Scholarships: Not Just for Valedictorians
4565_friend_160Your scholarship application can earn you big bucks!

Have you ever thought that scholarships are only for valedictorians and jocks? Actually, thousands of scholarships are given away every year that apply to everyone.

Many scholarships can be easy to win, as long as you are willing to put in a little time and effort. Colleges offer scholarships for the arts, academics, sports, and financial need. Here are the different types of scholarships that you may fall into:


The most common scholarships are merit-based. Students who excel in high school because of their grade point averages (GPA) or SAT/ACT scores receive these kinds of scholarships.

Although it’s harder to receive, you might qualify for a merit based scholarship for the arts and athletics as well as for academics.

If you volunteer or belong to an organization like National Honors Society, you might be able to earn a scholarship.

Need based

4565_cap_160Applying to college? Get used to acronyms!

You can apply for a scholarship based on financial need. When you enter college, you will have to fill out a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA). This form asks you to identify your assets, income, and dependency status and determines your expected family contribution (EFC).

You could end up receiving financial aid from the federal government and from your state government.

Private colleges also provide financial aid to students. For private colleges, you will still complete a FAFSA. The financial aid office then subtracts the EFC from the annual tuition fee of their college to determine how much of a grant will be given to you.

4565_money_160Save yourself a lot of money.

Student specific

You can receive a student-specific scholarship for reasons such as gender and race. Many colleges have alumni programs that fund scholarships for students of a certain race. Private organizations and other corporations do the same.

For example, the Gates Millennium Scholars Foundation (GMS) awards 1,000 applicants who are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students.

There are also scholarships for those with disabilities, those pursuing military service, and even for those who have survived cancer.

Career specific

Both the government and private organizations offer scholarships for students who are entering a specific field of study.

The government funds scholarships like the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that offers scholarships to students who will be teachers in low-income areas.

The Nursing Scholarship Program is another federally funded scholarship that targets students who pursue nursing.

Some businesses will also offer to pay for students’ degrees if that student comes back to work for that company for so many years.

Local scholarships

4565_counselor_160Talk to your guidance counselor.

Many areas offer local scholarships. It’s much easier to win one because fewer people enter them.

These scholarships may not be for a lot of money, but they definitely add up when helping cover items like books.

Local businesses are proud to support their local students. Nonprofit organizations, churches, and charitable trusts also give local scholarships.

Talk to your guidance counselor about the local scholarships being offered in your area.

When applying for scholarships, it is important to stay organized...

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