Scholarships for College

There are millions of dollars in private scholarships available each year. Companies, unions, foundations, community organization, churches, and others sponsor scholarships ranging from a few hundred dollars to a free ride for all four years of college. Searching for scholarships takes time and energy, but remember: it's free money. Even if you spend five hours applying for scholarships and receive only a $500 scholarship, that's still the same as earning $100 an hour—not bad! To make things easier, keep these tips in mind.


Many scholarships are based on select criteria, like:
  • grades                         
  • chosen college
  • chosen major
  • organization affiliation
  • artistic ability
  • leadership ability
  • athletic ability
  • economic need
  • military organization
  • parents' organization affiliation


The Internet: Many websites have huge scholarship databases that will do the grunt work for you. Enter your criteria and they will return a list of scholarships that match them. Most sites are free and only require you to register to use their services. Some sites to consider are: (for international students)
Scholarship Guides: Your local library or your high school guidance counselor should have a number of these books. Again, scholarships are listed by criteria. While most guides will share some scholarships in common, there will be many that are unique to each guide, so be sure to look through more than one. Some guides to look at are:
  • The A's and B's of Academic Scholarships, by Anna Leider and Anna Schimke
  • Cash for College, by NASFAA
  • The Scholarship Book, by National Scholarship Research Service
  • The Scholarship Advisor, by Christopher Vuturo
  • Winning Scholarships for College: An Insider's Guide
  • Peterson's College Money Handbook
  • Paying for College Without Going for Broke, by Kalman Chany and Geoff Martz
  • How to Get Money for College, by Woodburn Press
  • Peterson's Winning Money for Colleg
Deadlines: Scholarship deadlines usually occur between December and April, so get a head start and begin researching scholarships the summer before your senior year. Often scholarships are limited and are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Scams: Some web sites/agencies will charge you hefty fees to find the same information that you can find yourself for free. Other sites and agencies are outright scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Check with the Better Business Bureau before engaging the services of any private scholarship search companies. Remember: No one can guarantee your student a scholarship.
Other Avenues: There are a number of organizations that will pay all or part of your student's way through college in return for a 2-4 year commitment when s/he graduates. These include:
Networking: You're not expected to know everything. Tell family, friends, teachers and other people in your community that you’re looking for scholarships. They may know something you don’t.

Find out more about financing college:

College Counseling Staff

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