What are they and where do they come from?
One of the most important ways that many students pay for college is through private scholarships. Although there are many kinds of private scholarship, they all follow a general format. A donor gives money designated to help students pay for college. The donor then gets to put whatever kinds of restrictions on that money s/he wants. For example, some scholarships are targeted at specific regions (students from New Haven county), ethnic groups (Polish students), potential majors (students who will major in chemical engineering), or many other things. The donor also has to specify how to decide which students will get the money.
How do I apply?
Most scholarships require you to write an essay for them. You can recycle your essays between one scholarship and another, but you should be aware that each scholarship is looking for something just a little bit different, and so using the exact same essay over and over is unlikely to be a good strategy.
Cool! How do I find scholarships?
The good thing about these scholarships is that there are thousands available to you.
- Your guidance counselor has a book full of scholarships that you should look through.
- There are also websites, such as scholarships.com (but check with your guidance counselor first -- some websites are scams that steal your personal information)
- The College Board "Big Future" search is a great resource