Why are scholarships for high school seniors so important? Seniors applying to colleges get excited about pursuing their majors, living in new places, and finding the perfect university for their goals. But as they start to look at prospective colleges and universities, they get a rude awakening.

Between tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses like computers and mobile devices, paying for a college education involves a lot more than working a part-time job or taking out a small loan. Unfortunately, it’s so expensive that, unless your parents started saving before you were born, there is not much chance that they have the kind of funds necessary to send you to the school of your choice.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. By filling out this form, you can determine your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) This application is used by nearly all colleges and universities to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs. If you can demonstrate enough financial need, you may also qualify for grants that you don’t have to pay back after you graduate, such as Pell grants and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). However, if you do not qualify for these grants, your only federal assistance will be through student loans that you are required to pay back.

Even with federal assistance, you may still not have enough funding to cover your tuition and all of your expenses, and you may have to find additional loans to cover your education. This can leave you with crippling debt that you have to start paying back just a few months after you graduate.

However, student loans are not the only means to pay for your education. If you start looking now, you can find a number of college scholarships for high school seniors that can benefit you. Take a look at the Department of Labor’s scholarship search engine, here you can find hundreds of scholarships just by entering the keywords “high school senior”.

Why Should You Apply for a Scholarship?

If the idea of getting out of college with little to no student loan debt appeals to you (which it should), you should apply for as many college scholarships for high school seniors as possible. If you have decent standing in your grades, and you have a good relationship with your teachers, mentors, counselors, or coaches, you have a good chance of winning a scholarship.

You’ll notice that many scholarships require a B average or better and that most of them require an essay or personal statement. If you don’t excel at writing, you may flinch at this notion, but there are no essay scholarships for high school seniors available, as well. These are particularly common in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects, as students that excel in these areas are sometimes not as proficient in writing as they are in math and sciences.

Whatever your strength, if you start searching now, you might be surprised at how many easy scholarships for high school seniors you find. And the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you’ll be to win one (or more), effectively easing your student debt before you even arrive at college.

Who Is Eligible?

Some college scholarships for high school seniors are more specific than others. As you might have noted above, the Proton OnSite Scholarship is only applicable for science and technology majors, but there are other merit scholarships for high school seniors in any major or field of study you can imagine.

When you search online for academic scholarships for high school seniors, try adding your major or the school you want to attend as a keyword. Adding these keywords can be significantly helpful in narrowing the search down to scholarships that you are eligible for.

Some scholarships do have a need-based component. To determine your eligibility for these scholarships, you’ll need to gather information on your parents’ income and tax information. If you do not meet the requirements, don’t worry about it and just move on to the next potential scholarship.

The Application Process

Most academic scholarships for high school seniors will require you to write a personal statement or essay. In addition to this, they’ll also require you to provide your transcript, and at least one letter of recommendation. Most applications are very similar, and you can even reuse your essay or personal statement (with a few tweaks and minor changes) on multiple applications, saving you time and effort.

If you keep your information and documentation organized together in one accessible place, you will be able to use it all easily and make copies as needed. This may mean keeping a scholarships folder on your computer, as you can now apply for a lot of scholarships online instead of by mail. For some, though, you may have to print everything out and send it physically to the organization you’re applying with. For these, be sure to make copies of all documents and keep them organized in case you need to access them later.

As you’re applying for a few different merit scholarships, you should also look into some of easy scholarships for high school seniors. If you can find no essay scholarships, there’s no harm in applying for them. It takes very little time, and you may be chosen to receive financial aid funding that you don’t ever have to pay back, just by filling out an application form.

It’s never too early to start looking for college scholarships. The sooner you apply and the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you’ll be to get funding for your college education.

Search and Apply for Scholarships on ScholarshipChart.com

ScholarshipChart.com helps students and parents search and apply for scholarships, grants, awards and other financial aid options to help pay for college. Whether you are a high school senior starting college or a single mom going back to school, you can find money for college through ScholarshipChart.com.