Guide to Adulting: Applying for scholarships and financial aid

Bree Soule, Online Editor-in-Chief

On average, it costs approximately $25,362 to attend any 4-year institution, as reported by the Education Data Initiative. While this may be a doable price for some families, it is out of the realm of possibility for others. Students who can’t afford to pay such a large price for college may rely on scholarships and grants to help further their education while not going into debt. Lucky for these students, thousands of dollars are available through scholarships and federal aid, making an unattainable price tag attainable.

As stated by the Federal Student Aid website, “Scholarships are gifts. They don’t need to be repaid. There are thousands of them, offered by schools, employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups and professional and social organizations.”

Websites used to find these scholarships may include the following: SallieMae, ScholarshipOwl and Fastweb. Through these websites, students will mainly find national scholarships which may range from academic scholarships to a scholarship for having a dog. No matter the amount of money, students should apply for all scholarships possible as the amount may add up the more they win.

“Generally speaking, applying for scholarships is a worthwhile investment of time,” Counselor Craig Golembiewski said. “No, you will not always win a scholarship every time that you apply for one.  However, even if you earn a smaller scholarship of $250 or $500 after submitting several applications, how many hours would you have to work (minimum wage) to make that amount of money? I am fairly certain you won’t spend nearly that amount of time completing and submitting your scholarship applications.”

The Fenton local scholarship application will be available to seniors in early March. Because these are local, a smaller number of graduates will be applying. This may provide students with a high chance of winning a local scholarship rather than a national one. Another resource for locating scholarships include the Fenton High webpage in the counseling section where there is a list of scholarships available for students to apply to. 

To apply for grants and scholarships at a university, a student will most likely have to fill out financial aid forms as reported by Collegeboard. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available to all students. This is money a student will receive from the government to help pay for college expenses. 

One of the first scholarships you should look at are the ones offered to incoming freshmen at the college you’re planning to attend.

Typically, there are automatic merit scholarships, as well as competitive scholarships,” Golembiewski said. “Sometimes, there are scholarships for getting admitted to the Honors College. There may also be the ability to apply for internal scholarships after you get admitted to the college. After you have exhausted scholarship opportunities from your college, then focus on the scholarships offered at your high school (Fenton local scholarships) or those that are in your local geographical area. At Fenton High, the Counseling Office maintains a ‘Counseling Office Scholarship List,’ which does include many local/regional scholarships.”

For more information on scholarships, contact one of the Fenton High counselors or research on the websites listed above.