Applying For Scholarships and Grants

This is one of those things that you end up spending a lot of your time in your senior year of high school applying for. Most, if not all, of the scholarships and grants that are out there are time sensitive, so you must complete your application by a given deadline. If you’re lucky, you may be able to pick up a scholarship or two and, if you’re deemed qualified, possibly a grant as well. Scholarships and grants are both essentially the same thing; the only difference is that one is awarded based on merit while the other is awarded based on financial need.


This would be like receiving a pat on the back and being told “Good job! You’re awesome! Now here’s $100.” These are awarded based on your skill or ability as a student. These can be measured in a variety of different ways, such as through meeting certain academic criteria or writing an essay. There hundred, if not thousands, of scholarship opportunities and can be found through different venues, which can be found on the Federal Student Aid website. A couple good, reputable site where you can apply for scholarships are and You would want to be careful though, because there are many scams out there too. If they ask for a payment of any kind, for instance, avoid them.


These are also known as scholarships; but instead of having to show extraordinary academic skills or write an essay about the importance of clean energy (or something trivial like that), all you have to do is show that you’re financially incapable of  paying for college. There are a few options to choose from here. The most common and well-known on is the Pell Grant, which is awarded to undergraduate students with financial need. The maximum that you can receive each year is $5,500, but for many, it will be lower than that. Other types of grants include the FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant), the TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) Grant, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. The FSEOG Grant is similar to the Pell grant, but with a maximum allowance of $4,000 per year. The TEACH Grant is awarded to students enrolled in an eligible degree program and agree to teach at least 4 years in an elementary school, or an area that has a high demand for teachers. The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is for students who are qualified for a Pell Grant and have had one of their parents in military service die during their deployment in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Now I’m being realistic here when I say that you shouldn’t expect to get all the money you need for college through grants and scholarships. Most scholarships out there are very selective, so unless you’re in the top 5% of your class or have plans for being a lemon farmer after you graduate, you’re going to find it  very difficult to qualify  for anything that’s offering more than $2,000. Grants can be equally as frustrating because your financial need is based on your parents’ income, not your own, or at least until you turn 24 and can file yourself as an independent. If both your parents are middle-classed, blue-collared workers, they could still be deemed capable of supplying your financial needs, and therefore making you ineligible for any grants. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try, though I doubt any of this is very motivating anyway. If you can grab a couple grand here and there, that’s great. If you can get enough to pay for at least half of your college expenses, that’s even better; but you’re still going to have to get the rest of it elsewhere. One way is to beg your parents for money. Another way is to, well, *clears throat* get a job.