Scholarships are for scholars. Certainly, good students are the first in line for scholarship awards. But, they are not the only ones to get scholarships!
The first thing you should be aware of when it comes to winning scholarship monies for college is that almost anyone can get a scholarship. Of course, there are scholarships for athletes and minorities, but there are more—many more.
Here are a few examples of the different scholarships that are available:
- For children of unwed mothers
- Local scholarships
- Federal scholarships
- Bible scholarships
- Corporate scholarships
- Celebrity scholarships
- By major
- By level of education
- By career choice
- For dance
- For military families
- For legacy applicants
There are even non-academic scholarships!
Next know how to find college scholarships.
• Always check with the schools you are applying to to find out what scholarships they have listed.
• Check out College Basics’ scholarship list.
• There is always the tried and true Fastweb to help you find scholarships.
• Sites like Educationconnection help you match your needs and interests to specific scholarships.
Applying for scholarships is never harder than applying to colleges. If you have filled out a college application, you can fill out a scholarship application. Some require more work than others, including writing essay, but the harder an application is to fill out, the more likely you are to win the scholarship. Check out our example of a good sample essay.
Have a strategy when applying for a scholarship. You should know that most scholarships are not full-boat. Even athletic scholarships generally only take care of about one-third the cost of college on average. Most scholarships will give you under $2,000. That means you should be applying for many scholarships at a time and that you should apply for scholarships all the time. You can get a college scholarship in kindergarten and certainly after you have started colleges. In every year of your schooling you could be eligible for some kind of scholarship.
Finally, you should know getting a scholarships can affect your financial aid package. If you have not gotten a financial aid package, you‘re good. Scholarships can only help you reduce the cost of college and private loans. But, any needs-based aid from a college could be reduced because of scholarship monies which count as savings. Each college has its own policy, and when you receive a scholarship you should ask what that policy is.
- If the school doesn’t reduce your aid because of scholarship money, you’re all set.
- If their policy is to reduce grant aid (non-loan aid), then you haven’t lost anything.
- If their policy is to reduce federal or reduced-loan program aid, then a scholarship may not be worth it to you.
Always check, and never fail to report scholarship money.
You should also know that scholarship monies are not taxable, unless you use them to travel to and from school, for room and board, or for anything no required for your education. Then the monies can be taxed.
Scholarship monies are a valuable asset to you. The only time you can’t get scholarship help for college is when you don’t apply.