Together with grants and loans, scholarships are a great way to pay for your higher education. And your accommodation, public transport, and even books also need funds. But in contrast to loans that will have to be repaid, grants and scholarships give you money at no cost. Of course, you want to consider every scholarship that you can be eligible for this year. And, if there is a chance to get money for just being left-handed, why not use this great opportunity?
Scholarships for Left-Handed Students Do Not Exist
But unfortunately, there are no scholarships available for students who write with their left hand. Though earlier, there was one, and you still can find its official description. Probably, it’s the most mentioned left-handed scholarship that you can come across the web. Pennsylvania’s Juniata College provided its left-handed alumni with its Frederick and Mary Francis Beckley Scholarship of $1,500–$2,000 a year.
This scholarship was introduced in 1979 by former Juniata’s student Mary Francis Beckley, who was left-handed. Like most of the scholarships, it was available only for those sophomores, juniors, and seniors who had exceptional academic performance. However, there are plenty of other scholarships that you can apply for, and the criteria are vast.
Where Can I Find Out About Scholarships?
Check Local Opportunities
If you check how you can get financial aid for local residents, you can avoid high competition. School Talent Search counselors are usually aware of awards that their students can apply for. Or they can recommend some resources or people who know the information you need. If you already attend a college, check what it can offer.
Also, visit the websites of local religious organizations, communities, civic groups, and foundations. These institutions often have some financial aid programs. Don’t neglect another resource –– a reference section in your library. Though this approach may seem out-of-date, give it a try anyway. You can come across some ideas or data that will lead you to success.
Some companies offer scholarships for their employees and their dependents. Not only big and famous brands offer such an opportunity. Small private businesses and state organizations can also provide financial aid. Try searching among the companies that work in the industry of your interest. Think of companies that you can potentially join after graduating from college. This could be a good reason for asking for their involvement and sponsorship.
This advice is essential because the information online is quick-to-get and accessible. Apart from other types of grants, you can check for scholarships for minorities if you belong to any. Though there are a lot of sources with lists of scholarships in the US, you should trust college or organizations’ official websites with stated addresses and phone numbers. Please note that you don’t have to pay for any applications or renewals of your grants.
Requirements for Scholarships
Each sponsoring organization has specific requirements to become eligible for their grant or scholarship. But several criteria are often similar:
– US citizenship;
– applicants are expected to study at or plan to attend a US university or college;
– minimum GPA (Grade Point Average) score. For example, a 2.5 GPA tells the officer that you got Bs and Cs during your classes. The national average is 3.0, but most awards are given for students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance. So, consider that they may expect higher scores.
Why FAFSA Is Important
Students become eligible for merit scholarships due to their outstanding results in academic, artistic, or sports spheres. Also, this grant type is applicable to students who relate to some civic group or church. However, you can get financial aid only when you report your financial need. The essential stage in applying for financial aid is completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Still, many scholarships require you to submit the FAFSA form, so let’s check how to complete this form.
FSA ID Is Necessary
To be able to sign your FAFSA electronically, you should create your FSA ID first. FSA ID is a combination of your username and password, and this ID allows you to sign loan contracts, access myStudentAid app, and other information on the fafsa.gov portal. Please enter your Social Security Number (SSN) and name correctly. It would be better if you would write it down from your Social Security card.
If you create the ID before completing the FAFSA, your name, date of birth, and SSN will automatically be loaded into the form. This will help you avoid any mistakes. Make sure that you provide your ID and not the ID of your parent.
Where Can I Get the FAFSA?
There are four ways to get the FAFSA form:
– apply online through the fafsa.gov website;
– download myStudentAid mobile app available for Android and iOS operating systems and complete the form there;
– download, print, complete the PDF form from fafsa.gov and send it for processing;
– call to request the printed out form and submit it by mail after completion.
Please note that you will not be able to complete the form through the mobile application if you do not have the FAS ID. If you don’t have time to finish completion, use the ‘save key.’ It allows you to return to completion later. Also, this feature is perfect if you and your parents complete the form together from different locations and devices. Feel free to tell them your save key, but keep your FAS ID private though.
Renewal of FAFSA can only be initiated by a student (with the FAS ID), even if you are a dependent. But in this case, you should save the form with the save key option after completing it. Only then can your parent access the same document with the same key and finalize the submission.
