When individuals think of scholarships, they automatically think of those offered by large companies and the larger academic bodies. In other words, they automatically think of those named after major academic figures that the majority of students consider applying for, meaning they get close to a million applications every year. However, there is an easier way to get a scholarship and that is to look far closer to home. Indeed, regardless of what university or college you plan to attend, you will find that the institution awards at least one scholarship every year, with the majority of the larger colleges offering scholarships in almost every department as well as for academic excellence, outstanding ability and specialist scholarships that are, again, named after famous alumni. It is therefore feasible that you could apply for several scholarships within the institution that you wish to attend!
Institutional scholarships are nothing new, but a low percentage of students apply for them when they are compared with more nationally renowned scholarship programs. They also tend to offer more scholarships overall. Of course, only a few of them would be full scholarships, but even a minor scholarship to cover housing or course materials would be better than nothing and would save you stress and heartache in the short term.
If you need an example of the level of scholarships offered at the larger universities and college, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill actually has a department dedicated to scholarships and financial aid! They have advisers ready to assist you in your search for help, and they are trained to assess your need for need-based, non-need-based and outside sources of scholarships and aid. They also offer guidance on merit-based scholarships too. In fact, if you do get chance to visit their website, you will be shocked at the sheer options every student is given! It is the same at any other large institution. There have to be a vast number of aid packages available because students may otherwise be unable to get through their degree course.
The application process for individuals looking to apply for help with college fees via scholarships is basically the same as if they were to apply for an outside scholarship. However, all scholarships have slight differences between them in terms of the application procedure so make sure that you read all guidelines very carefully before filling anything in. You may also need to assess your eligibility first, and there are a number of online calculators that can be used, but you will often find one alongside the application instructions of every scholarship online.
There are distinct benefits of applying for institutions offered scholarships. The first is that you are not left hanging for as long as you would be if you applied for a nationally recognized scholarship that you could take almost anywhere with you. As there are fewer applicants to sort through and the university recognizes the value of giving you a chance to look elsewhere for funding if necessary, they generally tend to let you know within a few weeks instead of keeping you hanging on for months. After all, you are attending their university!
Another advantage is that, even if you get turned down, it gives you knowledge of the scholarship and grant system within your institution, which will ultimately prepare you for applying again the following year if you so wish! An innate knowledge of the way the funding system works is essential if you are to attempt it again, so the first attempt should be looked upon as a trial and part of the learning process if you do happen to be turned down.
As far as institutional scholarships are concerned, you have absolutely nothing to lose by applying. You do not have to compete with the rest of the country, just the university applicants who are going for it at the same time as you. Applying can be a chore, but if you do not ask then you do not get!