Tips for the Scholarship Search
The first question I receive from parents regarding college is usually, “Where do we find scholarships?” Today, that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss! Scholarship searching is not easy; it’s almost a part-time job. But with time and diligence, scholarship searching produces an amazing return.
Know Where to Look
Where do you start? While some scholarships are advertised on the websites of individual businesses (think Walmart, Target, General Electric), the best place to find scholarships is in a scholarship search engine or database.
Scholarship Search Engines
Some of the best scholarship search engines are Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and ScholarshipMonkey. After creating a profile on these sites, your student can peruse the available scholarship listings for a good fit. Each scholarship has its own set of rules and qualifications; some are open to 10th-12th grade students, some just for 11th grade, some to people of a specific ethnicity or major, and so on. Create a list of qualifiers with your student and look for these on the scholarship listings. (links to sites)
You can also look for schoalrships through the College Board (the company that owns and manages PSAT, SAT, CLEP and AP), who offers an online database of scholarships. (link to site)
Does this name sound familiar? Probably because Peterson’s is a textbook publisher as well as facilitator of college preparatory materials. They offer a scholarship database on their website, which you can find here.
Don’t Just Focus on the Big Bucks!
It’s tempting to only apply for the $25,000 scholarship listings, but don’t just look for the big numbers. The large scholarships are highly competitive, which makes them harder to win. While you should definitely apply for them, don’t forget about the $1000 and $500 scholarships. These are just as useful as a large scholarship because very little bit helps! Earning several $1500 scholarships is the same as earning one $8-10,000 award, so be sure to apply for them all.
Apply, Apply, Apply
As stated, scholarship searching isn’t easy. It gets monotonous and even discouraging at times. Most students will qualify for 10 out of every 100 scholarships (10% of the ones they view) and of that 10%, will win one for every 10 for which they apply. That’s why it’s important to apply, apply, apply! Don’t give up when you don’t win. Try applying for ten scholarships a month in junior and senior year, and let us know how it goes!
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.