Most students who receive large scholarships earn them from the institution they end up attending. There are however, thousands of outside scholarships that range from very small amounts ($25) to very substantial ($10,000). Most of these scholarship applications will ask for an essay. Here are some ideas for researching scholarships:
- If your parents work for a large company, be sure they check with their Human Resources office to see if scholarships are offered to children of employees.
- The most reliable website for scholarships out there is www.fastweb.com. It is really difficult to get through the thousands of entries, but there is a search engine that can help you sift through some of it. It is not always realistic in its search results, but at least it will narrow the list of those you have to read.
- If you belong to an ethnic group with an active club, they likely will offer scholarships. Call and find out.
- Local chapters of civic organizations such as the Optomists/Soroptomists, Rotarians, Eagles, Elks, etc. all offer some type of scholarship. Call the local offices and ask.
- Watch for announcements and advertisements in the local newspaper. It is amazing how many organizations decide to offer a scholarship and simply tell the local press.
- Visit the Family Connection/Naviance for scholarships available.
Note: Whatever you do, stay away from the scholarship scam artists. You will receive very official looking envelopes that offer to do the scholarship search for you. If you have to spend money, then it is a scam. If they promise to find money for you that no one else can find, then it is a scam. There is no scholarship out there that a scam artist can find for you that you cannot find for yourself. Do not fall for their promises. Let your counselor know about these organizations if you are not sure about something you receive in the mail. It is imperative that they are reported to the Federal Trade Commission, which attempts to prosecute the worst of them. You can also report them at www.nacac.com/hill_activism.html. Click on "report scholarship scams."