I’m sure you’ve seen the following statement on the CollegeXpress homepage a few times: "Do you know that every year scholarships go unused just because no one applied? That's wasted money!" I’m also sure you’ve probably glanced at it a few times but never really took it to heart.
Think about it: there are over 17,000 scholarships in our database alone. All together, the scholarship search is worth over $7 billion. That's billion with a "B." But what's even crazier is some of that scholarship money really does go to waste every year because no one applied! Would you refuse free money and just say, “No thanks?” That’s kind of what is happening out there in the scholarship application world right now. There is plenty of free money to go around and I’m not sure why not more people are taking advantage!
Questions to ask
If you are looking at NCAA schools, there are some things you need to consider first. Ask yourself: What division do I want to play in? Do I absolutely need a scholarship in order to go to this school? How much money do I need? Answering these questions will put you on a better path of finding the right college and team for you.
NCAA Divisions I and II offer scholarships to their athletes ranging from full- to half-tuition awards, which is amazing. Division III schools, on the other hand, do not offer any money to their athletes. Do not be deterred by that one small issue, though--if you want to play D-III, play D-III! There are tons of options out there that will help minimize your bills.
Scholarships just for athletes include the Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) Scholarship and the Hood Good Sport Scholarship. If you're eligible for either one of these scholarships, go for them! You have absolutely nothing to lose by applying and plenty to gain.
Don’t stop now! There are still tons of scholarships out there that you can and should apply for. I pulled a few of my favorites together for you (and no worries, they are quick and easy to apply for):
- CollegeTreasure.com Scholarship
- CoffeeForLess Hit the Books Scholarship
- DegreeSearch.org Success By Degrees Scholarship
- Church Hill Classics “Frame My Future” Scholarship
- Careerfitter.com Scholarship
Regardless of your situation (i.e., parents footing the entirety or part of your tuition, you get a full athletic ride, etc.), scholarship money is still very important. Think about books, supplies, grabbing food outside of school, and all that extra stuff that adds up over four years. Scholarships don’t just cover tuition and fees; they can save you from falling into a lot of money pits in the college world. And, really, there is always room to get some extra dough and plenty of awards that don't require that much time to apply for. So there are no excuses!
Money isn’t everything
Also it’s important to remember that with student loans these days, anything is possible. Don’t let finances ruin your chance to go to your dream school and play on your dream team. Even if you get the smallest scholarship, that could save you hundreds of dollars on some athletic equipment or on a semester of books, which is incredibly helpful. Ultimately, most people leave college with at least a little debt, and those same people will tell you the experience was worth every penny! So take 10 or 15 minutes over the next few days and check out the awards above (and more on CollegeXpress) and give scholarships a shot. Everyone has the same chance of getting an award, so what do you have to lose?
Sound off in the comments about your scholarship experiences!