Is it true there are millions of dollars out there that go unused by college students? Probably that is an exaggeration. But, is it like finding a needle in a haystack to obtain helpful scholarship dollars? No!
However, finding the right scholarship for you may feel like an insurmountable task. Here are a few steps to follow that will help you get started in your search for scholarships.
- First, prepare a cheat sheet. Write down information about your family finances: income, assets, debt, investments, and savings. Do the same for yourself, especially if you are working or have savings or investments. Along with finances, list the traits and activities that might make you eligible for a scholarship: awards, activities, talents, experience, affiliations, goals, etc.
- Second, start off your search with a visit to your guidance counselor’s office. The guidance office has a list of scholarships offered by your own high school and also will have a binder of all the awards and scholarships offered in your local area. The applications for these scholarships are usually very simple. In fact, there may be only one application for all the scholarships offered at your high school.
- Third, do a little footwork to follow some simple leads. Start with the adviser of any activities you may be involved in: band newspaper, athletic teams and associations, etc. Often these very groups offer scholarships. If not, often the nation association will offer scholarships. For example, the national association that oversees your Honor Society will have scholarships. See their websites. Check with your church and with your employers and your parents’ employers. Often there are scholarships available through these religious affiliations and through work places.
- Fourth, use resources available around you. The internet provides many free scholarship sites. Be sure to look at several, which will give you a wide search base and make it unnecessary for you to use any pay-for-use sites. Also, buy a good scholarship guide book. Look for one with an easy-to-use index so you won’t have to read through all the scholarship descriptions to find the best matches for you.
These hints should make you feel more confident about starting a scholarship search. And, the best advice is to start now!