options to help students avoid taking out private loans. The government currently offers five loan types: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Direct Consolidation Loans, and the Federal Perkins Loan Program. Check out this article for more info on the different loans offered by the federal government and how you can avoid loans altogether.

How Schools Use the FAFSA

When schools use the FAFSA to determine student financial aid packages, they often focus most of their attention on COA and EFC. Each school uses its own formulas, standards, and methods for calculating financial aid based on these numbers. You’ll likely receive a different financial aid offer from each school since each institution has a different level of funding available to assist students.

What If I Don’t Think I Qualify for Financial Aid?

You should fill out the FAFSA whether you think you qualify or not. It’s free and takes under an hour to complete, so what is there to lose? While your family’s income might be too high to qualify for federal aid, you might still qualify for awards at private universities or colleges. Spending a small portion of your day applying for financial aid could save you thousands of dollars on college tuition.

how to apply for financial aid

How to Apply for Financial Aid: Step-by-Step

What You’ll Need

To complete the FAFSA, you should have the following documents ready:

-Social Security Number (SSN) for US citizens or Alien Registration Number (ARN) for non-US citizens

-Your/Your parents’ income tax return

-Records of untaxed income (if applicable)

-Investment records (if applicable)

Step 1: Create an FSA ID

Before you begin the FAFSA form, you should create an FSA ID, which serves as your username and password for entering the U.S. Department of Education’s websites. It’s used to confirm your (or your parent’s) identity while logging in and can also be used to sign and submit the form. Both students and parents can access the FAFSA, but each need their own FSA ID.

Step 2: Begin Your FAFSA at fafsa.gov

Once you have your FSA ID, head over to fafsa.gov to complete the form. When it comes to figuring out how to apply for financial aid, getting the website and dates correct is important. The form becomes available each year on October 1st and closes on June 30th. You should complete the FAFSA as early as possible, since many university-based awards are given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pro Tip: At the beginning of the application process, you can create a “Save Key” which temporarily allows you and your parent/student to share the FAFSA back and forth.

how to apply for financial aid

Step 3: Complete the Student Demographics Section

The first step to completing this section is to make sure you’re filling out the correct section. The parent demographics and student demographics section are different, so make sure to double check that you’re entering the information where it belongs.

You should enter your information exactly as it appears on your Social Security Card or Alien Registration Card. Generally, it’s only necessary to enter the information for the first time; it should autofill the following years.

Step 4: Decide Who Gets It

You’re allowed to send your FAFSA to up to 10 colleges and universities. You should list all the schools you’re applying for, even if you haven’t been accepted yet. You can always add and remove schools later if you change your mind. If you wind up not applying for a school or weren’t accepted, schools will automatically disregard your FAFSA.

Step 5: Are You Dependent or Independent?

Dependent students are required to provide parental information on the FAFSA while independent students are not. Keep in mind that the FAFSA uses a different set of requirements than the IRS when it comes to determining dependency. For more info on the FAFSA’s dependency guidelines, check out this page.

how to apply for financial aid

Step 6: Complete the Parent Demographics Section

If your status is determined to be “dependent”, you’ll need to complete the parent demographics section. It simply requires your parents’ basic info and can be filled out by either you or your parent.

Step 7: All About Taxes

The next step is to fill in your and/or your parents’ tax information. To make it easier, the FAFSA has an IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which automatically fills in your information (if you’re eligible to use it). Make sure to double check and fill in all areas that aren’t automatically completed.

Step 8: Sign, Submit, & Cross Your Fingers!

Surprisingly, many students make it through the FAFSA and then forget to sign and submit it at the end! Make sure to do it and remember, dependent students also need their parents to sign the form! 

Finally, here are 10 common FAFSA mistakes to avoid…

1. Never leave a field blank on the FAFSA. It can make your processing time longer and could require you to go back and edit the form. Instead, fill in answers that don’t apply to you with a “0” (zero).

2. Make sure to report all sources of untaxed income to avoid legal issues. Untaxed income sources can include non-educational veteran benefits, child support, workers comp, disability, and more.

3. Enter the correct marital status. In order to file as married, you must be married before or on the date that the FAFSA is submitted. If you’re getting married in the near future, file as single for this year.

4. Make sure to include all parents. If your parents are divorced, then you also need to include your step parents’ (if applicable) financial and demographics information on the FAFSA.

