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What types of scholarships are typically given, and how can I find them?

Scholarships can be found everywhere. Your child just needs to know where to look. Here are four important areas to research:

Locally. Your child should begin research by visiting his/her high school guidance counselor to find out what's available. There are all kinds of scholarships that your child may qualify for, including some that may have been set aside for people living in your town, county, and/or state. The guidance office will also have information about many national scholarships like the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, Gates Millennium, Coca Cola, and many others sponsored by various companies and organizations.

Another important place to visit is the college aid section of your public library. Most libraries have many books about financial aid like the College Board's Scholarship Book. They will also have information on some of the local scholarships that may be available.

Organizations and employers. There are so many different types of companies and organizations that sponsor scholarships. Make a point to research everything. Encourage your student to research areas that you might have never considered looking into, including the military, religious organizations, community agencies, and banks and unions.

While on the hunt for funds, don't forget your employer. There are many companies that offer scholarships and/or tuition programs for children of employees. Check with the human resources department for details.

Free scholarship search services. There are a number of scholarship search services that you may also wish to take advantage of. These companies compile information on thousands of awards and then compare the findings to your child's characteristics. Usually your student must fill out a questionnaire, and based on the information provided, he/she is given a list of possible scholarships that he/she may be eligible to apply for. A number of companies offer this service free of charge. Individuals should resist paying someone else to do their scholarship search.

Here are some scholarship search services to check out:

College financial aid office. The majority of all scholarship money is distributed by colleges; therefore, it is very important to research all scholarships that are awarded by the schools that interest you. Institutional awards can be offered courtesy of the school, the school alumnae association, a particular department, or even a major of study, for example. Advise your child to contact the financial aid office at their school(s) of interest for more information.

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