Few things are more coveted by prospective students and current college students than the highly elusive scholarship. Most commonly, scholarships are granted by academic institutions or outside organizations to students who display either an academic or extracurricular skill in order to ease the financial burden of attending a school. These types of scholarships, depending on the amount awarded, frequently go towards covering tuition, room, and board.
However, these are not the only types of scholarships that college students can take advantage of. There are a variety of scholarships available to cover practically any cost associated with getting an education. These include but are not limited to: scholarships for study abroad, scholarships to pursue a particular community service project, scholarships to attend an academic conference, and scholarships that help cover housing during internships if you want to intern away from home. Many of these scholarships involve similar applications to the traditional scholarships, such as an essay, and many are available to any year in college (with some available to incoming college freshmen).
The search for these scholarships is also similar to traditional academic or extracurricular scholarships. First, you should begin by determining what you would like the scholarship to cover, such as part of your study abroad expenses next semester. Once you have determined the type of scholarship you are looking for, there are several places you should look to find these types of scholarships.
1. Look on your own campus.
You should begin your search on your own campus as they are most likely to have scholarships available only to students at your school. Try to locate the office that deals with the type of scholarship you are looking for (such as the study abroad office) and then check their website or call or email to inquire about scholarships that are available. If no information is available online, try going into the office in person to inquire. Another helpful resource may be the general scholarship and financial aid office at your school. Even if they don’t have a specific scholarship for you to apply for, they can help point you in the right direction for your search. Also, ask older classmates and friends if they know of any scholarships or anywhere else on your campus that may be helpful in your search.
2. Find local organizations near you that give out scholarships.
The next place you should check for nontraditional scholarships are local organizations outside of your campus. These include local organizations in your community such as a Kiwanis Club or a Knights of Columbus. Though smaller organizations will likely offer more traditional scholarships to be used for tuition, room, and board, it is still worthwhile to look into them as they often have smaller applicant pools applying and you never know what you might find is available to you. Similar to looking for scholarships on your campus, check out their website or give them a call to find out more about what scholarships they offer and what they can be used for.
3. Look online.
If there doesn’t seem to be any scholarships for what you are looking for available on your campus or through a local organization, try searching on the Internet for an applicable scholarship. Looking on the Internet requires a bit more work given that you have to check that the organization that is offering the scholarship is reputable and not a scam. A good rule of thumb is that it should never cost money to apply for a scholarship online. Another downside to scholarships on the Internet is that they often have larger applicant pools applying for them than local school or community scholarships so the competition is a bit more intense. If you find a scholarship from a reputable organization, make sure to apply before the deadline and check to make sure that you fulfill all the requirements.
The most important thing to remember is to not give up. Searching for scholarships can sometimes be a long and fruitless process, but there are tons of scholarships out there that will help you to accomplish your goals and have amazing experiences during your time in college.