Getting a college scholarship can be tough business. It’s super competitive, with tons of people just as qualified as you are. If you want to look for an edge, try searching where the herd of future college scholars aren’t. Where there’s less competition, there’s a higher chance for success. Here are a few tips that should increase your chances.
Look for Local Scholarships
While everyone else is going after the big-named prizes at their school of choice, all you have to do is look in your backyard. The key benefit to looking for local scholarships is that it’s inherently less competitive, since they are geared towards local residents. Think about going to your local banks, businesses, clubs, religious and other organizations.
While conventional thinking may be that you need to find one or two scholarships to pay your way, think outside the box and look for small ones. Studies show that people often overlook scholarships that are less than $500. While the amounts are small, they can add up quickly.
What if you want to look into an athletic scholarship, even if the big schools weren’t clawing to get at you? That doesn’t mean there isn’t an athletic scholarship out there for you. Remember, you don’t have to be an All-American to get one. There are tons of smaller schools that are willing and able to reward you for your above-average athletic skills.
Mid-level high school athletes, or those in lesser-known sports, often pay private consultants to connect them with coaches, with fees ranging from $700 to $5,000. But with the emergence of do-it-yourself web-based services, you can pay a modest fee (as little as $39) to campaign for yourself. Websites like beRecruited.com, Prepchamps.com, and TRUpreps.com allow you to showcase your skills by video in front of thousands of college coaches who are members of these sites.
You should feel lucky you live in these modern technological times. The Internet offers a treasure trove of information immediately at your fingertips. If none of the above tips work for you, simply take to the world wide web and try a scholarship search engine. That’s right, there are websites that are strictly there to help you find the scholarship that best fits your needs. FastWeb is the largest database of student scholarships; FindTuition and Broke Scholar are other options.
Finally, if all else fails… do the old-fashioned thing and talk to a financial counselor. They may be able to lead you to scholarships you didn’t know about.
This Education How-To Guide series is brought to you by EduInReview.com. Original author, Jason Knapfel.