Scholarships

# Different Types of Scholarships

There are many different types of scholarships targeting different set of students. Some of the scholarships are applicable to everyone (like the NMSQT) whereas the others are applicable to special interest groups (athletics, STEM, etc).

Lets go through these different type of scholarships one at a time:

### 1. Need Based Scholarships

Applying for economic scholarships based on need is quite common. These types of funds are only offered to those who can show some financial hardship. The overall dollar amount that they make or that they have access to isn’t much of a concern. It generally comes down to whether they will reasonably be able to attend the college they have been accepted to without the funds.

The process of deciding which students will get such a college scholarship is harder to determine than the scholarships that are merit-based only. There are usually some other requirements, too, to make the process easier. For example, a person may need a certain GPA or desire to pursue a degree in a particular field.

Those requirements will be weighed in along with the economic need. Most of the time, letters of recommendation also need to indicate why the need for financial assistance is so great. A personal narrative about why that scholarship is so critical is usually required as well. That way, the deciding committee will be able to get a more intimate view of those that have applied for the scholarship.

Now for a fundamental question – How do colleges decide who has an actual need?

The answer lies in a tried and tested formula that most colleges and universities use. Determining the need is a straightforward mathematics equation that computes the difference between the cost of college attendance and expected family contribution. It may be easier to understand through the following depiction

The process of calculating student need begins with students filling out the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This form asks all the relevant questions about the student’s family income and assets and then uses a formula to compute the expected family contribution. That value is then sent to the college that the student is interested in attending.

The cost of attendance is a lump sum that takes tuition, housing, books, meals, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous materials into consideration. The college’s financial aid office then applies the above-highlighted computation and comes up with the amount that the student needs. Students for whom this amount is the maximum get the most amount of money.

#### The rules that apply to Need-based Scholarships can vary

The rules that apply to need-based college scholarships can vary. You should go online and explore how they fit into the laws for where you live. In many areas, you must apply for free scholarships and other financial aid first. Then you can apply for scholarships that are economic-based after that. The process can become quite complicated once you have been approved.

You may be required to provide certain types of financial information along with economic scholarships. This way, the scholarship application reviewers can have the proof they need that you do fit that criterion. Sometimes you will have to provide that information when you apply. Other times they will only require it from the top remaining contenders. You do want to be sure you are applying for legitimate need-based scholarships, though.

Many scams out there will be under the pretense of really offering to fund for college. They will then request financial information to expose personal data, which is what they are after. Make sure you find out the reputation of scholarship offering entities before you agree to send them any types of financial records. Chances are, what you send them will affect your parents, so make sure you get their permission.

For example, you may find that the more economic scholarships for college that you earn, the more that the financial aid office will remove from your grant package. This can become frustrating, especially if you’re still running short to get the funding you need to pay for the schooling. Make sure you discuss these issues with the financial aid office so you will know exactly what to expect.

### 2. Merit Based Scholarships

There are several academic scholarships out there for those who've obtained stellar grades at school. If you believe you stand out from the crowd, you can apply for a merit based scholarship to colleges who are open to it. Financial needs does not need to be demonstrated here.

These scholarships may include housing and course materials as well as tuition, or just the tuition. It may also only be a percentage of the education. What a scholarship covers is dependent on its terms and conditions and its offerings. It may last for an academic year or the duration of your degree course. However, it will always have conditions attached, which will most likely relate to your Grade Point Average (GPA). To qualify for a merit-based scholarship, you'd have to maintain a GPA that's above a certain level.

Scholarship application forms are usually quite extensive and can take hours to fill properly. There will be thousands of candidates who apply for any scholarship, so you have to make sure that your application stands out from the crowd.

