Find out the best places to find available scholarships
What’s the top thing prospective college students are in search of? A scholarship, of course. Scholarships, or grants that offer full or partial financial help toward a student's education, are given on the basis of achievement, such as above average academics or athletics. And with student loans increasing every year, it’s a no-brainer for college applicants to be looking for a way to decrease this amount when graduating.
“I advise students to approach the challenge of finding scholarships as if they were looking for a job," says Judith Lewis Logue, director of financial aid at the University of San Diego. "Few job applicants assume they will be offered the first job for which they apply. They know they will need to apply for many jobs to find the right one. You can never apply for too many scholarships!”
However, sometimes scholarships can be hard to come across, so the key is knowing where to look. So if you’re having a hard time finding places to apply for scholarships, don’t fret. Here are some of the best places to find a scholarship:
The college you’re applying - It sounds obvious, but many prospective students don’t even think about inquiring at the college of their choice.
“The primary source of information about student aid opportunities and resources is the college/university to which the student is applying,” says Joseph Russo, director of financial aid at the University of Notre Dame. “The vast majority of student aid resources are going to be made available through those financial aid offices.” So if you’re applying at your dream college, it doesn’t hurt to give the financial aid officers a call and ask them about scholarship opportunities — they’re the ones with the most information about their particular institution, after all.
Community organizations - Ask about scholarships at your local church or civic area locations, advises Russo. Check out the local rotary or Lions, Eagles and Elks clubs. It’s also possible that your neighborhood may be part of a community foundation or a Dollars for Scholars® chapter, which can offer many scholarship opportunities.
Family and friends - Maybe your parent’s employers provide an opportunity to apply for a scholarship. Or perhaps your friend works in an environment where they have access to scholarship prospects. Also, your high school guidance counselor is bound to have ideas and options on where opportunities might be available to you. Even throwing it out there on a Facebook status or in a tweet might help — you never know who’s reading your posts and who can offer help. In this day and age, it’s all about networking when it comes to scholarships, and you can never ask too many people for their help.
The Internet - There are a number of websites that can help you get started. For example, Zinch.com offers creative and fun scholarships that students can apply for. Fastweb.com is a great resource for not only monetary awards, but also services and tips on career planning. There’s also ScholarshipPoints.com, which uses a rewards system to determine the types of scholarships users best qualify for, as you earn points through a variety of activities. Not even sure where you’re applying yet? Scholarships.com helps you narrow down scholarships and colleges that work best for you and your personalized needs.
"Complete all of the optional questions in the scholarship search profile for about twice as many [scholarship] matches,” advises Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.
One important thing to keep in mind: You should never pay for scholarship advice.
“If you have to pay money to get money, it is probably a scam," says Kantrowitz. "Never invest more than a postage stamp for information about scholarships or to apply for a scholarship."
Once you know how much more you’ll need, let us help you get the money you need for all of your educational needs.
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