Today, more and more families are narrowing college choices because of financial limits. It is not surprising that 35 percent of families use scholarships to fund college costs. It is never too late in your college career to seek out scholarships. However, beyond your college you might be wondering where to look for scholarships. The internet is a great resource for students during the initial scholarship search and application process. The following is a list of some of the best free scholarship databases online:
- Fastweb Scholarship Search: Features 1.5 million scholarships worth over $3.4 billion and email notifications of scholarships relevant to you
- College Board's Scholarship Finder: Features scholarships and other financial aid programs totaling nearly $6 billion
- Scholarships.com: Since 1999, they have matched students with 2.7 million local, state, and national scholarships
- Sallie Mae's Scholarship Search: Updated daily and contains over 3 million scholarships worth over $16 billion
- ScholarshipPoints.com: A free, rewards-based program that awards over $100,000 in scholarships to students each year. You can earn points for completing online activities such as quizzes, surveys, blogs, etc. and each point earned equals one entry into a monthly $1,000 or quarterly $10,000 scholarship drawing.
It is also important to be creative during your scholarship search and look beyond the internet. Aside from your college’s financial aid office, look to your local community and organizations and professional associations. For example, if you are a member of a sorority or fraternity, look to see if any scholarships are given to members. You should also consider your talents and hobbies such as athletics, art, and music. You’d be surprised at the diversity of scholarships awarded for special skills and hobbies.
Once you have made a list of scholarships you would like to apply to, consider these tips:
Start the scholarship search and application process as early as possible. The earlier in your college career that you receive a scholarship, the more money you will save in the long term.
APPLY, APPLY, APPLY
The more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are to receive one. Apply for as many scholarships as possible that are relevant to you. Don’t overlook any opportunities.
Many committees will not consider applications with major errors in an effort to eliminate candidates in a sea of applicants. Double check that you have fulfilled all of the requirements of each specific application.
PERSONALIZE YOUR APPLICATION
Just because you are applying to a handful of different scholarships does not mean you can submit the same application or essay for each. Many have specific essay questions and guidelines. It is important to personalize your application to appeal to the organization you are applying to and the group that will be reviewing your application.