How To Find College Scholarships
To most students, scholarships are an attractive option for funding college, since you never have to repay the money. Essentially, scholarships are a free source of money for your education. If you’re not sure where to look for these opportunities, try the following sources:
Your High School Guidance Counselor
During your junior year, approach your guidance counselor to talk about available scholarships in your area. Although many are only offered to seniors, by talking to school officials early, they’ll know that you’re interested and think of you when they hear of new scholarships. Most of the scholarships you’ll get through your guidance counselor will be local, offered directly from your high school or neighborhood businesses and organizations, so you may not be able to find out about these funds in any other way.
It’s beneficial for the whole country when more people go to school, so many government departments offer scholarships to the most talented students in the United States. Some of the scholarships require a specific educational path (such as a degree in a certain field), while others are based on essays or other requirements. Check out this directory for more information about scholarships available through the government.
Once you narrow down your choices and choose a college, you should check out the information they have available about institutional scholarships. Most colleges offer scholarships based on your SAT scores and high school grades, and all you have to do to qualify is submit your information. This can cut tuition costs in half – or more. Your college may also offer scholarships for students who excel in sports, music, speech, or other areas, and departments within the college may offer funds to students as well. Talk to your college’s financial aid office to learn more.
Although you’ll have less competition for scholarships from local organizations, there are also scholarships available from national organizations, such as the Scouts and the Kiwanis. With these scholarships, you’ll be competing for funds with thousands of other students, but the advantage is that you have the chance to receive much more money than you would from smaller, local businesses and organizations in most cases. FastWeb.com is a great place to start your scholarship hunt.
Start searching for scholarships early, and continue looking for opportunities while you are in college, since many scholarships are available to undergraduates and even grad school students. Make sure you read the application carefully so that you fulfill all of the requirements, keeping in mind that all scholarships have strict deadlines. To apply, you might need letters of recommendation, so ask teachers, employers, coaches, and other people who know you well ahead of time so they can be prepared to serve as references.
Need more scholarship application tips? Check out this page at the University of New Mexico’s website.