How Much Money Can You Expect From Scholarships? A Comprehensive Guide

Most students can expect to receive $5,000 to $10,000 in scholarships, but that varies widely based on the cost of attendance at the college and how hard the student works on the application process.

As you watch your friends approach the magical moment of high school graduation, their junior and senior years have probably been filled with talk of college, how expensive it is, and how important it is to get all the scholarships they can.

If you’re a student just beginning your own journey or the parent of one, consider these points to get extra money for college tuition.

How Likely Is a Full Scholarship?

We often hear stories of student-athletes or prodigies who attend college on full scholarships, covering the entire cost of their education. However, it’s crucial to understand that these cases are the exception rather than the norm. Full scholarships are extremely rare and typically reserved for the most exceptional applicants.

While having a 4.0 GPA and excelling in athletics may make you an attractive candidate, it takes much more to stand out among the competition. Admissions committees look for a well-rounded profile that includes community service, extracurricular activities, and a compelling personal story. So, while a full scholarship is a dream for many, it is essential to set realistic expectations.

Partial Scholarships

While full scholarships may be scarce, partial scholarships are a more attainable option for many students. It’s important to approach your college search with an open mind and consider potential offers from schools that may not have initially been your top choice.

Remember, scholarships don’t only come from colleges themselves. Civic organizations, businesses, and professional associations offer thousands of dollars in scholarships each year. Exploring these external opportunities can significantly increase your chances of receiving financial aid.

Partial scholarships can be awarded based on a variety of criteria, including academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and even personal background. Don’t limit yourself to a single avenue. Cast a wide net and apply for any scholarship that aligns with your qualifications and interests.

Small Scholarships

If you spend hours on your applications but you don’t get the large five or six-figure award letter, have you wasted your time? Not at all.  

Small scholarships of $5,000 and under can cover big chunks of your education, especially if they can be used for books, dorm fees, and other expenses besides your tuition. Plus, the competition is generally less fierce because many students overlook the smaller scholarships or don’t think it’s worth their time to apply.   

If you’re currently a high school student sifting through all of the scholarship possibilities, keep yourself organized with which ones you’re going to apply to, what their deadlines are, and the possible award amount.

Like we mentioned before, any little bit of extra scholarship money towards your college education will help you out with tuition or expenses.

Everyone Should Apply

Even if you’re not the captain of the soccer team or the super genius with the perfect SAT score and GPA, you still need to apply for every scholarship you qualify for.  

Local scholarships are especially appealing because they often go to those with connections to the community. For example, your church or other houses of worship may set aside dollars to help young people who are members. Your parents’ employer may offer scholarship funding exclusively to the children of employees.  

These types of scholarships are small, usually $1,000 or so, but every bit of money helps. Every dollar you receive is one more you don’t have to come up with out of your own pocket. That means fewer student loans you might have to deal with in the future.  

Consider the pursuit of scholarships a part-time job that pays commissions later down the road. If you apply for 100 but you only get 10, that might seem like a disappointment. But 10 scholarships of $1,000 each adds up to a big chunk of your college expenses taken care of.  

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