The Search for Scholarships

My position at the financial aid office gives me the opportunity to work with students who have drastically different backgrounds. I talk to students who are eager to find scholarships to help fund their education, students who are completely overwhelmed by the process of financial aid and are just looking for a checklist of what they need to do, and students who are forced to look for creative ways to fund their education because they are approaching their loan limits. All these conversations typically come down to one question – “Where can I find scholarships?”

As a student who was once looking for scholarships and lost in the world of financial aid, I have gathered some resources and I am here to share them!

The scholarship search is not easy. It takes a long time, you have to write a handful of essays, but before all that you have to actually find a scholarship you are eligible for. Beyond the two standard scholarships that the UO offers, Diversity Excellence and the General University Scholarships, scholarships can be tricky to find.

Have you looked through the scholarship bulletin board at financialaid.uoregon.edu lately? This should be one of the first places you look! On the bulletin board the scholarships have different deadlines, different award amounts, and different terms and conditions. Pay attention to the different terms and conditions and start applying today! Three hours of your time doing essay writing could quickly turn into you being $5,000 richer in scholarship funding! That sounds like a good trade to me.

Another great resource for the students at the UO is SALT. SALT is a financial literacy program that the UO financial aid office partners with in order for students to have access to budgeting tips, budget outlines, and SCHOLARSHIPS. You can read more about the benefits of SALT here. All you need when you get to saltmoney.org/uoregon is your uoregon email address and then you will have access to their scholarship database. I recommend getting started on this ASAP – Fall 2017 is almost here!

Also, advisors within your major are great! When is the last time you had a visit with them and asked about scholarships? Contrary to popular belief, not everyone tells the financial aid office about the scholarships they offer. Typically specific majors do not notify our office because the scholarships are only available to their students. They just don’t apply for the whole university.

While you are a senior in high school you should take advantage of the scholarships offered through your community as well. The majority of those scholarships are only good for a year, but that means your one year closer to taking out all loans for cover tuition.

Take scholarships head on and apply for as many as possible. Always keep a backup option just incase things don’t work out like you hope, but apply for 10, 15, or even 20 scholarships! If you put the time into funding your education you will more than likely get some sort of benefit.
Side note: Look for the scholarship workshops put on by the financial aid office in the fall. These sessions are with our scholarship counselors and they have all the tips and tricks you need to know about. Dates TBA at this point. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.

 

Written by: Karalyn Arnett