Merit-based scholarships will usually have specific eligibility criteria you will have to fulfill for your application to be acceptable:

1. GPA: Some prestigious academic scholarships are only offered to those with a 4.0 GPA. And this means a perfect record in high-school. The percentage of such students is going to be very small, so you won't have as much competition. Others will only require a 3.0 GPA or higher, so make sure you carefully look at this. Unfortunately, if you have a low GPA, you're going to have to stop thinking of academic college scholarships, and instead, focus on the ones that give importance to other areas.
2. Type of classes taken during school: The types of classes you've taken will be considered and evaluated when you apply for an academic scholarship. For example, getting an A in basic math is viewed differently from securing an A in Advanced Trigonometry. Keep all that in mind when you're selecting your class schedule in high-school as well. Yet, don't force yourself to do so if you know you can't do well in a given course. That could backfire and give you a lower overall GPA since the subjects you usually excel at could get impacted by all the attention you give to the subjects that are challenging for you.
3. Extra activities that you’ve been involved in: You will find that many academic scholarships want more than ordinary stuff. It isn't enough to simply have high grades in challenging courses. Scholarship reviewers also want to see that you've been involved in some types of activities that aren't academic. Make sure you do your best to find some extra activities to involve yourself in. If you find it too hard to incorporate extra activities with your studies, take part in community activities. You might find several that you can focus on over the summer months. It only matters that you do take part in such activities, not when you do them.

\If you have very high grades, chances are you won't have any problem getting into the college of your choice. Ensure that you carefully evaluate the financial burden of going there, though. Some of the top schools are so expensive that even with academic scholarships, you have to take loans or obtain funds in some other way. But avoid letting such issues prevent you from getting the college education you want. It will be a massive part of your future, so make sure you make good choices now.

### 3. NMSQT/PSAT: The Test Scholarships

Most high school students take numerous tests before graduation. And it's a definite possibility that in your junior or sophomore year if you live in the United States, you'll most probably take a test called the PSAT (also called the NMSQT). This test helps you to prepare for the SATs but also helps students qualify for scholarships.

Each year about 3.5 million students take this test. The PSAT measures a candidate's critical reading skills, math ability, and writing skills. It is referred to as the PSAT because it is the preliminary test associated with taking the SAT.

PSAT is conducted in October every year, and many students appear for the test in both the 10th and 11th grades. The test consists of three main sections – Evidence-based Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The PSAT score is a composite score, which is a combination of your scores from each section, making 1520 the perfect score for the test. You will be presented with two percentile ranks that give an idea about your performance compared to other test-takers in your grade.

These scores are primarily provided to calculate a selection index for each student for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students that progress to the semi-finals, or come in 99 percentile, are recognized for outstanding academic achievement.

There is a tendency among students to disregard the PSAT as a practice run when it can have a massive impact on their future in terms of scholarships and other financial awards. In truth, the SAT determines which college you go to (this, of course, needs to be backed with an all-round school performance too), but it is the PSAT that may give you the head start you need via National Merit Scholarships.

#### How do I get a scholarship using PSAT score?

PSAT scores automatically qualify for National Merit Scholarships. Your score needs to be high enough, and if you are lucky to get to the semi-final stage, you can apply for a National Merit Scholarship. The process involves filling out an application form for funding, following which a panel of judges chooses the winners of the scholarships. The application consists of a form, an essay, a list of achievements, and a list of activities that you've taken part in inside as well as outside of school. The application is then reviewed along with your academic record, and then the winners are chosen and awarded scholarships.

The Nation Merit Scholarships are funded by various large American corporations. Several of them offer their specific scholarships, but smaller. In effect, a National Merit Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards to be given out because you would be competing with all the students of your age in the country to try and win it. It can be extremely competitive, but the goal must not be lost. A scholarship like that could most definitely help you when it comes to affording college, and the prestige that comes along with it could help you to get into the college of your choice. In truth, the PSAT is there to gauge your level in comparison with your peers, and it should be used as a practice run for the actual SATs.

There are other scholarships in addition to National Merit Scholarships that are offered by corporate sponsors. Please note that the same screening process is adopted for these special scholarships as well. After you meet all the eligibility requirements, corporate sponsor scholarships additionally may require you to be children of current or past employees.

### 4. Scholarship for Students Interested in Music

Music scholarships offer a viable option for pursuing a college education at lower costs. But such scholarships are often not common as compared to scholarships in other areas like athletics and academics. Also, these scholarships are usually awarded only to top musicians from across the country.

