College awaits: Finding scholarships to lighten the financial load

As colleges mail out acceptance letters, students can find themselves shocked by the price tag attached. Not everyone can be a college level athlete or valedictorian, which would lead to a plethora of scholarship offers; however, there are other scholarships available for the average student.

A first step in the scholarship search is to look at what each school offers in financial aid. Some schools automatically submit applications to be considered for scholarships, but others require a separate submission. When applying to a school, be sure to apply for any and all applicable scholarships. It’s never a bad idea to contact an admissions representative to see if there is anything else that the college offers.

While many schools offer a multitude of scholarships to the applicants, many corporations provide scholarship opportunities as well. There are numerous websites that can be used to find lists of available scholarships.  Counseling assistant Jennifer Tumser recommends McNicholas students use Naviance, Unigo,  or the Ohio Department of Education to search for potential scholarships. Local scholarships also have McNicholas on a mailing list or email list to notify Tumser of opportunities for students.

One problem students run into is thinking, “This scholarship isn’t worth enough,” or “I’m not going to apply because I know I won’t receive this scholarship.” No matter what the odds, there is always a chance that a student will be picked to receive a scholarship. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of attending an in-state four year institution is approximately $19,488 per year. Even the smallest scholarships can add up to a significant reduction per year. Audrey Estes, McNicholas alum from the Class of 2019 and current freshman at Walsh University, received their Founder’s Scholarship. “Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the scholarship that I have. It helps show how my hard work in high school has helped me be able to afford college better. The honors program here can be quite difficult, but I am really enjoying myself and so thankful that I’m the one who received the Founder’s Scholarship. Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t have met my best friends,” Estes said.

The Counseling and Career Readiness Office is also a place to turn for help in the search for scholarships. The counseling department sends emails with information regarding several scholarship opportunities including details on how to apply, but a meeting with a counselor could lead to further discovery of possible scholarships. Counselors can help guide students to scholarships for their area of study and interest.

If a student is struggling to find scholarships due to a poor GPA, fewer extra curriculars than advised, or just a mundane resume, one site that any McNicholas student can access is the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation. All that is required is to create an account and a profile including some personal information and a transcript. From there, 80 scholarships, varying in amount, will be distributed based on the completed profiles.

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