Apr 26, 2013

Advice To Consider about Scholarships

It has become apparent that the need for a college education to improve the opportunity to obtain employment and higher wages has never been more important; this at a time when colleges are raising tuition rates. Securing the college degree and the money to acquire this degree is becoming very difficult for many. Certainly there are grants and financial aid opportunities for many; but what about those who do not qualify for financial aid yet still are in need of additional monies to pay for their education? The answer lies in applying for scholarships.

By definition, a scholarship is money awarded for college that typically you are not expected to pay back. There are many different types of scholarships with various criteria. Some are merit based meaning that they are offered based on a student's abilities whether they are academic, athletic or artistic, for example.

Some are need-based which, as the name implies, are based on a student's financial need. Others are specific toward perhaps a person's ethnic background, a disability, a business that offers scholarships to offspring of their employees, an individual's religion or perhaps even a field of study. Many colleges and universities offer scholarships to those extended entry as an enticement to lure that student to their college. Most often these are awarded to those with outstanding academic credentials, athletes or those showing a strong aptitude in perhaps the arts.

Additionally, there are scholarships offered by industries to attract students to their field. Oftentimes, those that are awarded these scholarships must commit to working for either the organization (public or private) offering the scholarship, working in that industry (example: an education major may have to commit to working either in a school that has difficulty attracting teachers or more generalized, just working in a public school.

And one cannot rule out some of the more unusual scholarships that are for those with a specific last name, a specific talent, a specific stature (little or tall people) and many other criteria.

But in order to be awarded a scholarship, most often than not, you will need to do some research and put in some time. Most scholarship funds do not give out money without expecting some effort on your behalf. This may entail writing an essay or making a video that is uploaded to the scholarship committee.

There are some reputable scholarship sites on the internet that are a good starting point for finding scholarships. If the site or a scholarship asks for any type of money on your part, then skip that scholarship. A legitimate scholarship would never ask you for money.

Some of the more established scholarship websites are fastweb.com, collegeboard.com and studentaid.ed.gov. In my experience, another good site for learning about scholarships would be cappex.com. Don't rule out your guidance counselor or the actual college or university itself to learn more about available scholarships.

Read over the application carefully and complete it exactly how it is requested. Scholarship committees can easily recognize when an applicant is applying just for the sake of applying, possibly ignoring the essay question or properly answering their questions. If you are not willing to put in effort, don't bother applying.

And, if a scholarship application states that the essay will be judged based on content and grammar, make certain you have checked for spelling and grammatical errors. Spell check is an obvious good tool, but it is not perfect and when you have hundreds or even thousands of applications, one little spelling error may mean the difference between winning $5K or zero. It is that simple.

Finally, while scholarships are hard to win, know that the organization, company, institution, foundation or even individual truly and sincerely wants to make a difference for a student looking to enroll and further their education. They sincerely believe in the value of an education and merely seek out those who desire to further their education. You have little to lose if you apply.


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