There’s good news and bad news about scholarships! The good news first: there is a virtually unlimited number of scholarships out there! Now the bad: scholarships require a lot of work. Generally speaking, you must apply to each scholarship, many of which require an essay, a recommendation, and/or a high school transcript.
Most students report that the scholarships that are easiest to attain are the merit based awards through their schools. Some merit-based awards are given by colleges without any additional application (they base their awards on your credentials). Other schools have additional scholarships for which you must apply. These often have a rather early deadline, which is another reason to apply early!
Here are some of the most common ways to find scholarships:
- All appropriate scholarship information that the College & Career Office receives is posted weekly in the Student Services Ledger.
- Do a search at one of the following websites:
- Ask parents, relatives, and friends if their companies have scholarship programs.
- Visit the College & Career Office or local library to find scholarship books.
- Visit your prospective occupation’s professional association website. For example, the professional association for School Guidance Counselors is the American School Counseling Association. You can find the professional associations by visiting the online version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Website. Type in your occupation, click on the profile, and then scroll all the way to the bottom. You will find the association websites under “Sources of Additional Information.”
- Apply to college early (before Thanksgiving). This will maximize your chances of obtaining scholarship money.
- File the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of your senior year. This will maximize grant money and state aid.
- When searching for colleges, research each school’s scholarship page. Many schools have charts that clearly detail what you can expect to receive in merit aid. You can also find similar information on College Board. Click on the “Cost & Financial Aid” tab and read the financial aid statistics section.
PLEASE NOTE: Be very careful of scholarship scams. In general, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Also, be careful of scholarship emails that are sent to you asking for too much personal information.