Deciding to embark upon a path of postsecondary education can be the first step toward a fulfilling career. You know you are investing in your future. But what if you need help paying for vocational training? Luckily, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities out there.
With a bit of concerted effort, you may be able to find “free money” to help fund your vocational education.
How to Find Scholarships for Vocational School Students
Where do you begin the search for vocational scholarships? It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, so it’s important to take it step by step. Make a list of potential funding sources to check out, and investigate them one at a time.
- Apply for Free Government Aid: If you are looking for funding, the best place to start is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA awards need-based government funding in the form of Pell Grants to qualified students. Not everyone will qualify, but it’s free to fill out, so there’s no harm in applying!
- Explore Internal Trade School Scholarships: Another good place to start looking for funding is in your own backyard. Start by talking to the vocational school you plan to attend, and see what opportunities they have available. Delta Technical College, for instance, offers internal scholarships for high school seniors to those who qualify.
- Contact Student Services: Even if your vocational school doesn’t offer scholarships or you’re not eligible, don’t give up there. Most schools have a Student Services department entirely dedicated to helping students complete their vocational education. Absolutely get in touch with your school’s Student Services, and see if they can help direct you to any relevant scholarships. Remember, this is their job, so don’t be shy. They want to help you.
- Research Online: There’s no shortage of information available on the Internet, and this certainly applies to vocational scholarships. There are tons of public organizations and private companies that offer specific types of vocational scholarships. It might just take a bit of digging to find the vocational scholarships that are right for you.
- Reach Out to Industry Professionals: If you know anyone in the vocational field you’re interested in, reach out to them to see if they have any insight, tips or advice for finding and applying for scholarships.
- Ask Friends and Family: You might not have to go at it alone. If you need help researching scholarships or putting an application together, reach out to friends and family for help. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Applying for Vocational School Scholarships
Once you have your list of researched scholarships, it’s time to decide which ones to go after.
- Check Eligibility. The first and most important thing to do is make sure you only apply to scholarships for which you are 100% sure you are eligible. For an obvious example, a scholarship called “Vocational Funding for Women” would make all men ineligible. Be sure to read the fine print so you don’t waste time applying to scholarships you won’t be able to win in the first place.
- Prioritize. You might be able to apply to all the scholarships you are eyeing, or you might be limited by factors such as deadlines, the time it takes to write an essay and collect any supplementary materials, or even the cost of applying. Prioritize your time based on what makes sense for you. You might aim to apply to five scholarships, and prioritize working on them based on which deadlines come first. Or you might decide to prioritize first spending your time on the scholarships you think you have the best chance of winning. Tackle your top priorities first.
- Highlight Deadlines. Organization will be key to successfully applying and winning vocational scholarships. On your research spreadsheet (or you might decide to make a new one), make sure to clearly mark each deadline so you make sure to plan ahead and get everything in on time. You don’t want to do all the work and miss the deadline!
- Compile Materials. Every scholarship application will come with a different set of requirements, so with your priority deadlines in mind, work towards gathering everything on the list of application materials. Vocational scholarship applications may require essays, transcripts, financial statements, letters of recommendation, or other supplementary documents. This is the largest part of the workload, so make sure to plan time to do everything.
- Send It In. Double check and proofread everything before you send it in, but once you have everything you need, you are ready to apply for those vocational scholarships! Reward yourself for valuing your education and investing your time and energy in your own future. You can’t win a scholarship if you don’t apply, just like you can’t get the job if you don’t apply. Appreciate your dedication to funding your vocational training. Once all your materials are sent in, celebrate and hope for the best.