How do I find scholarship opportunities?

As the cost of college continues to rise, more people are seeking ways to help fund their education through scholarships. While some may think only of athletic or academic related funding, there are actually many different types of scholarships that are available today – and with a little research, it is possible to find several that you may qualify for.

Where to Look

There are numerous places to find potential college scholarships. As you conduct your search, here are a few directions in which to begin:
Financial Aid Office One of the best places to look for scholarship opportunities is at the college financial aid office. Even if you are not yet attending a college or university, set up a meeting with a collegiate financial aid officer, and let them know about any circumstances in your financial situation, as well as various talents that you have and awards that you have won. This will help to narrow down which possibilities may be right for you.

  • School Advisor / Counselor If you are still in high-school, talk with your advisor or counselor. Oftentimes these individuals have information regarding what types of funds are available for students who are going on to college.
  • Networking / Activities Another great way to find out about scholarships is by being active in various activities and organizations such as your school’s band or athletics. Outside of school, there are also many churches and clubs that sponsor students with scholarship funds.
  • Library or Book Store If you check the reference section of your library or local book store, you will find entire books that have thousands of scholarships listed, along with the criteria that are necessary to qualify.
  • Community Organizations Often, there are community organizations and civic groups that will sponsor college students with scholarship money. These groups frequently hold fund raisers such as car washes and pancake breakfasts in order to raise funds for scholarships and other worthy causes.
  • Local Businesses Many local businesses will return some of their profits to students in the community. Often these companies will offer scholarship funds as a way to reward students who study and work. If you are currently employed, inquire as to whether your company participates in providing scholarship funds.
  • Online Certainly, the convenience of the internet makes it easy to research what is available, as well as to apply online. When doing so, though, be sure that the website you are visiting is legitimate, and be careful about giving too much personal information unless you have verified that the entity behind the site is truly offering scholarship funds.

If At First You Don’t Succeed

There is a wide array of new scholarships being created all the time, so if you don’t initially succeed in finding one, don’t give up, because chances are you may be able to find an alternate option.

In addition to new potential opportunities for finding a scholarship, over time your credentials change as well. So, even if you didn’t qualify for a particular scholarship in the past, you may be able to in the future. In fact, even just one minor change in your qualifications could lead to receiving thousands of dollars in education funding.

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