At least one school that will receive your FAFSA should be stated in it. Based on the data you mention in the form, the schools from your list will consider giving you the aid you ask for. The order of listing the schools and colleges in FAFSA is not important. However, sometimes you may be required to list the state schools first when applying for state aid, for example. You can check the requirements on fafsa.gov.
It is beneficial to use the electronic version of the FAFSA as there you can list up to ten schools, while the PDF version allows only four. In any case, there is a possibility to add schools to the list later. And, all mentioned schools will receive your data electronically.
Independent or Dependent?
The federal student aid programs share a concept that payment for your education is your and your family’s responsibility. It is assumed that the dependent student gets support from his parents, but your parents do not have to pay for your college. If you are independent, you still have to mention your spouse.
To determine your dependency status, you will have to answer around ten questions that include your date of birth, marital status, data about your children, veteran status, etc.
Whether your parents live together or are separated, you should complete their details in the form. If you cannot access the information about your legal parents (adoptive or biological), get in touch with the financial aid officers; otherwise, your form will be rejected. Please remember that if your parents do not want to give their information for the purposes of the FAFSA, you still cannot be considered independent. In this case, you need to consult the FAS officers.
How to Win a Scholarship: Several Tips
If you want to get a merit-based scholarship, there are several things that you need to do:
- Always monitor scholarship announcements. Try to find them in Counselor’s bulletin boards, in your library ad section, at your church, in a local newspaper, and, of course, on the web.
- Remember about deadlines, just like you do about the application to colleges. Stay organized and prepare the schedule for your submissions.
- Find out about the scholarship owner. You should fit the sponsoring organization’s goals; that is why every word of your essay should be personalized.
- Write a catchy essay. Since the essay is required almost by every sponsor, try to make your story interesting, personal, and honest.
- Check your social networks. Make sure you delete all the compromising pictures or videos on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter because many schools are looking through their potential winners’ profiles. Think from their perspective –– what will they anticipate seeing on your account and delete the improper content beforehand.
- Check your documentation and essay before sending. Ask your friends, teachers, or parents to take a look at your essay and look through all other documentation. Another pair of eyes always works!
- Copy all the documents you send. Just in case your package is lost somewhere on the way to the recipient (which, unfortunately, happens). There was so much effort to compile all the documents and forms together. You will never want to make that again from scratch. Moreover, this file may help you with other applications.
How to Write a Strong Essay
An essay is a challenging part of your application for a scholarship or grant, and it is your voice that speaks directly to the decision-makers. Of course, this kind of personal statement needs to be impressive, and you have to put your appeal into 500-600 words. However, here are some general ideas:
- Don’t make it too wordy. Sometimes we think that our ideas deserve more detailed explanations, but often the admission officers cannot devote a lot of time to our paper.
- Let it be vivid and engaging. Avoid abstract words and boring cliches. Construct your sentences so that they are easy to read. Make smooth and logical links from one idea or point to another.
- Edit your writing. When your full text is ready, rewrite it. Let every detail make sense, and every word be to the point. You will need a fresh look at your composition, so ask someone to read through it.
Always Double-Check the Information
Please note that every link or portal that tells you about scholarships for left-handed students should put on alert to you. People manipulate your wish to get some money. It’s good if they only do this to land you on the page of some college or organization that really offers financial aid. But there are cases like Walmart with its Associate or Dependent Scholarship that are no more applicable. This chain of supermarkets provides grants to nonprofit organizations through Walmart’s employees (called associates). The associates can devote their free time to local charitable organizations and then apply for that organization to receive financial aid from Walmart. But individuals cannot receive grants directly.
Unfortunately, enterprising fellows twist the truth and manipulate this information to get money from you. They convince you that Walmart offers financial aid to you directly or through your relatives. Walmart really states that they are ready to support their employees through the Associates Critical Need Trust, but in case the associates suffer from an unexpected tragedy.
Live Better U from Walmart
Though there is a lot of fake and outdated information about Walmart on the web, there is good news. The supermarket chain decided to invest in its employees’ education. You will have to invest $1 a day to enroll in college degrees related to business and supply chain. Once you decide to opt for other degrees (including master’s), you may get a discount. Three universities agreed to participate in this program: Brandman University, University of Florida, and Bellevue University. However, this option is more applicable for working adults.