As someone who went back to college later in life, and as a parent who paid for the first child’s private education, and has another one currently in college, I understand the benefits of seeking out scholarship opportunities. It would have been a tremendous help to know that we were most likely eligible for something, even if it was small.
Once I started to work in education, I was shocked to learn how much money goes un-awarded because people just don’t apply. I also discovered that grant and scholarship aid for full-time students continues to increase. According to College Board, 53% of college tuition is paid for through scholarships and grants, but there is still a lot of money that goes un-awarded due to lack of applicants.
Here are some useful tips that I found while searching for scholarships.
- Do not pay a fee for scholarship searches. If you work independently you can generally find more sources than using a paid service.
- Resources like high school and college guidance counselors, web searches, information from the Department of Education and other sources are available to help you organize your search.
- As you search you may notice that often grant or scholarship searches are focused on targeted groups like academics, talent, athletics, diversity, underrepresented groups (example: first generation students) and geographical locations. If you string together words like scholarships, grants, college, university, adult, graduate student, major of interest, your ethnicity or groups you are involved with, this can also bring up random scholarships that are available.
- Graduate, credential and adult (non-traditional) students should also do these searches. There are generally less funds available for these groups, but it can be worth the effort.
- In exchange for use of a web site you might be asked to provide your email. People often create a secondary email from a free service if they are asked to provide their information, especially if they are concerned about the free search sites searching them out as well. That way you also have all of the sites and responses in one place.
- Listed outside scholarships are additional to what a specific college might offer and do not include other grants or scholarships that a school’s financial aid office can determine your eligibility. Always remember to check with them as well.
- Search local, you’d be surprised how many local scholarships are available, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley.
With the internet the search process has become much easier. There are many sites available to search from. In our free download, “Outside Scholarship Search Information For College Students,” we’ve included links to most of the key sites, as well as sites for diverse groups. Download it today and get started on your scholarship search!