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

This material can be used to answer questions you might receive from your student. Use it as a starting point for your discussion. The material is written from the perspective of the student and the information may be duplicated in your area.

Scholarships can be found everywhere. You just need to know where to look. Here are four important areas to research:

Locally. Begin your research by visiting your high school guidance counselor to find out what's available. There are all kinds of scholarships that you 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, 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. 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 parents. There are many companies that offer scholarships and/or tuition programs for children of employees. Ask your parents to check with the human resources department at their place of employment for details.

Lastly, you should also inquire about scholarship opportunities at your own student job. Employers such as department stores, fast food chains, and supermarkets often award scholarship monies to eligible employees, and you may qualify. Ask your manager and/or human resources contact for more information.

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 student characteristics. Usually you fill out a questionnaire, and based on the information you provide, you are given a list of possible scholarships that you may be eligible to apply for. A number of companies offer this service free of charge, so you owe it to yourself to investigate. 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. Contact the financial aid office at your school(s) of interest for more information.

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