Is it really worth spending precious time conducting an exhaustive and thorough scholarship search?
If that is the question that’s topmost on your mind, consider this:
- Prioritize your financial aid opportunities! Scholarships are the best way to get free money towards your college education. Unlike loans, you do not have to pay back any money that you win by way of scholarships.
- There is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply to.
- There is also no limit to the amount of money you can accept by way of scholarships (though it will too many scholarships will affect the amount in institutional aid you might receive)
When you consider just these factors, it’s easy to see that it is definitely worth spending as much time as you can conducting a thorough scholarship search. If you are really lucky, you could win enough awards to fund your full tuition fees so you do not have to borrow any money.
So How Do You Conduct A Thorough Scholarship Search?
There are several free resources that you could explore to find great scholarships that you may be eligible for.
Start your search on the internet – Just doing an online search for scholarships will give you thousands of results for just about any criteria you can think about. Filter each of these results and look for those that are applicable to you. Create a spreadsheet to organize your search and make a note of all the relevant scholarships, along with the link to the application page, the application requirements, and the application deadline.
Check with your parents’ company – Many companies offer scholarships to their employees’ children as a perk. It’s definitely work looking into. If you are working, even part-time, it could be worth a shot to ask your employer too about scholarship awards.
Inquire with any academic professional – School counselors, financial aid offices, school teachers, and college professionals are valuable sources of information. They hear about scholarship opportunities all the time from other faculty and from students who have won awards. They would be only too happy to pass those details on to any student who asks.
Read the local papers – Many local businesses, community organizations and civic groups offer scholarships to encourage members of the community to attend college and get a degree. They often advertise these opportunities in the classified ads of the local newspapers.
Browse through community boards and the local library reference section – In addition to the local newspapers, organizations also advertise opportunities through community boards and local libraries. Don’t overlook a local scholarship.
Check with the religious organization that you belong to – Several religious organizations award financial aid to followers of their faith by way of scholarships. These may or may not be advertised. It pays to ask.
Check with ethnicity-based organizations – Ethnicity-based organizations also award much-needed financial assistance so that their members get the opportunity to go to college. As with religious organizations, these may or may not be advertised. You can find out more information from a relevant office or the community center.
A Look at the Different Types of Scholarships that are Available
If you have never done a scholarship search before, you are in for a pleasant surprise. There are scholarships available out there for just about any attribute or skill that you can think about.
The two most highly coveted and also the most competitive scholarships are awarded for athletic skills and academic merit.
- Athletic skills – this could be for any sport that you excel in. Athletic scholarships are highly competitive and you need to be at the top of your game to win under this category.
- Academic merit – this is awarded for high grades and other academic accomplishments. This is another highly competitive category. You have to work hard and maintain high grades throughout high school to qualify.
Listed below are just some of the numerous types of scholarship opportunities that you can apply for depending on your skills, attributes and accomplishments.
- Military Service
- Community Service
- Being multilingual
- Creativity in arts
- Music: vocal or instrumental
- Pursuing a particular major
Of course, no scholarship list would be complete without including at least some of the many unique scholarships that are out there.
- Speaking Klingon
- Making the most creative Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich
- Being taller than a certain height
- Being a natural redhead
- Writing an essay on how you would stay alive in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse
- Creating a duct tape prom dress
3 Important Things to Keep in Mind
Because scholarship awards are free money, you should expect that every opportunity will have competition. Don’t let that discourage you. If you meet the eligibility criteria, it is worth taking the time to put together and send in your application.
Make sure you read all the requirements carefully and send in an application that meets all criteria. With so many other students applying for the same scholarship, any application that does not meet the requirement will be rejected without a second thought.
Make a note of the application deadline and send in your application well within the deadline. Most organizations will not extend the deadline under any circumstances. Any application that comes in after the deadline will just not be accepted.
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