A long, long time ago, in a far-off galaxy, scholarship searching required getting the annual scholarship book from the library or bookstore and spending hours reading through it to find the ones that apply to you. Very time consuming and back in the day, not done very much because public universities were pretty affordable and therefore rarely considered.
Fast forward to today and the world of scholarships is different and much more important. Technology has made it easier to find them. There are MANY websites that have huge databases that can be sorted based on your characteristics. Some will show how many applicants there are to the scholarship so you can determine your odds. You can submit online rather than through the mail. But with all these resources, where do I start?
- Your high school guidance counselor’s office or web page. They should have a list of scholarships earned by recent students. You will find local ones that aren’t listed on search databases. Many local organizations want help their neighborhoods so they don’t show up in national searches.
- Scholarship database websites. If you know your major, see if there is a website that lists ones for your career path. I recently found a website that listed scholarship opportunities for law students. It had over 300! Different sites use different search criteria so try a couple and see check the results. Some are more focused than others. Before you register to multiple databases, open a new email address strictly for scholarships and share the login info with Mom and Dad. This will prevent anyone’s regular email address from getting bogged down with scholarship emails. The best ones I’ve used are Fastweb and Unigo are good. If you want some unique ones, check out ScholarshipOwl.com. If you are serious about scholarships, try www.myscholly.com for $3/month. It does a great job of finding scholarships for you and organizing your efforts.
- Have a Twitter account? Set one up and follow the website with Twitter feeds. I did this a few months ago and read the feed in the evenings. You never know what will pop up. One day after meeting a student wanting to be a comedy writer, Scholarships360 posted the “Make Me Laugh” scholarship. You can also just do a search on ‘scholarship’ and see what anyone has posted.
Important note: When creating your profile for each of the scholarship databases, think hard about anything that makes you unique. It’ll help you find the scholarships with the fewest eligible applicants.
The above is a guest post from Jim Anderson of Making College Worth It. Jim helps students plan for college and manage college debt. He helps students and families find colleges that are the right fit and are also within the family budget. He helps students through the process of applying to college, researching careers, and getting/managing financial aid.
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