With college tuition at an all time high (and rising every year!), scholarships can ease the financial burden. Scholarships can be in addition to financial aid or by themselves. There are two types of scholarships, need-based and merit-based. Need-based are for students that qualify for financial aid. Merit-based scholarships are granted based on your credentials/interests. This post will primarily be focused on applying for merit-based scholarships.
When it comes to applying, don’t shy away from small amounts of money. These smaller scholarships can be less competitive, and if you get enough of them, they can really add up! The same applies to scholarships with an essay application or recommendation letter. The added work causes a lot of students to not apply, which works out even better in your favor! Additionally, your recommenders can submit practically the same letter they used for your college admissions process.
We recommend starting to apply for outsider scholarships in the winter of your senior year since most applications open up then. However, don’t forget to keep an eye out in the summer and once you're at college. Some scholarships are only eligible for applicants who are already in college, so you can never be done looking!
Here are some great resources to find scholarships:
Ask guidance counselors for local scholarships.
Visit your college’s website to see which scholarships they offer.
Check with your parents and relatives to see if their employers have scholarship funds.
Peerlift - Allows you to filter by grade-level and scholarship category; also includes summer programs with financial aid (summer programs are completely optional and great for learning/enrichment but working over the summer is just as good if it would be better for your family/your college fund if you held a job)
College Scholarships - Allows you to search for scholarships based on keywords