Paying for college is a tedious subject, no matter when you decide to go. So how does one go about it? Well first thing you have to understand is that aid is everywhere! Now it is just up to you to seek out that aid because it is not going to come knocking on the door looking for you.
First thing first, sign up for federal financial aid. It's FREE and takes no time at all. All you have to do is visit finaid.org and verify yourself. Next click where it says that you want to file FAFSA for the upcoming school year and fill out the information. The government, for once, has actually made the process a lot simpler by allowing you to look up your information in the IRS database and allowing you to transfer it into the FAFSA form, thus making the application simpler and faster. Like I said it's money that the government wants to give you so take it. You never know how much you may receive and you might even get qualified for state based grant that you didn't know existed. You might even get a job through it. Who knows until you try.
Another way to find aid is online. There are databases all across the internet that has already done the hard part for you, which finding scholarships and finding ones that you, specifically, are qualified for. These sites are amazing and I personally wish I could cook dinner for all the people who made them because what a life saver they turn out to be. Just to name a few: unigo.com, scholarships.com, and fastweb.com. Bookmark these sites because you are going to visit them almost everyday until you graduate college. These sites will match you to scholarships based on ethnicity, religious affiliation, major, state, age, hobbies, work experience, etc. Take the time to fill out the information they ask from you because next thing you know you're going to be too busy applying to 75+ scholarships to even and
want think about the possibility of more money being out there.
Another thing about these sites is that they update everyday, all-day. They send notifications to your email address to let you know if you've been matched with more scholarships so that you always know what is going on. These sites also allows you to categorize the scholarships you've been matched with. Say you was matched but there is something about it that makes you hesitant to apply; that's ok because now you can put that scholarship on your might apply list which will move it out the way of the other scholarships until you feel that you are ready for it. So simple and user-friendly, right?
Now, sometimes these sites do offer the same scholarships so you have to stay organized. Keep a binder with your resume, references, every application for every scholarship that you submit. That way you can continue to track it not only the current year but for years to come. Also maintain a solid relationship with the scholarships that you win, that way you are always eligible for recurring aid from the same organization. People like good work and progress, make sure to give it to them.
Last but not least, internships. Internships are a great way to find aid for college and gain real world experience. Don't be afraid to sign up, they know you're a college student who probably doesn't know what they are doing. It's ok, that's why it's called an internship. It's like school except you're getting paid for it. This will build your resume, network you with like-minded people, and based on performance give you a chance to receive a scholarship through the company you interned with.
So like I said earlier, aid for college is out there. You just have to go find it.