With college costs constantly rising, scholarships can help make your education more affordable. But you can't receive a scholarship if you don't apply. Consider the following sources to help you get the scholarship applications you need.
- Ask your guidance counselor. If you're in high school, you should check with the guidance department. Compiling scholarship information is just one of its many services. This is the best source for local scholarship applications, and they will also be able to help you find state and national scholarships. If the guidance department doesn't have the actual application on hand, they'll know the right person to call or website to visit to acquire one.
Contact the college's financial aid office. Whether you're a prospective or current student, the financial aid office can help you get applications for a variety of scholarships. You can learn about opportunities available from the college as a whole and from the department of your major. Like the high school guidance department, they won't always have the actual applications on hand, but they can tell you exactly where to get them. Some financial aid websites also offer lists of available scholarships and links to online applications.
Search online. Online scholarship sites are a huge source of scholarship applications. Some provide databases you can search through while others compile lists, often based around a theme such as scholarships for engineering majors. FastWeb, CollegeNet, and Scholarships are some popular search sites. FinAid offers several lists of scholarships organized around topics like "unusual scholarships" and "community service scholarships." If you're already aware of a particular scholarship, and you just need to find an application, search for the name of the scholarship. The awarding group will usually have downloadable application materials or an online application form available on its website.
Visit stores. Many retailers offer a national scholarship program. Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy are just three of the largest stores involved in awarding scholarships. Even though the programs are national in scope, in some cases, there is a winner from each local store. Stop by the customer service desk to ask about scholarship opportunities and to pick up an application.
Check with service and professional organizations. Contact your local Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, or other service-minded club, and ask if they offer scholarships for local students. Many groups see scholarships as a way to give back to the community's young people. Business and professional groups may also offer scholarships to encourage future members of their field, whether teachers or entrepreneurs.