What does a scholarship do?
Scholarships are a form of financial aid that can help you pay for your education. Like grants, they don’t have to be paid back. Scholarships may cover the full cost of your education or just part of it.
Scholarships come in different sizes. Some scholarships will pay only a few hundred dollars, while others will cover the full cost of your tuition and room and board. The amount and type of money provided by scholarships vary widely depending on the scholarship provider and field of study.
There are thousands of scholarships out there—many more than you might realize—and finding them is easier than ever before, thanks to online databases like the one here at Scholarship America®!
Types of scholarships.
Here are some types of scholarships you can look for.
- Scholarships by college, university, or major.
Many colleges and universities offer scholarships to students who are planning on attending their college or university. Some will award these scholarships based on academic achievement, community involvement, and/or financial need. Others might award scholarships for specific majors or fields of study, like photography or journalism. Some schools will also set aside funds from their endowments to create new scholarship funds each year that are awarded based on the information in the student’s admissions application file.
- Scholarships by ethnicity or culture.
If you’re a member of any ethnic group, take the time to research scholarship opportunities available to members of your group only (e.g., African American, Native American). They may be based on financial need and/or academic performance; they may also be awarded through specific foundations dedicated to supporting members of these groups such as Hispanic American Capital Association Inc., National Association of Asian American Professionals Scholarship Program, and Black Excel: The College Help Network.
- Scholarships by skills/interests/activities.
Some scholarships are available through specific organizations that cater to students with certain interests, skills, or activities such as the National Audubon Society (for conservationists), Horatio Alger (for those who have overcome adversity), and Golden Key International Honor Society (for students involved in academic areas including engineering, mathematics, media studies, music, and philosophy). I
f you have an interest in something specific — from karate to knitting — visit our scholarship search page for a list that can help narrow your search down by category.* Scholarships for travel abroad programs (like study abroad programs) are often available if you’re enrolled at a college or university that has international exchange agreements with other institutions around the world (e.g., British Council USA offers an annual exchange program between the U.S., UK & Canada). It’s important when researching these opportunities
Most colleges and universities offer scholarships for students who meet certain criteria. Eligibility requirements vary widely, but common factors include:
- being a student in good standing (good grades, no academic probation
- meeting GPA requirements (you must have a specific overall or major GPA)
- being a U.S. citizen
- belonging to a certain religious affiliation
- majoring in a certain subject (e.g., business, education, engineering)
- serving in the military
How to find scholarships.
When it comes to finding scholarships, the earlier you start looking, the better. To begin your search for scholarships, check out scholarship search websites like Scholarshipa.com or CollegeBoard. Ask your teachers and advisors which groups they know of those offer scholarships to students in your field of study.
If you are a first-generation college student, ask if your parents’ employers offer any scholarship programs for employees’ children. Contact local community and religious organizations in your area as well as any fraternal or sororal organizations with chapters near you to see if they have scholarship programs available to members and their families.
Be sure to also check with the financial aid office at the schools in which you’re interested—many have their own institutional grants or awards that you may be eligible for. You can also look at the websites of professional associations relevant to your chosen field and research which ones might offer scholarships for students majoring in related fields.
How to get a scholarship.
- It’s no secret that scholarships are hard to come by, and the competition is fierce. But if you have your sights set on a nice scholarship, there are some basic steps you can take to help you stand out from other applicants.
- Get good grades – This may seem obvious, but having a higher GPA than the average applicant will definitely give you an edge over other students who don’t do as well in school.
- Write an amazing application essay – If your essay is engaging and makes a great argument for why you’re a good candidate for academic recognition, then it’ll be harder for the committee to turn down your application!
- Be a minority – Scholarships are often reserved for members of specific groups, such as people with disabilities or low-income students who would otherwise not be able to afford college tuition fees without some financial assistance from outside sources like scholarships!
- Get stellar recommendations – Having someone who can write about how great of an employee/student/person you are will really help boost your chances of getting accepted into any program they’re applying to because they know firsthand just how valuable their time would be spent working on this project instead of being wasted at someone else’s job with less pay scale opportunities!
Tips for writing scholarship application essays.
Well, I’m all about the personal. And I’m also a lover of clichés. But if you have to write an essay, then it’s time to put your money where your mouth is—and make sure to answer the question. So here’s my advice:
A personal essay is a chance to be true and authentic, but it’s also a chance to show just how amazing you are. For example, one of my favorite essays is this one by Jacqueline Woodson: “How My Third Grade Teacher Taught Me To Talk to Strangers.” It’s written as if Jacqueline was writing in her journal as her third-grade teacher read aloud his/her essays that day. Clearly, Jacqueline was an awesome student and he/she got so much out of the experience (besides being able to read). In fact, she said later that it inspired her to start writing.
Saying something like this isn’t easy for some people because they’re shy about their own abilities or don’t want others judging them; but honestly, it can be helpful—because what better way is there for people to judge you than by seeing how well you perform in front of a crowd? Trust me on this one: there are plenty of ways besides grades (emails from admissions officers, interviews with professors) that will allow audiences (you) to see just how awesome you really are.
While we’re talking authenticity here, let me add the second part of good scholarship application essay writing—which means not using clichés such as “I have always dreamed …” or “I am sure … ” If a student places emphasis on becoming creative and expressing self-expression instead of showing how brilliant they are with words, then ultimately their work will fall short—so make sure that your work does in fact focus on demonstrating your creativity and individuality and not show off skills already present in your application.
Scholarships can be a great way to finance your college education or international travel adventure if you know how to apply and get one.
Do you want to know what a scholarship is, how to get one, and how to apply for one? This article will teach you about scholarships. It explains all about scholarships as well as the difference between a scholarship and a grant. You will also find information on how to write an essay for a scholarship and read about the common mistakes people make when applying for scholarships.
A scholarship is a money awarded by an agency or organization to help pay for your education. Scholarship funds might be used towards college tuition or high school study abroad costs, but it’s important to confirm that with your sponsor. Some organizations have very specific rules about how their funds can be used, so make sure to read the fine print before applying.