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Applying for scholarships

When I look back at my senior year of high school, I remember being stressed beyond belief about applying to colleges. I can’t tell you how many nights I stayed up stressing about all of the big decisions that I had to make. Even after I got accepted to a few places and picked the college that I would call home, I found something new to stress about — how to pay for it!

I think it goes without saying that attending a college or university costs an astounding amount of money. If you or somebody that you love is preparing to leave the nest in pursuit of higher education, I can give you no better advice than to pursue scholarships.

Scholarships are an amazing way to earn money that can go toward your education. There are countless scholarships that you can apply for, and they are available everywhere you look. When I was in high school, I often felt discouraged to apply for scholarships and grants because I thought that the odds of being selected as the winner were slim. However, I received very important advice from my teachers at school — it is always worth applying.

What a lot of students don’t realize is that many scholarships only receive one or two applicants, meaning that many students receive a scholarship simply for applying. If you take a short timeout of your day or weekend to work on typing up an essay, you can easily rack up anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars in scholarships.

If you take the time to research scholarships, you’ll find that organizations and businesses across the country offer many different chances to earn money. They are often aimed at specific groups, genders or fields of study, meaning that you can up your chances even more by applying to a scholarship that matches you.

I remember one day in high school in which our teachers made us sit in a computer room for part of the day and apply to different scholarships offered by local organizations. Many of us grumbled and groaned at being forced to write yet another essay, but that one hour spent in the computer room writing a short essay allowed me to receive a $1,500 scholarship. Imagine being paid $1,500 an hour just to write about your goals and interests. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so bad.

Parents talk to your student. Have them talk to their guidance counselors, coaches or family members and see what types of scholarships may be out there for them. There are even announcements of specific scholarships often featured in the newspaper that you can check out. It will make a world of difference for you and your student, and you’ll be surprised to see how much that hard work pays off.

Alexa Massey is a staff reporter for The Charlotte Gazette and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Alexa. Massey@TheCharlotteGazette.com.