- Start searching for scholarships as early as possible. You can begin as early as ninth or tenth grade, as scholarships for younger students sometimes have less competition. The key is to start early and renew efforts year after year to take advantage of additional opportunities.
- Sign up for a free online scholarship search service. Sallie Mae’s free database at www.collegeanswer.com/scholarships lists more than 3 million scholarships worth over $16 billion. Visitors can also register for a chance to win a $1,000 drawing each month.
- Expand your search. Not all scholarships will be found online: check with local clubs, religious organizations, employers, and your guidance counselor. Local scholarships tend to be less competitive. Also, corporations often award scholarships to their customers.
- Don’t be intimidated if you’re not at the top of your class. Scholarship judges love to see leadership and volunteerism, and many don’t ask for GPA or standardized test scores. When applying for scholarships, make sure to showcase commitment and depth with involvement in campus clubs or organizations.
- Don’t overlook unusual opportunities. Some organizations offer scholarships to highlight interesting career opportunities, hobbies or products. For example, you could apply for the Duck Calling Contest, American Association of Candy Technologists Scholarship, Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year Award, or the Stuck at Prom Duck Brand Duck Tape Scholarship Contest, to name a few.
- Search year round. There are many scholarships available all year long, and scholarships due in the winter can have less competition. Treat scholarship searching and applying like a part-time job, as many opportunities come up throughout the year.
- Watch out for scholarship scams. Tag lines such as “It’s guaranteed,” or “We’ll do the work for you, for a fee,” are red flags for scams. Scholarship searches should be simple and free to use.
Sallie Mae Celebrates November’s National Scholarship Month With Easy Tips To Help Students Score Extra Money For College
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