Scholarships are funds received to help pay for postsecondary education including 4-year colleges, community colleges, and technical programs. Scholarships do not need to be re-paid, though there may be qualifications that need to be met to maintain the scholarship (such as GPA). Some scholarships are renewable, meaning that students can use them for each year of college; others are limited to students receiving them one time. Most scholarships are competitive and require an application.
Types of Scholarships:
- Local scholarships given by local organizations such as Alpine Bank, the Elks, or local foundations.
- Scholarships given by specific colleges. For example, Colorado Mesa University has 17 pages of scholarships students can apply to receive from the college.
- Foundation scholarships from non-profit organizations with specific missions, such as the Daniels Fund.
- National scholarships from large organizations such as Burger King, Target, etc.
Tips on filling out Scholarship Applications:
- Take your time – it is almost guaranteed that other students will also be applying for scholarships. Making sure all information is accurate, essays are well-written, and you present yourself in a positive light are all important pieces of applying. The better your application is, the more chance you will have of receiving a scholarship.
- Find a good fit – Fill out applications for scholarships that are a good fit. Most scholarships target specific students, goals, or areas. If a scholarship application indicates requirements of a 3.7 GPA and interest in band, make sure you fit those qualifications.
- Ask for help – School counselors, teachers, and parents can all look over your application and help you fill it out. Sending in 3 excellent applications for scholarships that are a good fit is better than sending out 20 poorly done applications. Use your resources.
Avoid Scholarship Scams
Watch out for scholarship scams. Every year, many families lose money at the hands of bogus scholarship companies who claim to have access to billions of dollars in private funding. They say these monies are unclaimed student aid. Before you use a scholarship service, make sure a reputable company backs the service.
A scholarship service may be a scam if they tell you:
- the scholarship is guaranteed or your money back
- you can’t get the information anywhere else
- they will do all the work
- the scholarship will cost money
- they need your credit card or checking account number in advance
To check a scholarship service, talk to your college financial aid office or call the National Fraud Information Center at 800/876-7060.