Scholarships

There are so many scholarships out there, where do I start? Start anywhere, but START! Too often students/parents procrastinate the scholarship search and wait till the last moment. Did you know there are scholarship opportunities at just about every grade? Yes even at a very young age! There are more than 2,000 programs, totaling around $6 billion.

Beware of scholarship scams! DO NOT pay any organization or individual to apply for scholarships or for scholarship lists. Legitimate scholarships NEVER ask for an application fee. Plenty of websites and resources available online and at colleges for US Citizens and Residents.

Common Myths about scholarships

  • Scholarships are only for top athletes and scholars
    • Many different types of scholarship: merit-based, need-based, student-specific, career-specific, college-specific, interest-specific
    • Many consider attributes other than academic or athletic performance
  • Most awards are small and not worth the effort
    • Several small scholarship ($250 - $1000) can add up to a big amount
    • More scholarships means less loans
    • Some scholarships request only letters of recommendation and transcript
  • You should begin your scholarship search during senior year
    • Never too early to start
    • High school seniors should apply for scholarships throughout their senior year
  • Scholarship competition is too intense
    • Local, lesser-known scholarships may be less competitive than national scholarships
    • Spending 50 hours applying to several scholarships and winning a few scholarships, totaling $2,000, is like earning $40/hour
  • The scholarships applicaiton process is a one-time thing
    • Not all scholarships are annually renewable; give preference to four year scholarships
    • Continue searching for scholarships throughout senior year and college

Benefits of Scholarships

  • Recognition - If you receive a scholarship, you can give yourself a pat on the back. When you are recognized for your accomplishments it gives you the confidence to pursue other goals. It is important to recognize their own potential early in their academic career so that they foster it's growth.
  • Provide you with Financial Support - May be you are one of the lucky students who aren't relying on financial assistance, but if you are like the rest of us, every bit can help. Why not start at scholarships early in the process? Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid.
  • Additional Benefits - Some scholarships offer summer internships components, provide you a leg up to get into a selective university. They can also help you stand out from the rest of the crowd.

How do I start?

Start searching as soon as possible. If you wait until spring to start searching in your senior year, you will miss half the deadlines. Best time to apply is NOW. Conduct a search throughout the year. To begin finding scholarships, students should consult a variety of resources:

  • Discuss scholarship availability with college financial aid advisor
  • Check the college website for scholarships ; Deadlines are usually around November to December
  • Maintain contact with your high school counsellor throughout the process
  • Ask questions about previous scholarships awarded to students in your school
  • Use free scholarship matching services like Fastweb or Schoalarships.com - DO NOT pay
  • Use search terms specific to your skills "fencing scholarships" or "corporate scholarships"
  • Visit your local library to check for local scholarships
  • Check out scholarship books such as "The Scholarship Book, 13th Edition" for a hardcopy list of private-sector scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans. If you plan on using books to look-up scholarships, be sure to check the publication date.
  • Form a group to share scholarship opportunities
  • Use your peers for support and ideas as you go through the college application and scholarship process
  • It is simply a numbers game - Even among talented students, who wins involves a bit of luck, not just skill. To win more scholarships, apply to more scholarships, but only if you qualify. You simply can win, if you don't apply.
  • Tips on Winning Scholarships
    • Prioritize your applications by deadline and the expected value of the scholarship
    • Use a calendar and checklist to get organized
    • Create an accomplishments resume
    • Tailor your application to the sponsor's goals
    • Read and follow the instructions
    • Make your application stand out from the crowd
    • Ask to be nominated
    • Practice on a copy of the application form
    • Use a professional email address, such as firstname.lastname@gmail.com
    • Clean up the content of your Facebook account, removing inappropriate and immature material
    • Google your name to see what shows up
    • Make a photocopy of your application before mailing it
    • Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested or with delivery confirmation
    • If rejected, ask for the reviewer comments

Resources

Scholarship Search Engines

National Scholarships

State Scholarships

International and Undocumented Students