College tuition is expensive and a degree can be a huge investment. Fortunately there are many resources available for those in need of aid. Not all scholarships require perfect grades. Many scholarships are based on personal interest and are easily attainable. There is a scholarship out there for just about everyone; it is just a matter of knowing where to look.
Start by logging onto the federal student aid website at fafsa.ed.gov and filling out an application for student aid. The form is a bit lengthy but only has to be submitted once a year. If a student qualifies for aid, which is determined by household income, he will receive grants and work study opportunities from the government. If a student does not qualify, there are many other options.
The next best place to look is on your college's financial aid site. The school will have a list of the scholarships offered and instructions on how to apply. Some of these scholarships are based on academic standing and require little work to apply. Others can be based on things like ethnicity, gender or personal interest and might require an essay.
Fastweb is a great source for scholarships. According to Fastweb, one in three college-seeking high school seniors uses Fastweb to find aid for college. The process is very simple and, best of all, is free. Simply create a new account, log in and begin searching for scholarships relevant to your specific interests or qualifications. When you find a scholarship that interests you, click on the link and you will be taken to that organization's page, where you will be given instructions on how to apply. Have a resume and cover letter ready as many applications require these.
Collegeboard.com is also a popular site and lists many scholarships available. The site also has a helpful financial aid planner.
Be wary of scams when looking for scholarships. Do not ever give out your Social Security number unless filling out a FAFSA.
Natalie Schwab is a professional writer with a bachelor's degree in journalism and business from the University of Arizona. She has copy edited for her university newspaper, the "Arizona Daily Wildcat," conducted legislative research as an intern at Project Vote Smart and reported on the environment for the "Tombstone Epitaph."