5. Include yourself in your household size. Even if you haven’t been living at your house recently, you should include yourself when determining your household size.

how to apply for financial aid

6. The early bird gets the worm. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete your FAFSA. Lots of colleges and universities give out financial aid awards on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, filing early ensures that you won’t miss the deadline.

7. Use the correct website. The ONLY website you should use to complete the FAFSA is fafsa.gov. Any other website is untrustworthy. Also, the FAFSA is always free, so stay away from any sites requesting money.

8. Get your FSA ID before beginning the FAFSA. The first step to determining how to apply for financial aid, you might need to wait up to three days to sign the FAFSA after applying for your FSA ID – meaning that it doesn’t hurt to get a head start!

9. Add all the colleges! Well, maybe not all of them, but definitely more than one or two. Even if you’re not sure about applying for a school, you should add it. You can add up to 10 schools and change your preferences any time.

10. Just do it! The biggest mistake you can make is not filling out the FAFSA at all. It involves zero money and little time and can save you thousands of dollars on college tuition.

Once you successfully determine how to apply for financial aid and submit the FAFSA, you’ll automatically be considered for all types of federal student aid – grants, loans, and work-study. You’ll also be considered for a variety of school-based aid depending on your college or university.

how to apply for financial aid

What are your best tips on how to apply for financial aid? Let us know below!

14 Superb Scholarships for Students in Ohio

Home to one of the largest universities in the country, Ohio is a popular destination for college students. With competitive academics and a wide array of opportunities, it should come as no surprise that top universities like The Ohio State University and Kent State open their doors to thousands of new students from all over the country each year.

However, for both in-state and out-of-state students, paying for school can be a burden. The average in-state tuition in the state of Ohio is $6,226 while the average out-of-state tuition is $18,615. Luckily, scholarships in Ohio can help students pay for school and avoid student loans at the same time.

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

Scholarships are awarded to students for a variety of reasons – from financial need to having special interests to good grades – meaning that there are scholarships available for all types of people in all sorts of situations. Plus, scholarships never need to be paid back so they’re free money in your pocket!

The best place to start is Going Merry! We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and then allow you to apply directly through our site to save you time and effort. The next step is to speak with your high school guidance office or college financial aid office. They’ll have plenty of info on local scholarships and awards that you qualify for.

For more information on scholarships and how to apply, check out our step-by-step guide and our list of tips for making your scholarship application stand out.

In the meantime, check out these 14 scholarships in Ohio:

1. Beat the Odds® Scholarship Program

These Ohio scholarships are granted to five high school seniors each year who are recognized for overcoming adversity, excelling in school, and giving back to the community. In addition to the $5,000 award, students receive a new laptop, an invitation to CDF leadership development programs, and additional support from the organization.

Amount: $5,000

Provider: Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Attending an Ohio high school, (b) Nomination from a teacher, counselor, caseworker, or adult who can speak to student’s challenges, (c) Minimum GPA of 3.0, (d) Involvement in extracurricular activities. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in ohio

2. William D. Squires Scholarship

These scholarships in Ohio aim to provide financial assistance to Ohio seniors who demonstrate financial need and academic excellence. They’re renewable for up to four years. Recipients must be high school seniors in Ohio, but can attend school outside of the state.

Amount: Up to $4,000 (renewable for up to 4 years)

Provider: The William D. Squires Educational Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Demonstrated financial need, (b) Graduating from an Ohio high school. For more info, check out the scholarship website

3. Charles D. Whitmer Fund Scholarship

In memory of Charles D. Whitmer, these Ohio scholarships aim to support students with an entrepreneurial spirit and the motivation and commitment to complete a dream. Students should express interest in the work-save-invest method and be willing to pay for part of their education on their own.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: The Cleveland Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum 2.0 GPA, (b) Residency in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, or Geauga County, (c) Full-time student status. For more info, check out the scholarship website

4. Albert W. Geater Memorial Scholarship

Accounting majors are eligible to apply for this $1,000 scholarship from The Cleveland Foundation. Students must be attending a Pell-eligible school to qualify.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: The Cleveland Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Accepted or enrolled in accredited university/college program in Northeast Ohio, (b) Major in accounting, (c) Part-time or full-time status, (d) Minimum 2.75 GPA. For more info, check out the scholarship website.

scholarships in ohio

5. Nicholas J. Rozanski Memorial Scholarship

In memory of the late Nicholas J. Rozanski, this generous award is gifted to children of active or retired members of the Ohio National Guard. Applicants must demonstrate a dedication to community service and leadership.

