Money should never hinder you from going to the college that you want. There are millions of scholarships out there that you can apply for! You may not know it, but there are other types of scholarships, other than academic or athletic scholarships, that will pay for (or help you pay for) school.  You also can apply for multiple scholarships that may not pay for your entire school tuition, but will help out with some of the costs. The more scholarships you apply for, the more you can get or qualify for, and that can really make a difference. Let’s face it: college is expensive, and even the smallest amount helps!

If you did not get a cheerleading scholarship to a major college, don’t worry about it! Practically every college has a sports program although some of those schools may not have the money to send out scouts all over the country to look for cheerleaders. If you find a school you are interested in, put an application video together, and contact the scouts at the schools you want to apply to. These schools are always looking for talented cheerleaders like yourself, but you might have to be more proactive to get those scholarships. If you put in the legwork, your hard work could pay off big time with a full or partial athletic scholarship.

Academic scholarships are hard to come by, but are not impossible. Do you have a high grade point average? Is it a 3.5 or higher, and you scored over 1,200 on your SAT’s? You may qualify for academic scholarships! Academic scholarships tend to have the highest payout over other scholarships, but they are harder to come by. When looking at colleges, be sure to see what kind of scholarships they give out and how many they offer per year. Keep in contact with these schools, and see if you can apply for any academic scholarships that you qualify for. Colleges want the best and the brightest, and they are willing to supply scholarships to these kind of students. Be sure to call the colleges and speak with the financial aid or the student aid department, and see what your choice school can do for you and your unique situation.

Maybe you are just an average student, or an average athlete–there are scholarships for you, too!  Students can earn scholarships for anything and everything: scholarships for women, minorities, for doing community service, and for outreach programs. There are programs for low-income to state scholarships. There are also contests that offer scholarships to students for writing essays, or taking the best picture; the contests may not cover your full tuition, but they can advertise a grand prize from anywhere between a hundred to thousands of dollars! Plus, with a contest, you can enter as many as you want to, and that money can really add up!

You may not know this, but there are also sweepstakes you can enter for scholarships. The downside to sweepstake giveaways is that some may be shadier than you think. Thus, always be sure to look into the legitimacy of sweepstakes before you enter any personal information. If something is too good to be true, it probably is! Again, money should never be a reason not go to college, or to not go to the college you want to go to. There are millions of scholarships and grants you can apply for to make your dream college experience come to life. All you need to do is look around, do your homework, be diligent, and above all, remain proactive. The more you look and the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are to get one. You are a cheerleader: you know how to work hard, so get out there and get those scholarships!

What else should cheerleaders know about college scholarships? How did you win a scholarship to college? Share your stories in the comments!