Finding College Scholarships
Any ideas as to how to get scholarship lists?
Finding Scholarships: Counselor and PSAT
Here are my tips on scholarships:
- Talk to your high school guidance counselor. Find out what resources are available and make good use of them. Before you say, "but my high school has 1800 students and only two counselors," keep in mind they work all week and may as well spend some of that time helping you. If you don't ask, you won't get any help at all.
- Take the PSAT. You will get tons of mail from colleges and it's the qualifying exam for National Merit Scholarships. National Merit scholars often get many other offers as well, because colleges and universities like the prestige of having them in the student body.
Finding Scholarships: College Board
For the reader looking for scholarship info, I just discovered this site today, and it's very complete: www.collegeboard.org/index.html
Finding Scholarships: From a Former College Aid Consultant
I was once a consultant for students trying to find scholarships. I quit when the information began to show up on the Internet. I felt a little guilty charging people for something they could get for free. A good site to begin is www.finaid.org Here you will find sources such as FastWeb that will do searches for free. There is also a ton of information at this site.
The first step students need to take is asking their counselor for the FAFSA form and fill it out immediately. They will need this form for almost all scholarships. Students should begin looking into scholarships their junior year. Many scholarships have fall deadlines for application and these dates are already past.
Finding Scholarships: "Winning Scholarships"
I read in the reader questions that Michael is looking for scholarship lists. I assume he is wanting information on scholarships avaiable to apply for. I would suggest that he go to the library and request Winning Scholarships for College by Marianne Ragins, The Scholarship Book by Daniel J. Cassidy, and Cash for College by Cynthia Ruiz McKee and Phillip C McKee Jr. These three books will not only give name and addresses of available scholarships, but also give him an inside look of what goes on and how to apply for scholarships.
Finding Scholarships: Fastweb
Go to www.fastweb.com. This is an excellent source. You provide specific information to tailor the search. The search is updated frequently. You can print the inquiry letter directly from the website!
Finding Scholarships: Start at the Library
Many public and local college libraries will have references books on the scholarships and fellowships which are offered by national organizations. These are broken down by categories, such as occupational pursuits or demographic characteristics of the applicant. You should also make inquiries to your perspective colleges about special scholarships set up through them by alumni associations and benefactors.
To improve your chances of receiving a scholarship, apply early and have people identified to write good letters of recommendation. Many scholarships require an interview process, so look into workshops or books on effective interview techniques. Most scholarships are not all inclusive, so look into financial aid loans, and Pell Grants at your prospective college's financial aid office.
Finding Scholarships: Service Organizations
One place to start looking for scholarships is contacting various social or community service organizations in your area (check yellow pages) such as Kiwanis, Women's Club, etc. Ask if they award college scholarships and what their criteria are. They may be smaller amounts, but they all add up. Also, ask prospective colleges if there are any competitive scholarships offered by the college itslef or the foundations/corporations which support the college.
Jennifer T. C.
Finding Scholarships: Find Unknown Scholarships
There are a couple of books I bought a few years ago called Free Money for College and Free Money for Graduate School. There are many scholarships out there, but sometimes you are required to write essays, be in particular groups, etc. Keep in mind, however, that no one else (or very few people) may be applying for the same scholarship, and they may be easy to win. Parents should check whether employers offer scholarships to children of employees. My employer does, but it's not well known.
Another important factor is whether the scholarship will simply be added into the financial aid package offered by the college of your choice. This is unfortunate, but it sometimes happens. I won a small scholarship to college, but it simply diminished the amount of the grant awarded me by the college. It wasn't "extra money" to me. This doesn't happen with all scholarships, but it's important to check.
Finding Scholarships: From a College Librarian
Go directly to your local library. If you have a college or university library in your area, even better. The average library should have plenty of books listing scholarships and their requirements. (I'm a librarian at a large university library, where we have an entire table devoted to books on scholarships and grants.) That's the best place to start, and many of the books will have information on how to contact programs and organizations that offer money for school. Try the scholarship offices at the schools you're interested in, too.