How to Discover Worthwhile Private Scholarships

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Bethany Robinson
Blog author Bethany Robinson stands holding a large scholarship check from the Rice Scholarship Foundation. Standing behind her are three members of the Rice family.

The expenses of a college education place a heavy burden on families each year. This situation can be particularly difficult for those from middle-class families who do not qualify for Federal Student Aid. As someone whose family income is too high to benefit from income-based student aid and whose parents are not able to financially assist, I am required to cover the entirety of my college education. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I have found private scholarships to be a great source of college funding. Here are a few tips I have found useful in discovering worthwhile private scholarships.

Getting Started

For many, the search for private scholarships begins during their senior year of high school. The first step in discovering available scholarships is to search your local newspaper and create a list of community clubs and organizations. A few examples may include the American Legion, Kiwanis Club, and community councils. Now with your list, pull out a device, and enter “[Name of Organization] Scholarships” into the search bar. It is best to complete these searches during December and January as many deadlines take place in March and April. Collecting the application information and deadlines early provides you with enough time to analyze and answer the scholarship essay questions.

Using Available Resources

Universities generally provide an abundant quantity of scholarship opportunities for their students. My university has an Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to assist students in discovering scholarships. I recommend searching to see if your university has a similar office that can provide you with a list of private donor scholarships. Scholarship offices receive donations from companies, foundations, and organizations and then create scholarships with the donor’s preferred applicant qualifications. It is important to keep in mind that many scholarships specified for students with certain majors or activities will, on occasion, be awarded to applicants with partial or similar eligibilities. You would be surprised how many private scholarships go unawarded because of a lack of applicants.

Typically, large colleges and departments will provide exclusive scholarships for their students. I originally discovered the existence of such scholarships through a flyer on a bulletin board in my university’s science department building. I advise glancing over such boards to discover information about scholarships as well as additional programs available to students on campus. Participation in clubs, research, and volunteer work will improve your scholarship applications.

Start Applying!

Now that you know where to look for private scholarships, start applying now! Remember to take the proper measures in checking you have answered all the necessary questions and completed the entire application before submitting. I wish you the best on your future scholarship applications!

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