College Prep Information

Paying for College

Even if you are not sure that you will need financial aid, we recommend that you fill out a FAFSA. It's the first step towards getting financial aid.

You can now transfer your data from OKcollegestart.org directly to the
U.S. Dept of Education's online FAFSA on the WEB financial aid application! Just use your OKcollegestart.org username and password to get started.

College is an investment in your future for which you should start planning now. Fortunately, the cost of attending an Oklahoma state college or university is among the lowest in the nation, and many sources of financial aid are available to help manage the cost.

As you might imagine, various factors can affect college expenses, including the type of college or university, the number of courses a student takes, the student's major, and his or her personal lifestyle. One way to prepare for the cost is for you and your parents to begin saving for college as soon as possible because the more you save, the less you'll need when you start college.

Applying for financial aid is a very important step for many students. There are resources available to guide you through the application process if you need help or have questions. Start early to prepare yourself for the financial aid process, along with all other aspects of the college experience, using the Planner Timeline. This is an important moment, and early preparation will help you make the best possible decisions for your future.

Take some time to read through the next few pages. OKcollegestart.org will teach you the basics and help you get started!

How Much Does College Cost? Planning Ahead for the Cost of College Types of Aid Sample Financial Aid Package Tips for Borrowing and Repaying Student Loans FAQs About Financial Aid Start Your FAFSA Glossary of Acronyms and Terms Related Financial Aid Websites Financial Aid Tools Financial Aid Publications Managing Your Money Ask an Expert

Tips for Applying

 
  1. To apply for federal financial aid (grants, work-study and loans) and some state programs, you must complete a form called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during your senior year in high school. See your counselor for a copy of the form or call the college(s) you plan to attend. The FAFSA is also available online at FAFSA on the Web (step-by-step instructions are provided on this site) or by calling toll-free 800.4.FED.AID.
  2. Check for scholarships sponsored by local organizations such as your church; parent's place of employment; and civic and community clubs such as the American Legion, YMCA, 4-H Club, Elks, Masons, Kiwanis, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, and the Girl or Boy Scouts.
  3. Talk with your counselor about local and/or college and university sources of financial aid.
  4. Contact the admissions or financial aid offices at the schools you are interested in attending. View Campus Tours and click on college you are interested in to find  Financial Aid Office information.
  5. Research scholarship and grant opportunities at your local library as well as online. A list of online financial aid information is provided under Online Resources. The Internet can be a powerful tool to find funding for college! Don't forget to use the same caution on scholarship sites that you would with any other site on the Internet, especially if you are asked to provide personal information.

    In performing your own Internet search, use keywords that apply to your situation, including:

    • The field you want to study. Look for professional organizations in that field. For example, a search for “engineering scholarships” results in several links from groups like the SAE, an association of professional engineers. Try keywords like “history,” “science,” “dentist,” “music," etc.
    • The region of the country/world you’re from, including high school, city, county, state, country, etc.
    • The region of the country/world where you’d like to study.
    • Your gender (some private scholarships are awarded only to males or only to females).
    • Your age, especially if you are a “non-traditional” student. Students are considered non-traditional if they are returning to college after spending some time away from education or are attending college for the first time. Typically, non-traditional students are 25 or older.
    • Your ethnicity/minority status.
    • Any disability you or your parents have.
    • Veteran status of yourself or parents.
    • A skill or activity you enjoy, an achievement you’re proud of or interesting facts about yourself. There are scholarships for everything from knitting to wearing duct tape clothing to being left-handed.
    • Student organizations you are involved with (FFA, FHA, DECA, VICA, Key Club, etc.).
    • Community organizations, especially those in which you or your parents participate, such as religious organizations and civic organizations like Rotary or Lions Club, etc.
    • Your parent's or your employer, especially if it is a large company or corporation.

Sample searches: scholarship sociology, scholarship oklahoma city, scholarship methodist, scholarship oklahoma city corporation, scholarship wal-mart, scholarship murray county, scholarship knitting, scholarship pawhuska high school, scholarship hispanic female, scholarship rural student

Try searching both “scholarship” and “scholarships,” as you will get different results. Also try multiple forms of other words, for example, dentist/dentistry and disabled/disability/disabilities.

Be sure you note the eligibility requirements, instructions and deadlines for scholarships. Follow them carefully! Don’t give them a reason not to consider you for the award.

Some of these hints can also be useful in searching for pre-college or summer opportunities, like camps and academies, for younger students. Examples: summer science academy oklahoma, music camp oklahoma, etc.

Web site addresses can change, so if you have problems accessing a site, try these suggestions:

  • Try the link in a shortened form. For example, if www.coca-colascholars.org/programs.html wasn't working, you could try www.coca-colascholars.org and look for the scholarship information from the home page. Look for such keywords as "scholarship programs," "education," "students," "community," "philanthropy," "fellowships," etc.
  • Search for the name of the scholarship or keywords in an Internet search engine. For example, a search for “coca-cola two year college scholarships” in Google will lead you to the link to the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.


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