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More and more scholarships are being offered beyond the traditional awards given for academic achievement or financial need. Recently, CNN asked Scholarship America for a few of our tips on finding those scholarship dollars; among our best advice is to start local, get going early, and look beyond academics to every aspect of a student's interests.
- Look online… Zinch.com is an excellent resource to connect students to scholarships affiliated with a variety of schools.
- Fastweb.com is a search engine that connects users to a wide range of scholarships. (NOTE: Students should never pay for a scholarship search. The information is available free of charge via a variety of sites.)
- Look beyond academics, athletics and ethnicity and put your interests and attributes to work…if you are tall in Texas, a Star Trek fan, a caddie, or even a chess player, there are scholarships for all types of extra curricular activities, personal traits and even family health and wellness issues.
- Don’t wait until school starts to get started...Many scholarships don’t open until September or October however the applications can be quite long so now is a great time to gather the information and start working on the application before classes start and homework begins. Scholarship America, the largest provider of scholarships in the country, offers links to a variety of resources and tips for finding those much-needed funds and completing the application process at scholarshipamerica.org.
- Look close to home…many local financial institutions, small businesses and even parents’ employers offer scholarship programs. In addition, there are Dollars for Scholars chapters around the country that award funds. Spend time researching and reaching out to find what might be available.
- IMPORTANT NOTE – Follow the scholarship application guidelines. If it asks for a 200-word essay, don’t send a 400-word essay because you may be screened out of the process. Also remember to include information about volunteer work, sports participation and other activities, which highlights your personality and also may be the factor that earns you those scholarship dollars.
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About Scholarship America
Scholarship America is a national education service organization that mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. Scholarship America has distributed more than $2.5 billion in scholarship assistance to more than 1.7 million students over the last 50 years. Scholarship America’s programs, which include Dollars for Scholars®, help fund both entry-level and multi-year scholarships, as well as emergency financial grants. More information is available at scholarshipamerica.org.
The Dream Award
Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a new multi-year, performance-based scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These renewable, annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.
The Scholarship Coach
Scholarship America's blog, The Scholarship Coach, appears weekly at USNews.com, featuring expert advice on all kinds of scholarship issues. Here on the site, we feature a new highlight from the blog every week, and you can also download a free Scholarship Coach e-book!
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