How to find the right scholarship for you

July 26, 2012

To begin with, there is no wrong scholarship for anyone. With the exception of those limiting you by geographical region, intended major or gender, there's no reason not to apply for any scholarship you come across. As scholarship application essays tend to range in topic, you'll have to put in some extra work, but recycling and tweaking essays for similar prompts can take under an hour, and with that much tuition assistance on the line, it never hurts to apply - from the National Merit Scholars to opportunities for people who hope to become candy technicians or have an aptitude for duck calling.

Still, there's no question that you'll want to especially seek out those scholarships that pertain to your discipline or are so tailor-made to you that you have a blast writing your application essays for them. So how do you seek out the best scholarships for you?

1. Consider your interests. This almost goes without saying, but sit down and make a list of the things you enjoy - soccer, French, your home economics class, cars, video games, South American literature, agriculture, pre-Socratic philosophy, comic books? Mine these for potential scholarship topics. With some sleuthing, you'll find the opportunity for each.

2. Search locally. Check in with your high school's main office, talk to you guidance counselor, speak with teachers, consult town newspapers and just generally be on the lookout. Plenty of scholarships for high school seniors go out locally from civic organizations and private companies.

3. Contact your chosen school. Once you've decided on your college, be sure to contact them regarding specific campus scholarships you can apply for. Many schools have alumni scholarship opportunities for students in specific disciplines. And just because you're in your sophomore year doesn't mean you shouldn't inquire or apply.

4. Master the internet. As if you didn't know this already, the internet will be a good friend. In between Facebook and your favorite MMORPG spend some time surfing the web for scholarship opportunities. Plenty free-of-charge search engines and websites exist especially for this purpose. Use them!

5. Schedule breathers. Applying for scholarships is exhausting, especially when you've just gotten off the non-stop train of college applications and admissions. Give yourself a night off every once in awhile. Whether you head to the movies, hang out with friends or catch up on some sleep, know that you've earned it.

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