Cash for college doesn’t grow on trees, but there are a ton of scholarship opportunities available for you if you’re willing to put in some time and effort.
When searching for scholarships, we suggest you:
• Start early
• Only use FREE searches
• Apply to as many as possible
• Seek out less competitive scholarships
• Beware of scams
• Exhaust all your options
Where to look:
• Your College – Most colleges have a certain amount of money allocated for student scholarships. You’ll likely need to be admitted to the college to qualify. Check with the student services office for additional information. Don’t forget about checking within your department too. If you have a specific degree in mind, there could be specific scholarship monies available for students in that program.
• Charities & Foundations – National and local organizations sometimes have scholarship funds available. ScholarshipAmerica.org has private scholarships listed through these types of organizations. Check in with local organizations that you are affiliated with: your church, etc.
• Organizations – Start with you (or your spouse’s) employer to see if scholarship funds are available there. Large organizations like Target and others offer national scholarships in large sums. For something less competitive, look locally at businesses in your region. Your local chamber of commerce might have a list of this information for you. Again, if you have a specific career path in mind, professional organizations within that field may offer scholarships to students enrolling in those programs.
• High School Counselor – Even if you haven’t been enrolled in high school recently, the high school counselor might be willing to help you out. They likely get email notifications of available scholarships. Stop in and ask about scholarships for non-traditional or first-generation students.
• Library or Bookstore – Publishers have put together scholarship guides that can be easier to search than websites. Check locally or online for these types of books.
• Online – There are hundreds of websites for you to search for scholarships. Finding scholarships you qualify for can be time and labor intensive. Never pay a website to do scholarship searches. We suggest these free (and reputable) search sites:
o The SallieMae Fund
Contributor: Nicole Seifert, Online Student Advisor