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Narrowing the scholarship search

Searching for college scholarships via the internet should be fairly simple, right? After all, search the word “scholarships” and you’ll get thousands of results. This can make students and parents feel either very hopeful or very frustrated. Here are some helpful tips on narrowing the ever-popular scholarship search, which should lead to some positive results.

Community foundations

There are hundreds of community foundations throughout the U.S., and they are great places to start searching for scholarships. Community foundations are organizations that donate and organize grants and scholarships for the betterment of the community. The Council on Foundations (cof.org) has a search-by-state tool to help locate foundations close to you. Once you locate some foundations of choice, you can search those sites for local scholarship listings. 

School districts

Visit your student’s school district’s website for possible available scholarships – sometimes the district will list scholarships that your high school doesn’t. Make sure to ask your student’s high school counselor what scholarships may be available through the district. 

Small scholarships

Many times parents and students will see the larger $10,000-plus scholarships and immediately apply, but so is everyone else. While it’s great to go after those large scholarships, also apply for modest ones as well. Though the smaller scholarships may not seem all that impressive, or won’t cover your entire tuition, they can add up quickly and are easier to come by. A small $500 scholarship multiplied by five doesn’t look all that small anymore.  

Write the essay, or not?

Many students hesitate to apply for scholarships requiring an essay submission. However, the essay may be a student’s best chance to make the case for why they should receive the scholarship; it helps the scholarship provider get a much better insight into the student applying. If an essay stands out, it could mean the difference between getting a “thanks for applying” e-mail or an award check.

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