Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finding Scholarships

So now that you're convinced that you should apply for scholarships, how do you find them? There are boundless opportunities everywhere, but to which ones should you apply?

The first place to look is in your school. Visit your guidance department / counselor and just ask what scholarships are available. Usually, there are many organizations or memorials in your community that are willing support students' educations. These are the best kinds of scholarships to which to apply because you're competing against a limited applicant pool (just the people in your community). The scholarships you have the best at are the following (in order from highest chance to least, by the scope of applicants):
School > Town/District > County > State > Internet > National

This is all pretty intuitive. If you apply to a scholarship that is only given out to students in your school, you have a significantly greater chance than one that's applicable to students in your state. I wouldn't recommend internet scholarships, like "" and the likes. They generally have one of the biggest applicant pools, and often are not determined by merit. Some internet sites, like "" have potential, because they have scholarships for specific categories.

Make sure to apply to all such "niche" scholarships. For example, if your grandmother is Italian, then you should definitely apply to an "Italian-American" scholarship. Furthermore, apply to scholarships that reflect your activities. For example, there are scholarships for kids who played peewee football or were golf caddies. If you are exceptional at a sport, find a scholarship for it and apply. There are so many scholarships out there; you are most certain to fit the criteria of many.

My final advice is: apply to all of them. Even if you feel you don't fit the "niche" or activity, apply anyways. Even if your GPA doesn't make the cut, but you think that your extracurriculars make up for it, apply anyways. Even if you think your family's need for financial aid is less, apply anyways. Heck, I didn't apply to the "Woman's Club Scholarship" of a senior citizen residential area, because I'm a guy, and the "Male's Club Scholarship" application was for males only. I ended up winning the Male's Club scholarship, but a friend of mine (who is a guy) won them both! It never hurts to apply.

Remember, these applications are handled by ordinary people like you and I. They committees that distribute money are not in any sense like CollegeBoard or Harvard University. They are people who want to help kids in their community.

Also, one of the most important thing to understand is that your peers are lazy. They think they don't have time for scholarships among their plethora of extracurricular activities, college applications, school work, and sports. What they don't realize is how simple scholarships are. In the next blog, I'll tell you how to make the process easy, fast, and profitable.

See also:
Scholarships Equal Free Money
Winning Scholarships

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