How to Figure out Which Scholarships You Qualify for
By Trevor Onions
, last updated June 26, 2011
Uncovering scholarships can provide a substantial monetary boost to your education, minimizing debt and catalyzing your post-college financial prospects. Unfortunately, scholarships are trickier than applying for other types of financial aid, but only because great ones aren't well promoted and are often unsought. Try these lesser known, but effective strategies for tracking down a scholarship that's right for you.
Consider All Personal Angles
First, personal factors have always been major assets when pursuing scholarships. Ethnicity, community activism, work history, and your desired college degree can all increase your eligibility for specific scholarships. It's important to understand that the average scholarship is funded by an individual or small foundation. Their goal is to give a financial edge to worthy students from a particular background, or those who are pursuing a special program that's important to the founder.
Many realize that race and economic status may help gain federal financial aid, but it's just as important to consider all personal angles when shopping for scholarships. Always check with employers as well. Even if you're an intern, many companies offer scholarships for students seeking a career in their industry.
Finding scholarships from local businesses and organizations is one of today's best kept secrets. Local governments, community associations, labor unions, and small businesses typically issue small scholarships to help their locality's brightest. Often times, your residence in a town or county is enough to qualify your application.
Many find these scholarships easier to get than large, national ones because they are lesser known. Active students may even know the creators, lending additional pull to winning their awards. Don't worry about being disqualified if you're going to school abroad. Local scholarships are all about helping past and present residents with their education, and scholarship makers know a certain percentage will return home to help the community again.
Remember, academic merits always give you the best chances over competitors of winning scholarships. Yet, looking beneath the surface at your unique attributes is sure to heighten your chances even further.