Winning the Scholarship Game

Maybe college coaches aren't begging you to play for them. Maybe you are not in the top quarter of your class. And, perhaps you have not held leadership positions in school clubs and activities.

So, you're out of the running for a college scholarship, right? Not necessarily. In fact, you may be a pretty good or even very good prospect for a scholarship. However, you'll have to do some simple research. Start by meeting either your school counselor. He or she will almost certainly have information on dozens of scholarships offered by businesses and organizations in your area, and how you can apply for them.

But, that's just the beginning. Next, list every business and organization in which you or a family member is involved. That includes churches, clubs, civic organizations, and places of employment. Contact every organization on the list to see which offer scholarships.

You may be pleasantly surprised to see how much scholarship money they give away and how easy it is to qualify for some of it. And, don't forget the internet. You can (and should) try matching yourself to millions of dollars of available scholarships by using one or more of the more than 75 free online scholarship searches. The more you investigate, the more kinds of scholarships you will discover, including scholarships for students interested in teaching, future scientists, members of specific religions, students with disabilities, students from particular ethnic groups, students with talent in the fine arts, and many, many other kinds of scholarships.

You will also discover essay writing and other academic contests you can enter to win scholarships. Not all scholarships require top grades or high ACT or SAT scores. The truth is there is no shortage of scholarships out there for students of all ages. However, students have to spend some time and energy finding them. Then, they must fill out the scholarship applications carefully, and pay close attention to all requirements, procedures and deadlines. Frequently, students who conduct good scholarship searches using the techniques above end up receiving more scholarship dollars than students with higher grade point averages and standardized test scores.

Good luck.

Daniel Z. Kane has created more than a dozen websites on online degrees and online colleges. He has been a college and university dean for more than 25 years.

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