So, you’re ready for college and the acceptance letters are starting to roll in.   Congratulations!  I’m sure you’ll rock it.

Good vibes aside, how are you going to pay for it all?  Even after the federal grants come out and the work-study is distributed for the year, most families still have a “parent contribution” to contend with.

And that tuition isn’t going to pay itself.

That’s where scholarships come in.  Believe me, they help big time.  In fact, for many students, they make the difference between going to college or not.

Just so you know, a scholarship is money that doesn’t need to be paid back.  As in, free.  You don’t pay any interest, and there usually aren’t any terms other than staying in school and getting a ‘B’ average.

Scholarships are either one-time awards or — if you’re lucky – sometimes last all four years.  They come in all different dollar amounts, starting at $50 or $100 up to reaching even $10,000 or even more (think: “full ride”).

College scholarships are awarded on the basis of many different things:

  • academic merit (i.e., good grades, high SAT scores)
  • possessing special skills or talents (e.g., flute, acting, Lacrosse)
  • pursuing certain careers (e.g., Engineering, Anthropology, Photography)
  • participation in certain groups or organizations (like Scouting, 4-H, Future Business Leaders, and so on).

There is even a category of so-called “unusual” scholarships floating around out there if you look for it.

Basically, there is a little something for everyone.  And indeed lots of money is available — that is, for those who know where to find it.

Unfortunately, scholarship searches elude many families.  Either that, or people feel they stand no chance of winning, therefore never apply.

Did you know many scholarships aren’t even claimed each year?  Nobody applies!

Imagine that?  Free money — earmarked for your college education – just going to waste.  Such a shame.

Today, I’m going to help you locate college scholarships.  And in my next post (SUBSCRIBE not to miss it), I’ll give you tips for how to apply.

Where to find scholarships?

Start by having the student (not the parent) set up accounts in these 4 places:

Big Future / The College Board

Peterson’s

Scholarship America

FastWeb

I know, I know.  They ask for a lot of information you are hesitant to provide, or prefer your student not to answer.  Unfortunately, this is a time to get over all privacy concerns and feelings about over-sharing.  Supply whatever is being asked, and try not to think too much about it again.  (If you want your student to win scholarships, that is.)

Next, begin searching.  Search those 4 places, then branch out your search from there.

Search for scholarships offered by your workplaces, community organizations, nearby schools and programs, religious groups, honor societies, sports leagues, social clubs, business organizations, and everywhere else.

Leave no stone un-turned.  Seriously.  Ask everyone you know if they offer a scholarship, or if they know of scholarships anywhere else.

Additionally, find out if your state offers scholarships that homeschoolers are eligible for.  Often, just by completing a financial aid application, students become automatically eligible to receive state money.

Finally, check out links like this one:

Scholarships for homeschoolers

Look specifically for homeschool organizations that offer scholarships (statewide groups, legal organizations, local chapters, co-ops, mentoring organizations, volunteer groups, and so on).  And if you belong to an organization that does not have one, ask if they’d consider funding a scholarship this year.

There is no need to pay anyone to find scholarships for you.  It’s easy enough to do alone.  If you must, you must.  But, if you and your student make  a schedule and stick to it daily, a few minutes a day will add up to a long list of eligible scholarships within a few weeks.

When searching, look carefully at all information, making sure you’re finding the most recent criteria and application deadlines.

Don’t discount “lottery” type scholarships, either.  Somebody wins them — it could be you.