Funding Your Education – Scholarship Search Tips
So as you know from my initial blog, I recently decided to seek a change of pace and place, meaning I have decided that it is time for me to take a break from my current life (doing some traveling in the U.S. until I am able to save up for a broader traveling experience), do some exploring in a new place and figure out who I am and what I truly want to do with the rest of my life.
So first, I decided maybe I should go back to school. I have found that either having a good and intellectually stimulating job or being in school helps me to be disciplined and focused. It will allow for me to set a reasonable and achievable goal for myself, and it also opens up the doors to other possibilities.
Now, it is important to know how you intend to fund your new and profound choice of plans, so I suggest making at least a 1 year budget and STICKING TO IT the best you can. I thought, since I will definitely need money for plane tickets ($1500+), new wardrobe (about $1000 – as I limit my spending on clothes and focus my appetite on fine dining), personal expenses such as food and toiletries (about $200-300 monthly), and finding a new place of residence (about $300-600 monthly), I should apply for scholarships. Something I had never done too much of in the past because I was too lazy or proud to do it because I knew my parents would cover my undergraduate studies regardless if I received scholarships or not.
I know…Selfish huh? Maybe not… I think I was just being a teenager. I applied for about 2 scholarships in high school and received 1 for $1,000. It was surely not enough. I am still paying back school loans, in part because my wonderful and intelligent (this is not sarcastic whatsoever) mother put some of the loans under my name (as I’d imagine that many other parents have done for their children) and then told me about it after I graduated. Funny, huh? 😉 I guess the Karma got me back in that black comedy type of way. I respected what she did though. She took care of me and took the financial burden off of my shoulders so I could focus on a 4-year business degree. (Thank you Mamacita *Wink*)
So back to funding. Let me reiterate. If you decide to drop your current life and take a little trip. Make sure you have a plan. Make sure you set a goal for yourself and keep your eyes on that goal. And for me personally, school is a great goal as it can help challenge you intellectually and contribute to the advancement of your future.
Though I have applied for school loans to hold me off on having to come out of my pocket for school, I am aware that my school loan payments start back up 6 months after my program ends. So my plan is to apply for scholarships throughout the entire duration of my education in hopes of not having to pay a dime towards my Masters degree. And who knows…if I do well enough, I may be able to make a few extra thousand to apply to my other expenses.
But also remember. Do not count on receiving these scholarships as NONE of them are guaranteed. Sometimes scholarship winners aren’t announced until 3-6 months from the deadline date. Make sure that you have at least $2-4,000 to change up your pace and place, $1-5,000 to cover your meals and expenses over the next 3-12 months of travel, and then also have at least $500-1500 for savings and emergencies. And also, securing a job or source of income before you make the change is an even smarter and responsible decision. I know this seems like a lot, but this $3500-10,500 budget is mostly for those who suffer from financial insecurities, such as not having a definite source of income or having to worry about housing on their own. And also, this is about how much it really costs depending on the place of travel and duration of stay…
So, here we go…You ready?
1) I started first with my home institution. Visit your financial aid office and see what internal scholarships they offer, and also what scholarships they are aware of being offered by external institutions/organizations. I was fortunate enough to receive a renewable $3,000 scholarship based on my most recent G.P.A and choice of study.
2) Next, hit up places of familiarity, such as your church, or local (non-profit) organizations such as sports teams and clubs/chapters. Also consider putting on a fundraiser event where you sell scrumptious baked goodies and lemonade. Or throw a little shin-dig and invite everyone close to you and share a little bit of your plans and request a donation towards your education. The people closest to you are always a good bet because they know, love and support you. Don’t forget to send your “Thank You Cards”.
Quote: “Whoever has gratitude will be given more, and he or she will have an abundance. Whoever does not have gratitude, even what he or she has will be taken from him or her.” ~ Rhonda Byrne – The Magic (2012), courtesy of the Gospel of Matthew in the Holy Scriptures (The Magic – Amazon)
3) Now for the research. You will not get by easy. You will have to search your little tail off looking for scholarships that you qualify for. But don’t be too overwhelmed. Many scholarships don’t require an essay. You just have to submit a submission form and hope that your name gets drawn. Then there are a lot of scholarships that require essays. An upside to this is that most of these essays will ask the same thing, such as how will your education benefit your future plans or why do you deserve this scholarship. After a while you will see a trend and you will be able to copy and paste pieces of one essay onto the next. And then of course, you’d make sure everything meshes together by putting your finishing touches on it. So in addition to Google’ing ‘scholarships’, here are some sites where you can search for scholarships:
200 Free Scholarships for Minorities-1
http://www.internqueen.com (good for internship opportunities)
4) Scholarship Tips:
I’ve applied for so many scholarships, and I know I am missing a lot. But feel free to post a comment and let us know any that you may be aware of. And I will also add more places to apply over time. Good Luck!!
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