How to Get a Scholarship

Scholarships are a major component of college financial aid in the United States. There are thousands of scholarships, offered by schools, employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, and professional and social organizations. If you want to increase your chances of winning some of the college scholarships, here are some simple ways to increase the odds that you’ll win a scholarship for your college education.

Search Online for Scholarships: Begin by searching for scholarships that are specifically for your grade in school. For instance, there are many scholarships designed for high school seniors. The best place to begin in the US is the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship, which searches over 7,000 scholarship opportunities by category and other keywords.

Ask Your Counselor or Teacher About Scholarships: Career counselors or college counselors know a lot about the types of scholarships that are available. They may be able to direct you to scholarship options you haven’t yet considered.

Think About Your Background: Many scholarships give money to students with particular ethnic or racial backgrounds. Think about your background and search for unique scholarships that you are eligible for.

Get Excellent Grades: Getting excellent grades at the university in your home country most definitely improve your chances, as this is something universities will look at when evaluating candidates for scholarships.

Know What You Want To Study: Don’t just apply for a scholarship. Know what you want to study before you apply as this will increase your chances of actually standing out. It will message to the evaluation committee that you are dedicated and have a goal. Do your homework! You will have to do this for each and every scholarship you apply for.

A Lot of Scholarships Are Hidden: Once you do your homework, you may find a number of smaller scholarships that are specific for the study you want to attend. Most of these scholarships can just be found on the university websites and most of the time just the pages specific to the study. Try these free sources of information about scholarships:

  • The financial aid office at a college or career school
  • A high school or TRIO counselor
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s FREE scholarship search tool
  • Federal agencies
  • Your state grant agency
  • Your library’s reference section
  • Foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups
  • Organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest
  • Ethnicity-based organizations
  • Your employer or your parents’ employers
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