Scholarships are the best place to start when thinking about funding your college education. Unlike student loans for college, scholarships provide money for college that never has to be repaid. The amount of money that can be obtained through college scholarships ranges from hundreds of dollars to covering your full college tuition (aka: a full ride scholarship). Scholarships come in all different shapes and sizes, and from all different sources. Students can be awarded scholarships based on anything from academic performance to athletic performance, from minority status to financial need, and much more.
Scholarships come from a variety of different sources, with individual requirements for each scholarship. Some of the most common places that offer scholarships are employers, companies, schools, and organizations. Finding college scholarships that you qualify for can be relatively simple, as long as you have knowledge of a few basic things: A solid understanding of your personal qualifications and skill sets, and the right resources for discovering all of the scholarships available.
#1 Get To Know Yourself.
Since most college scholarships are specific to academic achievements, race, gender, career selection/degree major, etc… it will be in your best interest to make a list of your personal qualifications. These keywords will act as very useful tools when searching for college scholarships that you may qualify for. For example, a sample list of keywords could be: hispanic, women, political science, 3.7 GPA, Chicago, IL. These few keywords will really help you navigate through all the scholarships out there on the web, and may help cut down on your scholarship search time. Try different combinations of your keywords with the term “scholarships” (i.e. “scholarships for political science majors”, “scholarships for hispanic women”) when searching online to help locate scholarships that are relevant to you.
#2 Utilize Scholarship Matching Sites.
In addition to finding scholarships by searching the web, it can be helpful to utilize one or two of the major scholarship matching sites. A scholarship matching service will match you (or your child’s) qualifications and characteristics against the many scholarships in their database, making your search quick and easy. Here is a very important tip: Never Pay for Scholarships Information. If you are ever asked to pay fees for “exclusive” or “special” scholarship leads, you are most likely getting scammed. To determine if a scholarship matching site is reputable, you will want to make certain that the site is 100% free to use, and never requires any of your personal financial/banking information or social security number. You should never have to pay money to find scholarships for college. Get started with CollegeWhale’s Easiest Scholarship Search Ever. We give you fast and easy access to one of the largest online scholarship databases, with no sign up, no registration, and no personal information required.
#3 Sign Up For The CollegeWhale Weekly Scholarship Round-Up.
The Weekly Scholarship Round-Up is a free service offered by CollegeWhale. Subscribers get a list of new college scholarships delivered to their inbox each week! Click here to sign up free!
#4 Start Local And Branch Out.
Keep in mind that when searching for scholarships it is best to start locally and then branch out to nationally awarded scholarships. You will have a better chance at receiving scholarships at a local level since there is less competition.
#5 Look Offline.
Religious organizations, community organizations and professional organizations you (or your parents) are affiliated with are all great places to start your search for scholarships. Community centers and local libraries are also wonderful places to aid you in your scholarship search. Also, do not forget your employer. There are many employers (especially larger companies) who sponsor scholarships for college.
#6 Your State’s Education Department.
Check your state education department for any scholarships they may offer to their residents. This may not be as useful to those who are attending college out of state. Colleges and Universities often times offer scholarships, so do not forget to check your college or university to see what scholarship programs they offer. Again, any thing local or specific to your college will be less competitive compared to some “high profile” national scholarships.