Adding up the cost of tuition, books, housing, and food on top of living expenses can be overwhelming when you’re looking at college costs as a whole. There are numerous scholarship opportunities available to help lessen the financial burden, but they require time and effort to discover and apply for which can be difficult when you have your own academic, extracurricular, and social life to balance with getting ready to go to college.
This blog post will explore some of the best ways to get scholarships to study liberal arts in the USA. It will provide an overview of government scholarship programs, and discuss how private organizations can help.
What is a liberal arts education?
Liberal arts education is a type of education focused on educating students with broad general knowledge and a specific area of expertise, as opposed to professional education.
Students receiving liberal arts degrees learn general skills that can be applied throughout a variety of industries, such as critical thinking, written communication, and complex problem-solving.
In addition to these soft skills, liberal arts colleges offer plenty of classes that can help you get scholarships for college.
The cost of studying a liberal arts
First-year students often don’t realize that most liberal arts colleges are private institutions, which means their cost of attendance is significantly higher than it would be at a public school.
Despite what many people think, you do not need to come from a wealthy family to attend a liberal arts college. You can qualify for financial aid based on your GPA and test scores, but you also have other options like scholarships and grants.
Liberal arts students are eligible for federal Pell Grants, which vary by institution but typically range between $500 and $5,500 per year; some state governments offer additional grants as well.
It’s also worth looking into merit-based financial aid for excelling in high school courses like AP or IB classes. Some of these grants and scholarships are based on academic performance, while others are awarded based on financial need.
You can find out about your options by contacting your prospective schools directly, as well as researching scholarship opportunities online.
There are tons of great resources available and most of them don’t require you to submit an essay!
The benefits of studying liberal arts in the USA
Although there are many benefits of studying liberal arts in the USA, not all international students are aware of what they can gain by pursuing an academic degree in liberal arts.
Not only do these degrees hone critical thinking skills and develop the ability to research and analyze information in-depth, but they can also help you establish your professional career after graduating with the skills and knowledge needed for success.
For example, if you want to work in advertising, graphic design, or media, having a degree in English will give you the basics necessary for employment. Liberal arts degrees have other benefits too; such as providing students with an opportunity to study abroad during their course of study.
The experience of living and studying outside of your home country exposes individuals to new cultures and ideas that are invaluable for future careers.
What are the different types of scholarships available?
There are three main types of scholarships available at liberal arts colleges:
- and special interest.
Academic scholarships are awarded for strong performance in high school or at the undergraduate level.
Merit-based scholarships are given for outstanding leadership skills, artistic talent, or extracurricular activities.
Special interest scholarships are awarded for involvement in certain groups, organizations, or occupations.
Additionally, there’s another type of scholarship that many liberal art schools offer their students “need-based financial aid packages”. The funds can be used as grants (which don’t have to be paid back) or loans (which do).
Students who qualify will not only receive the funds they need but they’ll also get free tuition as well as room and board in some cases.
How do I apply for scholarships to study liberal arts in the USA?
The fact is that scholarships are among the best ways to fund your liberal arts degree and they’re just as important to many students in the US as tuition. Unfortunately, it’s easy to assume that getting a scholarship to study liberal arts in the USA is difficult and out of reach for most applicants. The reality is quite different, however. Every year, thousands of students like you receive scholarships for liberal arts degrees without even realizing it. All you need is to know where to look for them.
Here are some tips on how to get scholarships for studying liberal arts in the USA:
1. Apply for all available scholarship options at your school and be sure to include every detail about yourself on your application. Schools often have awards that students don’t even know about, so be sure you’re applying for everything. In addition, it’s important that you apply early as many schools have deadlines before May 1st each year. If you miss these deadlines, it will be much harder to get a scholarship later on.
2. Ask your teachers if they know of any awards that might be available through their departments or organizations like fraternities and sororities or other student groups at school. Many schools have these kinds of smaller, less-advertised awards, so don’t forget to ask around!
3. Keep an eye out for big national award programs and be sure you apply on time. There are many large scholarship competitions with generous prizes, but only students who apply early can win them.
4. Remember that most schools have deadlines for applying for financial aid as well as awards, so don’t forget about these important documents when it comes time to fill out your paperwork! Many schools have very specific deadlines and requirements that must be met in order to get any kind of financial aid or award, so make sure you’re up-to-date on everything before you submit your application materials.
5. Apply everywhere possible! It may seem like too much work at first, but there are hundreds of available scholarships available just waiting for someone like you to claim them. Don’t limit yourself by not applying because it seems too difficult – there is almost always some way to get help paying for school if you look hard enough!
What are the deadlines for scholarship applications?
The deadline for scholarship applications will vary based on the type of scholarship, but deadlines tend to be toward the end of the year.
Columbia University’s Lighthouse Fund applications are due in early December and they offer up to $500,000 in funding. Georgetown University’s Foundation Grant application deadlines are also near the end of December.
Other schools’ deadlines vary as well: San Francisco State University has its priority deadline at the beginning of February with the final deadline at the end of March for graduate students and for first-year undergraduates it’s mid-October through mid-January (the same dates apply to transfer students).
Most schools have some sort of financial aid due date; make sure you get those forms done by then.
What to do after getting a scholarship offer
The financial aid office at your prospective school will send you a letter with your offer. Many students respond to scholarship offers on social media and share their excitement, but what else should you do after getting an offer?
First, it’s important to understand exactly what your scholarship entails.
The criteria for every scholarship varies greatly and understanding what exactly is expected of you will help you decide whether or not it’s worth your time.
Make sure that all of your answers are clear before accepting any awards. There may be additional questions about other awards you have received or family involvement with any given organization.
Follow up immediately if there are any questions about items that are unclear so that there is no confusion down the road.
Scholarships are one of the biggest financial considerations for any college student, so knowing what resources are available to you can be a huge help.
If you’re not sure how to get scholarships from a liberal arts college in the USA, look at organizations like Phi Theta Kappa or other honor societies, which can make it easy to find scholarships and awards that require no essays or applications just verification of your membership.
The Scholarship Management Center is another option, but be prepared to do some digging if you want to find money through them. And don’t forget about outside awards: organizations like Coca-Cola and Bank of America offer scholarship programs. But these will most likely require some sort of application so don’t wait until April 15th to start searching!
What you’re really trying to figure out is whether you have any shot at all of getting scholarships from a liberal arts college in the USA. It’s going to take effort and research, but if it pays off you could end up saving thousands of dollars each year. Good luck!