Amount: Varies (Minimum $1,000)

Provider: Nick Rozanski Memorial Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Be the dependent of a current or retired member of the Ohio National Guard, (b) Minimum 2.8 GPA, (c) Participation in community service and leadership activities. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

6. Department President’s Scholarship

In order to honor veterans, these scholarships for Ohio residents are gifted to veterans or direct descendants of honorably discharged veterans. Two awards are given each year, one totaling $1,000 and the second totaling $1,500.  

Amount: $1,000 to $1,500

Provider: American Legion Auxiliary of Ohio

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Veteran or direct descendant of an honorably discharged veteran, (b) Residency in Ohio. For more information, visit the scholarship website

7. ALCOA Fund Scholarship

These scholarships in Ohio award African American and Hispanic students who are graduates of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District or a Catholic school in the greater Cleveland area. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.

Amount: $2,000 to $5,000

Provider: The Cleveland Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum 3.0 GPA, (b) Demonstrated financial need, (c) African American or Hispanic. For more information, check out the scholarship website.

scholarships in ohio

8. Ann-Marie Ogletree Child Development Scholarship

These Ohio scholarships are granted to students from Northeast Ohio pursuing studies in a field related to early childhood education or counseling. Preference will be given to underserved, underrepresented, and moderate- to low-income applicants.

Amount: $500 to $1,000

Provider: The Cleveland Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum 2.75 GPA, (b) Demonstrated financial need, (c) Full-time student status. For more information, visit the scholarship website

9. Choose Ohio First STEM Scholarship

Both undergraduate and eligible graduate students can apply for these scholarships in Ohio. Applicants should be majoring in a STEM-related field.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Ohio Higher Ed

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors, College Seniors, Graduate Students

Requirements: (a) Attending an Ohio college or university, (b) Studying in a STEM field. For more info, check out the scholarship website

10. Cindy Hollingshead Scholarship

These Ohio scholarships were established in 2011 as a way to honor Cindy Hollingshead for 39 years of service as executive secretary of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Students pursuing studies in the fields of agriculture, community service, and association leadership are eligible to apply.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Major in a field related to agriculture, community service, or association leadership, (b) Minimum 2.5 GPA, (c) Full-time student status, (d) Demonstrated financial need. For more info, check out the scholarship website

scholarships in ohio

11. Clarke Price Accounting Scholarship

These accounting scholarships aim to support students with the potential to become successful and talented CPAs. Successful applicants should demonstrate leadership skills, commitment, and innovation.

Amount: Varies

Provider: The Ohio CPA Foundation

Who Can Apply: College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. citizen or permanent resident, (b) Residency in Ohio, (c) Minimum 3.0 GPA, (d) Completed at least 30 hours of college credit, (d) Be a student affiliate member of the Ohio Society of CPAs. Check out the scholarship website for more info. 

12. John S. Knight Memorial Scholarship

John S. Knight was a Pulitzer Prize winner and an Akron native who worked as an editor for the Akron Beacon Journal. In his memory, these scholarships in Ohio are awarded to students majoring in journalism, public relations, or communications. The scholarships are given out at a special luncheon held each April.

Amount: $5,000

Provider: Akron Press Club

Who Can Apply: College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Demonstrated success in journalism, public relations, or communications, (b) Attending an accredited college or university. For more information, check out the scholarship website

13. Ludel B. Sauvageot Scholarship

A late member of the Akron Press Club, Ludel B. Sauvageot was a respected and talented educator, PR professional, author, and more. These Ohio scholarships in her memory are awarded at the John S. Knight luncheon hosted each April.

Amount: $5,000

Provider: Akron Press Club

Who Can Apply: College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Demonstrated success in journalism, public relations, or communications, (b) Attending an accredited college or university. For more information, check out the scholarship website

14. Dr. Laurie Anne Rhodebeck Memorial Scholarship

These renewable scholarships are given to either Crawford County residents with a high school diploma (or equivalent) or residents of neighboring counties who graduated from or currently reside in Crawford County. A strong preference is given to students majoring in environmental studies or studies related to the mission of the Crawford Park District as well as to students with involvement in community service activities.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: The Community Foundation for Crawford County

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors, College Seniors, Graduate Students

Requirements: (a) Enrollment in college, university, or vocational school, (b) Residency in Crawford County or equivalent (see above). For more info, check out the scholarship website

scholarships in ohio

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.