Times are tough right now, but an education is the smartest investment anyone can make, especially if you're able to get a college grant. An education can open doors and provide new opportunities, as well as being mentally stimulating. College can be expensive. Approximately two-thirds of full-time college students receive some kind of financial aid. With some time and preparation, you can find a college grant that can help defray the cost of furthering yourself.
First, you need to do some research on the types of grants you will apply for. There are federal grants, state grants, college grants, professional grants, and student type grants. Federal grants are mostly need and merit based and take household income into consideration. State grants can cover any type of qualification, from those who have already attended school, to people with children, to professionals wishing to further their career within a state. There is almost no range on what college grants can cover. Some are geared to a specific area of study, others toward a type of student. The possibilities of the types of grants offered by colleges are limitless. Profession-specific may be the best if you know what you want to go to school for. There are grants for everything from music to religion or photography. The final type of grant, student type grants, give out funds for a certain type of students. There is even a grant for tall people!
Before you do your research, think about what makes you unique and why you think someone might want to help you go to school. Make a list of all your unique attributes and skills. Have you traveled all around the world? Are you fluent in several languages? Do you want to study a certain topic in college? By making a list of objectives and attributes, you will be able to easily identify the grant that could fit you.
Once you are ready to research, start with the obvious. Google "grant", along with an identifier you listed about yourself. There are many obscure grants out there that most people would not think about and, by doing a little digging with Google, you can find one that fits you. After you have done a general search, you may have an even clearer idea of what type of grant could be a fit for you. Go to Grants.gov and search using their criteria to determine what federal grants may apply to you. Also, look to general scholarship search engines. These are tools that are geared toward helping you locate your scholarship!
Once you have found the grant for you, apply! Always follow directions precisely and fully fill in any and all forms. Never leave any of the questions blank. If you think that one of the questions does not apply to you, explain why. Always be prepared to provide extra materials, like letters of reference, previous transcripts and essays. If the grant asks for an essay, make sure spend some time on it. Make it personal to you and impressive. Make sure to be neat, try to print out the form instead of hand writing it. Most importantly, pay attention to deadlines!