Time to apply for scholarships

The importance of scholarships and how to start the process


Kathleen Capistrano, Staff Writer

According to withfrank.org, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase Bank, the average student can earn $5,000 to $10,000 in scholarships towards their college education, depending on how dedicated they are during the process. Scholarships help students and families cover the many financial costs of attending college. Amassing enough in scholarships can eliminate the burden of having to work while in college. 

English teacher Ms. Rylee Toler knows what it is like to try to balance work and college.

“I was someone who had to work throughout college, and it was really stressful,” said Toler. “I wasn’t able to put much time towards academics and actually applying myself.”

The most important thing about scholarships is to start as early as possible.

“I think the best time to start is junior year, so you get a head start,” said sophomore Eli Shuhy. 

The longer you wait, the harder it will be to win a scholarship; however, there are a few steps you need to take before starting the application process.

“A lot of students don’t know that some scholarships need you to have the FAFSA filled out, so you should definitely prioritize that,” said junior Emily Shanks. 

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is what the government uses to see what grants or funds you are eligible for. To fill this out, visit the FAFSA website and create an FSA ID by inputting your personal information.

“The quicker you file for FAFSA, or the sooner you do, the more likely you are to get a lot of money,” Toler added.Once you fill that out, you’re free to go scholarship hunting. A few trusted websites where you can find scholarship opportunities are: Niche, Chegg, Scholarships, and even the VBCPS website. These websites will normally ask for your full name, an email address, what colleges or majors you are interested in, and sometimes your GPA. How you answer can affect the types of scholarships recommended to you. 

Another thing worth mentioning is that taking the SAT or being involved in different extracurricular activities can not only make you eligible for more scholarship opportunities, but also make your college applications look better, so if you haven’t signed up for the SAT yet, check out the College Board Website for more info. 

If you’d like additional information on scholarships, grants, and other ways to save for college, you can schedule an appointment with Salem’s Access counselor, Akeda Hunter.