As you may know from personal experience, many students understand that getting scholarships for college is a great way to save money, but they do not understand where to find the scholarships. The entire subject can seem confusing and even frightening to a new student. However, scholarship searching need not be difficult. Using these six painless methods you can find scholarships quickly and easily.
- Financial Aid Office – If you are still in high school, contact your school’s college help office. The people working there are committed to helping you succeed and are normally more than happy to help you find scholarships. Remember though, these people are in charge of helping hundreds of students, so their time will be somewhat limited. If you are already in college, you should visit your college’s financial aid office. The people working there can help you learn whether you are eligible for any scholarships or grants directly from your college. This money is normally awarded based on demonstrated financial need, but some money is also provided for academic or athletic achievers.
- Online Scholarship Search Engines – You can also find scholarships for college using online search engines such as Fast Web (fastweb.com) or College Board (collegeboard.com). These “scholarship searches”, as they are called, are one of the best-known ways to find scholarships. Unfortunately, they are not extremely accurate. After you enter your information, including interests, SAT/ACT scores, financial status, etc., they provide you with scholarships that they think fit your interests and abilities. The problem is that these programs are not highly accurate, so you will have to spend hours (literally) sorting through your results.
- Your Family – Ask your family – parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles – if they know of any scholarships for college. Also, ask them what groups and organizations they are a part of. Often, clubs will offer scholarships that are only available to members or relatives of members. These are great opportunities because few people will be able to enter which will increase your chance of winning! Your family – both immediate and extended – can be an excellent resource when looking for scholarships.
- Your Employers – Did you know that many companies offer grants and scholarships for college that are only available to their past and present employees? Ask you, supervisor, if he knows of any scholarships or grants offered by your company. Many fast food restaurants that hire teen employees offer special scholarships. Because these scholarships are only available to employees, you will not have as much competition which will increase your chance of winning. Make sure to check for these hidden jewels before moving on to more generic scholarships!
- Your Local Newspaper – Many local scholarship sponsors advertise in the local newspaper. Make sure to check the classifieds regularly to find these scholarship opportunities. Local scholarships are an excellent opportunity because, once again, they will have lower competition – increasing your chance of winning. Try to check you local newspaper at least once a week to find new scholarships for college.
- Your Network – Another excellent way to find scholarships is by asking your network. Hopefully, you have already invested time in building a solid network of friends and advisers. If you haven’t, do that now. If you do have your network ready, now is the time to start using it. Contact everyone on your network, tell them what major you are looking into, explain to them what your plan is, and ask them to keep their eye out for scholarships that would fit your interests and abilities. If you have a strong network, this can be one of the best ways to find scholarships for college!
Once you have found good scholarships, fill out your forms, write your essays, and send in your applications. Even if you do not win your first scholarship, keep trying. As in most of life, persistence is the key to success!