Thousands of local, state and national scholarships are available – and
many may match your criteria. But you’ll never know unless you do the research and submit the applications. Here are a few places you can look:
- ScholarshipQuest features over 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships. After you create a profile, this online tool will match you with scholarships that fit your criteria.
- Your counselor’s office is a place you should visit at least once a week during your senior year to check on local and national awards.
- The college you plan to attend is one of your best sources for scholarships. Contact the colleges that interest you for a listing of scholarships and information about criteria, deadlines, and application procedures.
- National scholarship search sites such as Fastaid.com, ScholarshipExperts.com, SchoolSoup.com and Scholarships.com.
- Other resources could include your coach, clubs and organizations, and your parents’ employers and civic organizations.
Most scholarships are based on academics, but others are based on criteria such as community service, leadership ability, or talent in art, dance, music, or athletics. Some scholarships are based on financial need as measured by the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Therefore, to earn scholarships, earn good grades, get involved in your school and community, and complete the FAFSA.
Although applying for scholarships takes a lot of time and effort, the benefits might be enormous. If you spend 20 hours applying for 20 scholarships and receive $2,000 in awards, you just made $100 an hour!
Follow these tips to increase your chances of earning scholarships
- Organize scholarships in deadline order and set aside time each week to work on them.
- Focus on college-based and local scholarships. You’re more likely to earn them over large national awards.
- On the application, list your activities, awards, honors classes and volunteer or paid jobs. Track them using the Activities Resume.
- Earn the best possible ACT/SAT scores by taking the exams in the spring of your junior year and again in the fall of your senior year.
- If an application requires a letter of recommendation, give the person writing the letter plenty of notice, a specific deadline, and a list of your accomplishments and activities. Use quality references such as a teacher, coach or counselor.
- After writing an essay, ask an adult (preferably an English teacher) to review the document for spelling, grammar and sentence structure.
- Make sure the application is complete and submitted by the deadline or it will be disqualified.
- Don’t ever pay for scholarship services! Talk to your school counselor or contact EducationQuest about the many free options available.