You need to understand, the rarer the music instrument, the higher your chances of securing the scholarship. Instruments like the tuba, bassoon, harp, and oboe are some of the rarest ones and have the best scholarships. If you can seek scholarships on similar musical instruments, you are much likelier to face less competition. Also, there are scholarships for vocal music too. Each of such music scholarship considers the proficiency in the particular discipline.

#### What are the different types of music scholarships?

It is essential to understand the different kinds of scholarships available in the musical domain. Let's look at some of the prominent categories:

1. School-Issued Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded only by some colleges. The process usually includes an audition where a panel of judges grants you a chance to influence and impress them with your musical talent. One of the viable strategies to prepare for such interviews is going for mock interview sessions. You will easily find instructors and music schools that offer coaching in this regard. Believe us; the interview process becomes a walk in the park once you have gone through the process several times in mock interviews.
2. Music Department Issued Scholarship: These scholarships include the ones awarded through the music departments of large universities. Most universities offering education in a variety of domains have a music department that is always on the lookout for talent. If you wish to land these types of scholarships, please note that you can take advantage of academic scholarships only if you have a GPA that meets the university's eligibility criteria.
3. State Organized Scholarships: The scholarships in this category include the ones awarded by state institutions. Each state constitutes a 'Music Educators Association' that offers financial aid to students aiming to study music in college. Although financial assistance is not significant and rarely covers the entire cost of college education, you need to understand that most scholarships anyways won't. Most music scholarships are partial, and this should not dishearten you. Any form of financial aid is worth the trouble.
4. National Music Scholarships: "National Music Scholarships" issues several music awards, and you will surely find a list of such financial aids if you do some internet research. The process and requirements of such scholarships are rather diverse. For instance, you will encounter some results that might require you to submit your original composition as part of the application process.
5. Discipline-Specific Scholarships: These scholarships include the ones that are awarded by instrument manufacturers and performer associations. This type of scholarship might be your best bet if you play an instrument and are looking to secure a music scholarship.
6. Background-Specific Scholarships: This category usually includes scholarships awarded to students belonging to specific backgrounds and ethnicity. Mainly targeted to promote diversity among college students, these awards are relatively well established. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian Americans are bound to find a broad range of music scholarships dedicated to fulfilling their college dream. If you do not fit under the specified ethnic minority categories, you may be able to find some results under cultural heritage communities.

The key to successfully securing the scholarship is to understand the process and to maintain a positive outlook. For instance, for college-specific interviews, the interview panel is on the lookout for the best talent that fits their vision. So firstly, you need to make sure that you understand the vision of the panel.

Lastly, it would help if you kept your intentions clear. Music schools and colleges are excessively competitive. The panel will always consider talent that has absolute clarity on attending college. Remember only the most deserving candidates that desperately pursue such opportunities, get these scholarships.

Here is a list of some of the music scholarships that you can consider:

#### Scholarships for Out-of-State students

Thankfully, specific scholarships are available for out-of-state students to extend a little help! There are very few scholarships that cater to out of town applicants, though. As a result, there's much competition for such scholarships. The application process is extensive and can take months to complete. Also, similar to other scholarship applications, you have to fill in the respective form as well as write an essay and complete a list of interests and activities.

On top of everything, you also have to justify your decision to move out-of-state. Any reasons you put forward have to be logical and well reasoned for them to be considered. If any hint of emotion comes through, the reviewers may doubt your motives. But if you were going to school in another state because you wanted to pursue a specialist course, that would undoubtedly go in your favor.

Also, if you happen to have completed your first year and are then transferring to an out-of-state college, finding funding is much more comfortable. There are several scholarships offered for those looking to move, and they include some set up by individual schools aiming to attract talented students. However, in such cases, your talent would have to be already proved at the college that you are transferring from. So in effect, the scholarship offering institutions make sure that they are not taking any chances, and comparatively less justification is required.

You can use a scholarship search engine to find potential sources of funding and visit your intended school website to see what help they will offer. Additionally, you should make it a point to apply for as many scholarships as you can because the competition is fierce. A lot of students want to brighten their horizons by trying something new away from home.

Moving out of your home state can be a daunting experience, and it may make your financial troubles more poignant. But, when you look back on the experience, you'll realize that the preparation made it more accessible. It's not an experience that you'll look back at and regret in any way!

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