7 Resources to Use in Your Search for Scholarship Money
Scholarships provide a form of free money. Students who are lucky enough to get a product like this are given funds they can use in order to pay for school, and when their days in the classroom are over, they’re not required to pay that money back. It might sound like a dream, but these scholarships are very real.
Unfortunately, the awards from scholarships can be quite small. For example, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education suggests that the typical award provided in a scholarship program is about $1,000 or $2,000. Since colleges often demand much larger payments for tuition, this means that students who want to use scholarships to pay for school often need one, two or even three of these products in order to make ends meet.
Thankfully, there are a number of different organizations that provide scholarships, including public institutions, individuals, businesses and more. That’s why it’s vital for students to tap into resources as they search, as students probably won’t find all of the resources available to them unless they get a little outside help. These are 7 such resources students could find helpful as they look for the funds that can help them to pay for school.
1. High School Guidance Counselors
The average high school guidance counselor is asked to provide students with vital social-skills training, so they can emerge from school with the tools they’ll need to succeed in college. As a result, most of these professionals have master’s degrees in some counseling-related discipline, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While counselors might not hold degrees in finance, they might know a great deal about how scholarships work, and what students might need to do in order to get them. After all, good advice given about scholarships could help to push even the most reluctant student into college, and that might mean that the counselor keeps the job for another year.
Making an appointment with a guidance counselor is relatively easy, and students should do so early in the school year, so they’ll have the best chance at getting the funds they need in order to pay for school.
2. College Financial Aid Officers
People who work in the financial aid office at a college or university know that students often need a little help in order to pay for school, and chances are, they know that students who don’t get that help may choose to drop out of school. As a result, many financial aid officers are experts, when it comes to both identifying scholarships and helping students to apply for them.
A financial aid officer might automatically assist a student who is applying for school for the very first time. During this enrollment period, the officer might pull together an
aid package with scholarships, or the officer might provide incoming students with a list of scholarships that can help. It’s all part of the marketing these professionals do in order to attract and retain the best students. But students who are already enrolled in school may also find that an officer’s help is valuable.
A visit with the officer on a quarterly basis may allow a student to find out about new scholarships that are operating at the school, or the student may find out about scholarships that he/she just became eligible to apply for. These visits could be very helpful as a result.
Business owners often provide scholarships to employees, or to the children of employees. This kind of investment might allow a business to either recruit or retain talented workers, and it can serve as a public relations boost to companies that need to do a little image work.
Students who work can simply ask about scholarships available, or they can read their employee handbook, if applicable, to find out more about the programs available through their place of business. Parents can go through these same steps to find out about funds available for their children.
4. Community Groups
There are a number of community organizations that might provide students with financial assistance, including:
- Veteran’s groups
- Interest-based groups (like knitting groups)
- Public interest leagues
- Political groups
An article produced by US News and World Report suggests that even sports-based leagues provide scholarships to students who participate during their years in school.
Students can perform brainstorming sessions with their parents, thinking about all of the community organizations they participate in during a given month. Do they pay dues? Attend events? Receive newsletters? Any kind of contact like this could translate into money, and it should be explored.
Online retailers like Amazon.com sell a number of paperback books made for students who want to fund their schooling with scholarships. “The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2014” is one such book, as is “Kaplan Scholarships 2014.”
These books tend to provide an overview of the scholarship process, as well as notes about what students might need to do to win sources of money for school. But they also provide long lists of scholarships that are available to students, along with information about where students can go online in order to find out more about the products they’d like to apply for.
While talking to experts, reading books, and checking in with authorities can all be valuable for students looking for scholarships, it’s also worthwhile for students to work with their peers. Students might know about open scholarships that could be useful, while graduating students might be willing to share the secrets they used in order to find out about the scholarships other students had never heard of. Just chatting with peers could be an intensely valuable activity, as it might help students to find out about all sorts of things they’d just never thought of before.
The Internet is also a treasure trove of information about scholarships. Most websites provide students with the opportunity to search for scholarships, and they might even include links students can use in order to find out more about availability and eligibility.
At SimpleTuition, we’ve built one of the best websites out there. We provide you with the opportunity to look for scholarships that are available at your school, and with one click of the mouse, you’ll go right to the application page for the scholarships you think are right for you. The tool is free, and we keep everything confidential. We hope you’ll check it out.