It’s that time of the year again for high school seniors. Testing for the ACT & SAT, filling out the FAFSA, gathering and sending transcripts, college applications and letters of recommendation are all part of the annual hectic last few months of the high school experience. Not to mention Prom, Post-Prom, finals, Senior Skip Day and planning the senior kegger, it can get a little stressful keeping it all together. This article is about finding scholarships, but I will offer a little advice on the kegger: you should probably skip it. By the time of the big night most parents already know the time and location, which means the police will too. There are plenty of other fun, and legal, things to do.
I have two kids currently attending college and both have been awarded scholarships. A good place to start your search is with the high school counselor’s office. They have binders full of information sent to them by schools all over the country. Ask your parents what they did if they attended college, and if their employers offer any scholarship programs. Ask your teachers about their experiences finding scholarships. Search online.
Once you start finding opportunities you will be filling out a lot of applications and writing a lot of essays. Make sure to save copies because they usually can be revised and reused. Start early and apply for everything you think you might have a chance at. Keep in mind many colleges offer in house scholarships that you are automatically considered for when you apply for admission and are accepted.
While you will find many scholarship resources on your own, the following list is a good starting point for your search. Don’t stop applying for scholarships after you are accepted by a college as they are available throughout your time as a student.
College Scholarships – “New scholarships are posted monthly. This free quality information includes all of the details you need to apply now, including eligibility requirements, deadlines, amounts, contact name, address, phone number and website of the scholarship sponsor.”
College-Scholarships – “We have put together an online directory of college and university admissions office email addresses and telephone numbers, college scholarship and financial aid office email addresses, and links to the home pages and online applications of more than a thousand colleges and universities. And, we have assembled a page of links to the very best college and university admissions, college scholarship, and financial aid pages on the web. You will even find information on graduate schools, the GRE and GMAT examinations, MBA programs, the TOEFL, community colleges, historically African-American colleges, and campus life.”
Scholarships – “Create a Scholarships.com profile and get personalized information on college scholarships and grants that match you! Our college scholarship database is updated constantly, offering the most current, relevant and accurate college scholarship opportunities. Improve your chances of winning; search for scholarships when you begin applying to colleges or even earlier.”
FinAid – “FinAid was established in the fall of 1994 as a public service. This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools -- on or off the web. Access to FinAid is free for all users and there is no charge to link to the site.” This is an excellent site.
FastWeb – My personal favorite. On this free site “each FastWeb user answers a detailed questionnaire about themselves. The site then uses this data to generate a personalized suite of information of scholarships, colleges, internships, jobs, and more. At the heart is FastWeb's industry-leading scholarship database — the most comprehensive and accurate compilation of national, community, and college-specific scholarships available anywhere. Updated continuously by the company's own dedicated research team, FastWeb's database contains over 1.3 million scholarships worth over $3 billion.”
Good luck, and don’t forget to write those thank you letters when you receive your awards!