Scholarship Search Tips

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Are there resources to identify scholarships for my particular minority group?

Identifying Sources for Minority Scholarships

There are many scholarship programs dedicated to providing college funding for minority students. Any future or current college student who is a member of a minority group should definitely conduct a minority scholarship search. By researching scholarship opportunities specific to your minority status, you are able to expand your potential resources for funding beyond just scholarship programs which are open to larger segments of the population. You are likely to come across some minority scholarship programs when researching general scholarship opportunities. However, when focusing on how to find scholarships specifically for minority groups, it is a good idea to conduct a specific minority scholarship search.

Various minority scholarships include:

  • Alaska Native scholarship opportunities
  • African American scholarship programs
  • Hispanic scholarship opportunities
  • American Indian scholarship fund
  • Programs for many different minority populations
  • Scholarship opportunities for African Americans

How can I be sure that scholarship opportunities I find are legitimate?

What to Avoid When Searching for Scholarship Opportunities

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals and organizations who will take advantage of people who are conducting a college scholarship search . While it is true that you should thoroughly investigate every possible avenue for scholarship funding, it is also very important that you take care to avoid the pitfalls of falling for a scam during your scholarship search.

What to Avoid:

  • Do not trust a scholarship search service that guarantees funding.
  • Do not pay a fee to apply for a scholarship.
  • Do not give banking or credit card information to anyone claiming to be a scholarship provider.
  • Beware of unsolicited phone calls from people claiming to represent scholarship organizations. Scam artists attempt to get personal information for identity theft in this manner.
  • Do not assume that every organization with a legitimate sounding name really is legitimate.
  • Beware of solicitations from individuals and organizations claiming to represent the government. You have to apply for federal financial aid; the government isn't going to solicit you.

Are scholarships available online?

Surfing the Internet for Scholarships

Surfing the Internet is a fantastic way to conduct a college scholarship search. If you look on your own with out using a company, be sure to check each scholarship site you find carefully.

* Can you find information about the people offering the award?
* Is the date that the site was last updated easy to find?
* Does the amount of money seem extremely high?
* What are the parameters of the scholarship?

If a scholarship looks too good to be true, it usually is. Look for consumer review sites about the companies that offer scholarships and the websites you are looking at.

This is why going with a reputable company that can consolidate the legitimate scholarship option available to you can be worth the money. Why spend the time and effort on potentially dud scholarships when you can get a comprehensive list from a trusted source?

Are there scholarships available based on nationality?

Show your Nationality

Most cities have a Polish/American Club, a Franco/American Club and an Italian/American Club. These organizations are not only places to go to show pride in one's ancestry, but are also great places to look for scholarships.

Many of these organizations offer scholarships to community members and organizational members of a certain nationality.

I am getting a later start on my college career, is financial aid available for me?

Older Student Scholarships

For some people, college wasn't an option right out of high school. Family, careers and other factors led to having to put off college. For older students who are finally ready, willing, and able to jump into college life, there are financial aid resources available.

Did you know that some colleges will exempt older students from certain classes based on life and work experiences? Women that are 25 and older and entering or reentering academic life are eligible for many scholarships for “non-traditional" scholars.

How many scholarships should I apply for?

Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

There are hundreds of scholarships awarded each year and there are thousands of students looking for scholarships each year. While Aunt Betty's country club scholarship seems to be a shoe in or the scout promised you a full ride to a particular college, until the offer comes through, don't count on the money.

Apply for as many scholarships as possible, even ones for which you may not be eligible. The more you apply for, the better chance you have of getting something. Make sure you apply for the smaller scholarships as well as the larger ones. Several smaller scholarships are better than no scholarship at all.

Does my local library offer scholarships?

Check it Out at Your Local Library

Did you know that your local library can be an excellent source of scholarship information? Not only are there books on scholarships, databases to search for scholarships, and FAFSA forms to fill out, there could also be an actual scholarship.

