Seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen: Free money is available from a variety of sources and offered as scholarships. What makes these money trees even more attractive is that you won’t need to repay the money.
However, you do have to work to earn your “pay”. The first step is finding the right scholarships for you. The second step is applying to them.
Scholarships are available from a variety of sources, including federal and state governments and private sources, such as employers, corporations, professional associations, and educational institutions.
Some scholarships are based on financial needs. Others are awarded to students with special abilities qualified as academic, artistic, or athletic achievement. Still more are reserved for people who have certain religious affiliation, ethnicity, memberships, hobbies, or special interests. Some, scholarships, like the scholarship essay offered by International College Counselors, require an essay. Others require illustrations. Then there is a spate of unusual scholarships that I’ll also get to.
HOW TO FIND SCHOLARSHIPS & APPLY FOR THEM
You don’t have to look farther than your computer to find scholarships to apply to. Several free scholarship databases are available online, offering millions of different scholarships worth billions of dollars. International College Counselors recommends the scholarship database FastWeb.com. It’s large, most often accurate and frequently updated.
Our college advisors also recommend searching for scholarships using a web search engine. Include the word “scholarships” in your search keywords and see what comes up.
Scholarships can also come with unusual eligibility requirements, such as a scholarship for left-handed students. There aren’t many of them, but it doesn’t hurt to see what may be out there. Start by typing “unusual college scholarships” into the search engine. Then use keyword combinations to match your “specialties” with the word “scholarships”. A few examples of the more esoteric scholarships out there:
Chick Evans Caddie Scholarships
For all of you who spent summers lugging bags across greens: Each year, the Western Golf Association awards scholarships to more than 200 student caddies. Among other things, scholarship winners must demonstrate excellent academics, financial need, exceptional character and, naturally, a strong caddie record.
The Duck Brand Duct Tape “Stuck At Prom®” Contest
Contest participants must enter as a couple (two individuals) and attend a high school, home school association or other school-sanctioned prom held in the spring, wearing complete attire and/or accessories made from Duck brand duct tape and submit a photo of yourselves to their website. Ten finalists are selected and visitors to the site then vote on them. First prize is a $3,000 scholarship and some cash for the event hosting school. This year, the Prom Contest starts on March 1, 2010.
Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship
The Annual Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship of $3000 is designed to assist a student attending an accredited college or university who wishes to pursue the academic study of the science of parapsychology.
International College Counselors Tip: If you have to pay money to get scholarship money, it’s probably a scam. Scholarships that sound too good to be true usually are.
Of course, the most prestigious scholarships attract the most attention because they are among the most lucrative and competitive awards. Many colleges also offer full tuition academic scholarships. There are also many school and community specific scholarships, and scholarships for Hispanic and Latino students.
Florida students should not forget to apply to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program provides scholarships based on high school academic achievement. Now is the time to apply.
College advisors know that scholarships pay off in other ways as well. They get you free money, AND look good on your college applications.
Next week, I’ll write about How to Apply for Scholarships.
APPLY FOR THE INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS SCHOLARSHIP NOW. All students in 9th through 11th grade are eligible to participate.
Mandee Heller Adler and the expert International and Miami college counselors are available for questions.