Ever feel like you're drowning in a sea of information when you research scholarships? It's daunting to search for money for school, but remember that you're never alone in the process.
You've probably already turned to your parents for help, and while that's a great first step, you might be forgetting there's a much wider network of people you know who can help you find scholarships to pay for college.
1. Your guidance counselor: Your counselor isn't just there to help you decide which classes to take and which schools might be a good fit. He or she is also there to act as a resource who can help you figure out how to pay for school.
Ask if your high school offers any scholarships for graduating seniors or if your counselor knows of any university-specific awards you may qualify for. You may learn of some scholarships you never knew existed.
2. Your boss: If you're one of the millions of high schoolers who works a part-time job, you're in luck. Your manager is a great person to ask about scholarships for college. Some companies grant part-time workers money to help them further their education, which can help you put a dent in your tuition bill. But don't stop there. Your boss may be able to give you the scoop on some scholarships he or she qualified for in college, especially if you're attending your manager's alma mater.
3. Your coach: Most high school athletes don't get full scholarships to their first-choice colleges. However, being an average athlete who doesn't want to go pro doesn't disqualify you from earning some money for school.
If you play a school sport, turn to your coach with questions about scholarships – you may get some insight about awards that don't require you to have made a certain number of tackles or have a minimum batting average. You may even hear about some scholarships that have absolutely nothing to do with sports and don't require you to play at the college level.
4. Your extended family members: Mom and Dad probably know all the details of your college and scholarship search. So why aren't you sharing this information with your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents?
Rather than just telling family members where you'd like to attend school, let them know you're on the hunt for money to pay for it. You never know who works for a company that offers big scholarships for incoming freshmen and who's involved with a local club that gives high-achieving students awards for college tuition.
5. Your college admissions representative: If you've already gotten into a school, reach out to your admissions representative and ask about scholarships. You may get some great information about awards you qualify for based on your background, intended major or academic history. Your admissions representative wants you to attend that school, so he or she will be a great resource for students concerned about tuition costs.
Being too timid to ask the people who know you best if they know about available scholarships won't get you anywhere. Next time you talk to your coach at practice or run into your counselor in the hall, take a moment to tell that person you're actively looking for scholarships. You may feel awkward broaching the subject, but that moment of discomfort has the potential to pay off in a big way.