Many libraries offer scholarships for community members that are sponsored by the Library Board of Trustees or Friends of the Library Group. Next time you stop at your library to get help in finding scholarships, ask if there is one available, you never know.

Are there professional organizations that can help me fund my education?

Call on the Professionals

For most every career you can think of, there is an organization or association of professionals. National associations exists for teachers, airline attendants, and librarians. These organizations are resources for information, training and financial aid.

Many have student chapters that can be joined at a reduced rate and offer perks such as grants, scholarships and discounts to conferences, events and journals.

These organizations are a great way to get a foot in the door for post-graduation work. Check with your advisor to see what organizations are available and if your school has a student chapter.

What are some ways I can find scholarships?

The People Connections

An important source available to find scholarships may be the people you know. High school guidance counselors usually have a list of local scholarships available. A relative may be able to sponsor you for a scholarship offered by an association in which they are a member. Neighbors and friends may also be a valuable source for scholarships offered by local organizations such as the Knights of Columbus or the Rotary Club. Make sure you talk to people, drop some hints and see what comes up.

What other resources are available to find college scholarships?

Use Your Resources Wisely

Have you tapped all of your resources for scholarship, grant and fellowship ideas? One of the best resources you can find is right in your school and he or she is your high school guidance counselor. Your guidance counselor is a terrific resource for local and regional scholarship programs that may not be publicized online or in the big national scholarship books. Not only do they know the dirt on local college funding, they are an invaluable resource for recommendations, other popular and little known scholarship programs and other resources that can help you get into your school of choice and pay for it! Maybe you haven't spent a lot of time with them at this point - but now is the time to cultivate a relationship and tap that resource.

I am a single parent, is other any aid for me?

Scholarships and the Single Parent

Many children are born to single parents. For these parents, continuing education is a struggle. Fortunately, more scholarships for these parents are being developed. Filling out the FAFSA helps determine one's need and can help single parents get as much funding as possible.

At the institutional level, single parent scholarships are becoming more and more commonplace. In addition to financial aid for educational expenses, some colleges are developing reduced cost or free child care so parents can attend classes and not have to worry about their children.

I was home schooled, can I apply for scholarships?

Homeschoolers and Scholarships

Students who have been homeschooled should not be afraid to apply for scholarships. The best thing to do is join a well-researched online scholarship search company and create an online profile to find out what scholarships you are eligible for. When applying for scholarships, be sure to highlight community service achievements and programs you have participated in.

The Home Schooler's College Guide is a great book that gives great tips on applying for and getting traditional scholarships. Some home school associations, such as the Home School Foundation, offer scholarships for its members.

My parent belongs to a union, can I get scholarship money from them?

Union Dues

If your mom or dad is a member of a union at work, there could be scholarship money available to you. Many Unions (including the Teamsters, the American Federation of Teachers, and Utility Workers Union of America) offer scholarships. Scholarships are usually available for members and dependents. Have your parent check with the local steward to get the details on what is available.

Do religious organizations offer scholarships.

Finding Religious Based Scholarships

Many houses of worship offer scholarships for members of their parish. These scholarships are often smaller, but are useful in paying for books and other smaller priced expenses.

Check bulletins and message boards for announcements of scholarship opportunities available through your church. Search sites are another great resource available to help search for scholarships based on religious affiliation.

What kind of scholarships are available?

Scholarships are Like a Box of Crayons...

Crayola Crayons started out with eight colors. Today, a box of crayons has 120 different colors. However, while that sounds like a lot of colors, they are actually all variations of the original eight. Scholarships are very similar; there seems to be a scholarship available for everyone. All scholarships can be broken down into one of four categories:

• The Merit Scholarship is based on academics and are awarded to those in the highest percentiles in the country. These students usually graduated in the top of the class, had excellent GPAs and standardized test scores.

• Need-Based Scholarships are based solely on financial considerations. Each scholarship has a formula as to what is considered financial neediness.

• Athletic Scholarships are for athletes and are awarded based on athletic abilities coupled with academic requirements.

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