How to Search for Scholarships

The tuition rate for an in-state public college is about $22,000 a year on average; as a result it is hard for even middle class families to afford to send their child to college. Scholarships are available, however, as an alternative method to pay for education.

Most colleges have scholarship programs that award students funding toward their tuition, room and board, or both. For example, Ramapo offers a merit based scholarship for incoming freshman. To receive the award, all aspects of a student's application are considered based on academic achievements, extracurricular activities and their potential to become active members of the Ramapo community.

To apply for a scholarship, however, students don't have to be an incoming freshman or the in the top 10 percentage of their class.

"Students can sift through the scholarships on our website, and download applications that relate to their major," Claudia Esker, senior grants writer at the Ramapo College Foundation, said. "There are all types of categories for scholarships ranging from sciences to social sciences."

Going through the long list of scholarships may be tedious, but very well worth it in the end.

"If any student is having trouble with finding a suitable scholarship, they should come see me," Esker added.

A scholarship's criteria are different based on each university. For students who have not decided on which university to attend, there are other useful sources to find scholarship awards.

There are also scholarships available for those considering graduate school. Starting the search early is still a key factor to be considered, but the requirements for a graduate school scholarship are a bit different, and finding the right one isn't easy.

"It's a long process, and definitely takes some dedication," senior Rebecca Weber said.

Remember, letters of recommendation are important for undergraduate students looking to get into graduate school. Compile a list of all the professors you've had and consider which ones might be good to ask. Contact them sooner rather than later. They should know who you are as a person, what your career goals are, and how you work in certain situations.