Scholarship Search: Finding free money for college
Millions of dollars are awarded each year in private scholarships. There are literally thousands of scholarships available to students of every make and model. Scholarship searches can be huge research projects and there is really no way around the work, but it can be well worth your efforts with the free money you may find. Start your search with the College Planning Center of Rhode Island's Local Scholarship Search Tool
Local vs. National Scholarships
Scholarships are not only for straight-A students and exceptional athletes. Many scholarships are awarded based on need and for other qualities. Certain organizations offer scholarships to children of their employees, some scholarships are provided to members of a religious affiliation or minority group while other scholarships are awarded to students who are financially needy. Searching for local scholarships is a great way to find free money.
Local scholarships awards tend to be less than their national counterparts, but they are often much easier to get since there are many less applicants.
Tips on searching for scholarships:
Talk to everyone (and we mean it: not only friends and family, but also consider talking to neighbors, the postman, minister, etc.) – about your scholarship search. Ask them to check with their employers, churches, clubs, and organizations. Also ask them to check with their friends and family. You also want to make sure your guidance counselor knows you are interested in scholarships. A lot of scholarships come from guidance nominations. You want to cast a wide net.
Of course you want to look in the obvious places like the guidance department, local libraries, scholarship books and on the Internet. But you should also check out retail establishments, churches, community centers, local newspapers and trade publications. Treat the search as a treasure hunt. You may not find the treasure each time but you may find a clue to the treasure. Always keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
Your search can take a lot of research, so stick with it. You can’t accomplish it all in one day. It’s better if you devote a small amount of time (15-30 minutes) two or three times a week just looking for scholarships. You will probably be able to get more done and you won’t get as frustrated. Stay focused on your goal.
Follow Up and Follow Through
These are two critical tips because good opportunities can go right out the window if you don’t do what you’re supposed to. Don’t lose out on money because you didn’t return a call, submit an application or missed a deadline. Do the work!