Have you already decided on the college you want to attend, or are you in total limbo trying to get a handle on which colleges fit your educational needs and more importantly, your financial situation. There are student loans and scholarships available to help you, but it can become an overwhelming task to navigate the vast source of information you need to determine a course of action.
Many college scholarships are available to help you. There are college scholarships tailored towards particular fields of study, based on your grade point average, your ACT and/or SAT scores, and even awarded to children and or siblings of Alumnus or current students.
But the thing to note is that you don't have to be an academic genius or have a 4.0 GPA to qualify for many scholarships, in fact some even estimate that is a majority of scholarships. Of course there are scholarships for academic achievement where a high GPA is a requirement, but gone are the days when only high GPA students or the outstanding jocks or the musical geniuses were eligible for scholarships,
The cost of attending college can vary greatly, depending on the school, geographical location, or just name recognition. State institutions of higher learning are generally less expensive than private institutions. State colleges have lower tuition for in state students, and the tuition for out of state students can be more than double. Even as an in-state resident at a state university, tuition for a year will likely be more than $5000, and at private schools, easily twice that. Then you have books, where those can cost another $500 per semester, and lodging, even in the dorm or college housing, will be about $7500 per year or more. The particular college you have chosen may be a bit more or less, but those figures get you in the ballpark.
Research local college scholarships first, as there may be some great programs offered by local schools, corporations, health-care institutions, or even local philanthropists. Your high school guidance counselor should be the first person to look to for advice on determining which college scholarship programs meet your specific needs and interests, and to help you navigate the application process. Your local library is another good source of research into college scholarships. There probably are sources of assistance known to members of your extended family as well as your friends and their families. The internet has a plethora of contacts to pursue in your quest for information on college scholarships.
You should research the many large national scholarships such as the Gates scholarship funds, those offered by branches of the U.S. military branches, National Merit Scholarship Foundation, college scholarships offered by Coca Cola, and hosts of corporate funded scholarship programs.
The key is to get out there and apply for as many scholarships as you can find. The students who do so can be awarded multiple scholarships, and some even graduate from college with almost zero student debt to be repaid, which takes a tremendous load off your shoulders.