A lot of students attend BC in hopes of completing an associate degree. With the ever increasing college tuition, even more do so to transfer to a 4-year university afterwards, trying to save up as much as possible before they start shelling out $30K every year at a private 4-year university.
With that in mind, any ways to help reduce the cost of education is worth a go and scholarships are definitely one of the go-tos. The only thing that’s in the way of a lot of us is that there are so many different scholarships out there, you simply have no idea how, where and when to start applying for one.
There are many ways to find out more about scholarships. The easiest is to google it. As unbelievably easy as it seems, that is actually one of the ways you can obtain the most information from. If you think that is too vague of a tip, hopefully this step by step guide will be useful.
Step 1: Getting Organized
First off, complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Form. For more information, you can visit www.fafsa.ed.gov. The school code of Bellevue College is 003769.
Often times applying for scholarships require a number of documents (and even more when you are attempting several applications at the same time), in that case keeping all the scholarship related materials in one binder or folder will prevent you from losing any significant paperwork.
Also, scholarship applications usually mean dealing with various deadlines. Obviously you don’t want to ruin your chance of getting a scholarship simply due to a missed deadline. So, try to keep a calendar in hand and enter all the deadlines and contact information for the scholarships to make sure you are staying on track.
Step 2: Letters of Recommendation
Letter of recommendation is a must for scholarship applications. Sponsors most of the time require 2 to 3 letters of recommendation (one academic or professional and one personal).
Writing a letter of recommendation is not an easy task, so always allow the letter writer enough time, at least three weeks notice. Expecting them to produce a nice letter on short notice is not respectful, so you should always be prepared for a NO and have a list of backup writers.
You may ask someone who knows you well to write your letter, a teacher, an employer, an advisor or even a religious leader. Just bear in mind not to ask a family member.
Step 3: Essays and Personal Statements
When it comes down to essay writing, always remember sponsors want to know who you are, so include your experiences and not just why you need the money. Focus on writing your life story and your passion for your education.
The Writing Lab on campus offers free quarterly workshops that can help in improving writing skills. Check out http://bellevuecollege.edu/writinglab/ for additional information.
Step 4: Searching for Scholarships
There are lots of ways to search for scholarships, below are some very useful websites:
BC’s scholarship website: www.bellevuecollege.edu/scholarships/
Pacific Northwest Scholarship Guide: http://www.collegeplan.org/cpnow/pnwguide/instruct.htm
You can also fill out a profile on www.fastweb.com (be specific) and they will email you scholarships that match your profile.
Step 5: Application Process
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when you are that close to getting a scholarship. Always make a few copies of the application and give yourself adequate time to mail applications. Read the directions carefully and always check to ensure you are submitting a complete application packet. Last but not least, make another copy of your completed application packet before mailing it.
For more information, please visit http://bellevuecollege.edu/scholarships and good luck with your application!