Some people can afford any education they want. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us are not quite so lucky. For the rest of us, there exist scholarships: financial aid, which does not have to be repaid, that is given to selected individuals.
I personally prefer the following definition for scholarships: “free money for those willing to work for it.” With a little energy on your part, finding college scholarships does not have to be difficult. You simply have to know where to look (and where not to look).
- Individual Institutions: Many colleges have scholarship opportunities for their students.
- Corporations: Corporations often offer scholarships to the children of employees (and past employees), many times these offers are extended throughout the community of the business (especially local businesses).
- Religious Organizations: Religious organizations may offer scholarships to students entering bible college/seminary, or simply students of the same sect/denomination.
- Military: The military offers many different scholarships, though a tour of duty is usually mandated in return.
- Private Organizations, School Districts, Unions, etc…
While not an exhaustive list, hopefully the point is clear: the money is out there. It may take some searching, a bit of writing, finagling, bothering teachers, the like, but if there are people giving out money for college – why not benefit? A little financial planning can help get your college career off on the right financial footing.
I’m Not An Exceptional Writer Or Student – Why Should I Care?
Scholarships aren’t solely for the geniuses and English majors. Some scholarships select winners by way of raffle, such as College Prowler’s “No Essay” Scholarship, which selects a new winner each month!
Merit is only one category of scholarships, and even then it houses a very broad division of scholarship opportunities: academics, sports, musical, artistic, dramatic, etc.
There exist also many need-based scholarships, which are based primarily on a student’s financial status. Other scholarships are based upon sociology, as in the race, religion, national origin, etc.
Who wins a scholarship also depends a great deal upon the number of people who apply. The fewer applicants, the higher the chances any individual has of winning – it doesn’t take a calculus student to see the benefits of such odds!
For example, who knew that Harvard University offered special scholarships to students with the last names Baxendale, Hudson, Thayer, Downer, or Bright?
So How Do I Find The Right Scholarships For Me?
If you’ve already decided which school you wanted to attend, a good place to check would be the school’s website. If you poke around a bit, usually the scholarship page is not very difficult to locate. An easier method, for those who are unafraid of talking to strangers, would be simply to contact the Financial Aid Office – this alternative offers multiple benefits:
- You can learn about the different financial aid offers and requirements which are specific to the school of your choice.
- You get a good idea of how much outside scholarship money you’ll need.
- You’ll get on the radar of those working in the Financial Aid Office, which will make it easier if you need to contact them in the future (so be sure to act very politely!), and
- You’ll have already shown yourself to be a resourceful, initiative-taking individual.
As for those who aren’t quite as definite regarding their future (and even for those that are), there is a plethora – a vast multitude – of FREE sites that want to help YOU find the right scholarship.