Monday, November 7, 2011

Avoiding Student Loan Debt: Apply for Scholarships!

Jason Majewski
Marketing Intern

Student. Loan. Debt. They are possibly some of the most frightening words facing young college graduates these days, along with “job search” and “real world.” It’s not news that college is expensive, and many students have no choice but take out expensive loans that can quickly accumulate over a college career. In fact, according to a New York Times article, the average student last year graduated college with $24,000 in student loan debt. Combine that with a tough job market and the idea of graduation can seem a little overwhelming. There’s good news though: If you are currently in college there’s still time to save yourself from some future debt, and it comes in the form of scholarships.

A lot of students assume that if they didn’t receive a scholarship coming into college, there aren’t many opportunities for them. In actuality, it only requires some persistence and a little hard work to obtain one. You also need to know where to look. You might be surprised how many resources are at your disposal—yes, there are people that want to give you money for college! If you talk to people who have applied for and received scholarships, a lot of them will tell you that half the battle was simply putting forth the effort. It actually plays into your favor that other students don’t think they can get a scholarship. I’m going to assume you’re smarter than all of them, since you’re reading The Study Guide, so here are some resources you should check out for obtaining scholarships:

Departmental Scholarships

When seeking a scholarship, one of the first places you should look into is your own college. UK has a number of departmental scholarships available based on grades, need, experience, career aspirations, community work and other factors (varying by the department). Most of these scholarships simply require an application and an essay for consideration. Some departments only require one application that can be applied to any scholarship that the student is eligible for. For more information and listings of scholarships available by department visit UK’s departmental scholarship page at:

Academic Excellence Scholarships

UK offers scholarships based on academic excellence. To be eligible for these, you must have a 3.5 or greater GPA and have completed at least 12 hours at the university. Learn more about UK’s Academic Excellence Scholarships here:

Other UK Scholarships

UK also offers scholarships for diversity, legacy, needs and background. These scholarships vary in nature and eligibility and there’s a wide-array of them. Among them are scholarships for first-generation college students and minority students. You might be eligible for any one of them, take a look at all of UK’s scholarship offerings here:

Corporate Scholarships

If you have a job, you might want to see if your employer offers any sort of scholarship opportunities. Many larger corporations offer scholarship money to their employees so you might as well check and see if you’re eligible. Some companies even offer scholarships to family members of their employees, so check with your parents too!

There are a number of outside resources for finding scholarships, including the websites below. Remember, half the battle is putting forth the effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get chosen for a given scholarship. Just keep your head up and move on to the next one. There are plenty to go around after all, and you will thank yourself later for putting forth the effort.

Other resources

Tips on filling out Scholarship Applications and Writing Essays

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