There are thousands of scholarships available for undergraduates—as you research college opportunities, it pays to learn about scholarships, too!
Scholarships may be offered by private foundations, community organizations, companies, and universities. They may be based on merit, need, or a combination of factors (your affiliation with the boy scouts, your interest in knitting… you name it, there’s probably a scholarship for it). You can find programs you qualify for by searching online, contacting colleges, and searching in books of scholarship listings.
Think broadly about your background, interests, affiliations, and goals: what do you plan to study? Do you hope to study abroad? Conduct research? Go to graduate school? Does anyone in your family have a union affiliation or military background? Are you active in your community or religious group? Do you participate in sports?
As an applicant, focus on identifying programs that fit your profile. Some places to look online are www.ScholarshipExperts.com, www.Schoolsoup.com, www.fastweb.com and www.collegescholarships.com. You can find scholarship books in your local library or bookshop— the listings are usually indexed by field of study.
Most important for undergraduate scholarship applicants: remember the application timeline. Most private scholarship deadlines fall between November and April— if you wait until you’ve gotten into college, it’ll be too late. Start early.
Even a small scholarship can have benefits far beyond its amount. Scholarships are a great way of building honors throughout your college career, which will make you stand out when you apply for jobs or graduate school later on. Also, the money you win from a scholarship can free up time you’d otherwise spend working, allowing you to participate in research or other resume-building activities (some scholarships are even designed to fund undergraduate research or summer travel-study). And of course, a little extra money for tuition never hurt, either.
By Dr. Rebecca Blustein, who has years of experience helping students apply for scholarships. She is available to help you with your scholarship and application essays.