By Kailyn Bates
I have learned knowledge is free, but education is expensive, especially college. When I was starting out my college journey, that was my problem. Like many, for me college was an unaffordable dream. In fact, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 school year was $33,480 at private colleges, $9,650 for state residents at public colleges, and $24,930 for out-of- state residents attending public universities according to College Data.
To cover college expenses, most students rely on loans and grants, but the best way to cover college costs are scholarships. Scholarships are essentially free money. Annually, around 8 billion dollars of scholarships are made available. That means you need to apply. Why aren’t you applying to scholarships? For most people, they do not know where to apply or how to apply. They think it is hard or the amount of information available is overwhelming. As it turns out, scholarship searching is as easy as a Google search. Think about the activities you do and search for scholarships around that activity. For example if you have an interest in art, you can search art scholarships, and there will be scholarships that you can apply for by sending in your artwork.
Another trick I learned in my scholarship journey is to think about the stores I shop at. Surprisingly most of these companies have scholarships or school supply drives. My last scholarship secret is to get involved in your community by joining organizations. Many organizations give away scholarships, supplies to help students as well as giving you valuable networking skills that will be important in the future.