You must first determine how much you will need by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible. The Office of Financial Aid identifies your need and develops your financial offer package. Your expected family contribution will be calculated based upon the FAFSA. The gap between the calculated cost of attendance and family contribution equals your demonstrated need. Remember that all sources of financial aid cannot exceed the calculated cost of attendance. Also, you must report all outside funding to the Office of Financial Aid.
Now that you have determined how much you will need in scholarships, the most difficult task of receiving scholarships is finding scholarships that you are eligible for. Many funding sources that offer scholarships implement strict guidelines when selecting winners. You may be required to have above a 3.0 GPA or outstanding SAT scores. You may also have to be on a specific career path, be a minority student, or have a documented disability. You will increase your chances of receiving scholarships if you participate in a variety of activities, take advantage of campus resources, get to know your professors, do your research and apply early in the academic year.
Generally there are two types of scholarships available. These would include Merit-based and need-based scholarships.
For merit-based scholarships you should consider the following:
- Is your GPA (Grade Point Average) above a 3.0?
- Do you have a substantial amount of volunteer hours?
- Have you ever participated in any extracurricular activities?
- Have you selected your major or career path?
- Do you have competitive college admission test scores?
For need-based scholarships consider the following:
- Have you completed your annual FAFSA?
- If so, do you qualify for the federal Pell Grant?
- Is your GPA (Grade Point Average) above a 2.5?
Another road block that many students hit is deadlines. The majority of scholarship deadlines are between October and April. Awards are usually given the following academics year. This means that scholarships for summer are rare and most scholarships have deadlines five months in advance of their award date. Don’t panic! There’s always a chance. The only way you can receive a scholarship is if you apply.
To apply for university scholarships, log into the scholarship system using your campus id and password. Applications will open for the 2012-2013 academic year on December 14, 2012 and close on March 15, 2013.
If you are searching for scholarships and the deadlines for all Georgia State University affiliated scholarships have passed, it is time to start looking for external funding opportunities. The easiest way to do this type of search for scholarships is by visiting the Scholarship Resource Center to browse through the print listings and/or online search engines.
The best advice we have for you is don’t look for scholarships alone. Make it a group project. Sharing information with others has a tremendous advantage over spending hours individually and triples your chances of finding scholarships to apply for. Working in groups will also keep you motivated. Searching for scholarships alone is difficult but working in groups gives you an automatic support base. Also, taking advantage of the resources located in the Scholarship Resource Center to assist you in finding more scholarships in less time than you would have individually and give yourself more time to focus on completing the applications and writing your essay.