My son recently applied to our local state college to begin the path to a degree. I am here to help him as much as I can and though I can’t financially put him through college I do feel responsible for helping him both financially and with the process as much as possible. I was hoping he would qualify for the Bright Futures scholarship but it did not work out as planned, so instead, we are tasked with finding scholarships that work for him.
Did you know it is a misconception that you are no longer eligible for scholarships after you have already been accepted into college? One of the worst mistakes students and families can make is to assume it’s too late to apply for scholarships once college decisions are made. There are scholarships with summer deadlines, scholarships available to students already in college, and some only available to current college students.
The key is doing the research. Speak with the financial aid office at your school, check with the department of your major, and seek out local community organizations and service clubs.
Tips for Finding Scholarships
- Some available scholarships are small, but they add up and make a big difference if you apply for multiple. Smaller, less well-known scholarships tend to receive fewer applicants because students think they won’t make an impact on the overall cost of college. However, if you win ten $1,000 scholarships, I think you would agree that it’s worth it. It might require you to apply for a larger number of scholarships, but in the end, you are increasing your chances of getting selected.
- If writing essays isn’t your forte, there are even scholarships where you just follow simple prompts to “enter” rather than “apply,” and the winner is chosen at random.
- Apply for scholarships that have a very specific requirement such as being vegetarian, LGBT, or left-handed. Since some scholarships are so specific, they tend to be less competitive.
- A good number of scholarship essay questions are very similar to one another. It is smart to write a few essays and then find scholarships with similar essay prompts. This allows students to apply for more scholarships with maximum efficiency.
- Create a profile with Scholly (www.myscholly.com) to see what scholarships you are still eligible for. It will instantly bring up appropriate scholarships relevant to the individual applicant — to make the search process easier. It also notifies users when new “matches” come online, and helps them keep track of deadlines.