Three Easy Steps to Finding a Scholarship...PLUS Five Scholarships to Get You Started
h3. Step 1. Figure out your Academic Plan
Most colleges and universities offer a wealth of scholarship opportunities – none of which are earned by mediocre students. The more carefully you consider your academic program before attending, the more likely you are to a) earn higher grades, b) qualify for competitive scholarhships, and c) land a job that you love. Moreover, many scholarships from corporations, non-profits and government agencies will require you to supply detailed information about your academic plans.
GovCentral’s Find Federal Jobs for your Majoris an excellent way to learn about the types of government careers fit different majors.
Also check out GovCentral’s exclusive guide to Federal Student Internship Programs.
Step 2. Search for Scholarships
Many organizations and businesses offer scholarships for Bachelor’s and advanced degrees. Look into the following organizations, both in your area and nationally.
• Professional associations
• Your employer (Employee Based Awards)
• Scholarship-focused nonprofits
• Large corporations (Pepsi, Xerox, etc.)
• Foundations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.)
• Advocacy and political organizations
• Religious organizations
• Social/community clubs and organizations
• Service organizations (Rotary, Elks, etc.)
Scholarship criteria vary widely. Some scholarships are earmarked for students pursuing specific careers; others may be regional, designated for applicants from a particular state or county. Typically, organizations and schools may offer scholarships to students who meet a set of criteria, which could include:
• Demonstrated commitment to community service or volunteer work
• Commitment to pursue a valued career, academic, or research interest
• Learning or physical disabilities
• Demonstrated commitment to fine arts or performing arts
• Demonstrated athletic achievement and talent
• Economic need
• Underrepresented minority group
• Student is a gender minority in their field of interest (Ex: male nurses)
• Birthplace (for students from a particular city, state, or country)
• Student is the first to go to college in their family
• Contest / essay contest winner
• Going back to school; single parent
• High academic achievement
• High standardized test scores
A good strategy is to determine the types of scholarships you may be eligible for and search specifically for those.
Which area(s) might you qualify under?
Here are some hand-picked scholarships that will get you started on your search:
1. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
The mission of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. We focus in particular on scholarships for outstanding individuals with financial need.
2. AAUW Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award
Scholarships Available: 1
Established in 1989, the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award honors an individual, project, organization, or institution for outstanding contributions to equity and education for women and girls.
3. U.S. Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC)
Applicant must be a U.S. citizen between 17 and 21 years of age, be physically qualified by Navy or Marine Corps standards, have no moral obligations or personal convictions that will prevent conscientious bearing of arms, and achieve qualifying scores on the SAT I or ACT. Award includes full tuition, books, lab fees, and a $200 per month stipend.
4. Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Scholarships
Amount: $1,000 – $25,000
Scholarships Available: Hundreds
The Foundation has awarded more than $6 million in scholarships, grants, and loans to over 8,000 women seeking to improve their lives.
5. FastWeb and Dell “Why I Deserve A Scholarship” Contest
The FastWeb and Dell “Why I Deserve A Scholarship” Contest is open to students 15 years of age or older who are either currently enrolled in an accredited college/university or will graduate from high school in Spring2008. To be eligible for this contest, you must submit a video explaining why you deserve a scholarship. Additionally, you must be a legal resident of the 50 United States or District of Columbia
h3. Step 3. Apply for Lots of Scholarships – Don’t be Shy
Finding scholarship programs can be a time-consuming process. Unfortunately, many students spend hours looking for a scholarship but fail to put an equal amount of effort into completing their application. The application is by far the most important part of your scholarship search; give it the time it deserves.
One last bit of advice: Double-check the scholarship requirements before you apply. After all, you want to be sure you are eligible before you apply. Write, call or e-mail the scholarship sponsor to ensure you have full details of application procedures and know what will be expected of the successful applicant. You can never have too much Information!