Finding College Scholarships
Applying for college scholarships could be one of the most worthwhile uses of your time to help pay for your education. With a bit of effort and energy you could reap sizeable rewards. Even if you don’t win a full-ride scholarship (and let’s face it, most students don’t) you can still chip away at your overall college costs and reduce the amount of money you would otherwise be required to borrow. Think of scholarships as free money. Similar to grants and unlike student loans, this is money that could be awarded to you that you are not required to repay in the future.
Scholarships exist for virtually every type of student — from high school to college to graduate students, and for students attending a trade or career school, as well as international students. The amount of each award will vary from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Some scholarships are merit-based, meaning there are academic, athletic or artistic achievements required to qualify. And other scholarships may call for specific qualifications such as ethnicity or gender. There are also need-based scholarships that are based on your ability, or lack thereof, to pay for college.
There are literally millions of private scholarships that are provided each year from foundations, charities, clubs, churches, corporations, and even individuals. Many of the more popular, national scholarships from organizations like Coca Cola Scholars Foundation or The Gates Millennium Scholars Program are highly competitive with a generous number of awards given each year. So just be fully aware that the odds of winning may be reduced based on the total number of people vying to win an award. But don’t be discouraged. Apply anyway and increase your overall odds of winning a scholarship by applying for both local and national scholarships.
So Where Can I Find Scholarships?
You’ve come to the right spot for finding scholarships that are not merit-based or need-based. At ScholarshipPoints.com you can win scholarships by simply completing activities to earn points, then spending those points to enter our ongoing scholarship drawings. It’s free to join and you can enter as many scholarship drawings as you’d like.
Additionally, Edvisors offers one of the largest databases of scholarships online, complete with a matching tool, called StudentScholarshipSearch.com. This is a free service you can use to find scholarships that are relevant to your background, field of study, skills, achievements, etc.
Question: Can I get a scholarship with a low GPA?
Answer: Absolutely. You can win a luck-based scholarship without any GPA requirements. Sign up for ScholarshipPoints.com, which awards scholarships through points and is not based on your GPA. You will also find a number of partner scholarships that do not require a strong GPA. Lastly, there are a ton of non-merit based scholarships that exist. Simply research and apply for as many as possible.
Question: Are there scholarships for graduate students?
Answer: Yes. While there are more scholarships available to undergraduate students, graduate students can still find scholarships and many of them are sizeable award amounts. A good place to start your search is StudentScholarshipSearch.com.
Question: Is it really worthwhile to apply for scholarships?
Answer: Many students think they’ll never win a scholarship and decide “so why bother?” But consider this: good grades are not the only determining factor in scoring a scholarship, so it is absolutely worthwhile to apply. Some scholarships are need-based, talent-based, location-based, and even luck-based. Plus, you won’t win if you never apply. It takes time, yes. But the return on investment is worth it. For example, even if you only won a small, local scholarship of $350 and it took you 2 hours to complete the essay, that amounts to $175/hour. Plus, last we checked, textbooks were pretty expensive. Every little bit of free money helps!
Question: How long should a scholarship essay be?
Answer: If you think your scholarship essay is simply being scanned and not thoroughly reviewed, think again. Scholarship providers often have committees who put a lot of time and thought in their review of your essay submission. And they don’t reward laziness. Here are some important things to note: Pay attention to the word count regardless of what it is. Fewer words than are required will often result in instant disqualification. There are some scholarship essay requirements that have 500 words or less and others that require thousands of words. Regardless of the word count, stay on topic and be sure to answer the question(s) asked.