The College Series: Scholarships 101

How would you like to go to college for FREE? Ya, me too! While full-ride scholarships are hard to get and many of us do not have a magical tree of money, we have to look for ways to pay for college. With increasing college tuition every year, it can be daunting task.

With careful planning, college can become much more affordable. There are even university programs out there that are designed to make it as affordable as possible.

I will write later on how to earn scholarships and some great websites, this blog posts focus on knowing the basics of scholarships and how to get started.  I will put more detail about each time and resources for each one in another blog post.

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There are 3 main types of scholarships out there:

Institutional Scholarships

This money comes from the University to bring down the price of tuition/ room & board. Some times, because of scores and your demographics, you just receive them; other times you have to apply. Be sure to ask when you are doing your college visits, write to our admission representative, and peruse the college’s websites. If it is a possible big scholarship you can earn, like the Presidential often full-ride type, typically the college notifies you. Be sure to know your deadlines and what is needed to apply.

National Scholarships

National scholarships are from large organizations like Coca-Cola, American Council of the Blind Scholarship, Siemens Competition, Don't Text and Drive Scholarship, and more! These usually have larger monetary value, but more people apply. Usually an essay, references, or something else needs to be done to be considered. Some scholarships are just putting your name in the hat and they draw winners. Often these “scholarships” are seeking your information. Just be sure you know what the terms and agreements are. There are many websites and apps out there that help with this process.

Local Scholarships

These scholarships are smaller in value, but less people are trying to receive them. Some local scholarships include, Judge Issac Anderson Scholarship Fund, William L. Graddy Law School Scholarship Fund, Lee County Library Sciences Scholarship Fund, Southwest Florida Deputy Sheriff's Association Fund, and more. I am often surprised at how many students do not apply for these scholarships, and often there may just be a handful of applicants. An example is one that my colleagues and I had to decide who received it. We had a set amount of money, $5,000 that could be divided however we wanted. We only had 4 applicants, so we divided them all equally.

Here are some articles and videos of students who made scholarship hunting a full-time career!

And finally, here's a great article from Yahoo with a lot links!


Dr. Amanda SterkComment