It’s easier to search for scholarships when you have an idea of what you’re looking for. This list of questions can help you narrow it down.
The scholarship search is easier to conduct when you know what you’re looking for.
While it’s true that you could browse scholarship websites like Scholarships.com and FastWeb.com and find plenty of scholarships you may qualify for, it’s also true that searching by categories will open you up to more scholarships that you may also qualify for.
Categories such as “scholarships for disabled students” and “scholarships for minorities,” or whatever fits your situation, could yield a goldmine of scholarship hits.
To help you figure out what to search for when scholarship hunting, here are 15 questions you should answer first.
1. Are you a member of any organizations? This could be a student-based organization, like the PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America), or a professional one, like the ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies). Organizations like these, and many more, often offer scholarships for its members.
2. Do you have a 3.0 GPA or higher? While many merit-based scholarships give lots of money to students with perfect GPAs, you may be surprised how many scholarships you qualify for with a GPA in the 3.0 range.
3. Are you a minority student, ethnically or racially? Minority scholarships are out there and you can search for them specifically on many scholarship websites.
4. Are you you really tall (over 6’2″)? Search “scholarships for tall people” on Google.
5. Are you really short (below 5’0″)? Search “scholarships for short people” on Google.
6. Do you have a physical illness? This could be cancer, a blood disease or something else. Many scholarships exist for students and incoming students will illnesses. CollegeScholarships.org has an excellent list on its website of scholarships for students with illnesses. You could also type in your illness in a Google search and see what other scholarships you can find.
7. Do you have a physical disability, such as a spinal injury or something that requires the help of a wheelchair? Check out the scholarships for disabled students section on Scholarships.com or a similar list elsewhere.
8. Do you have any sort of mental illness? SchoolSoup.com has an excellent list of scholarships for students (prospective or current) with mental illnesses, though that’s not the only list out there for these kinds of scholarships.
9. Have you checked your college’s financial aid page? Some scholarships are school-specific, so being a student there may qualify you (though you may need a certain GPA as well). Make sure to also check your specific department or your major’s page for scholarships, since plenty of scholarships are field-specific.
10. Do you have a weird last name? There are scholarships for students with specific last names, such as Zolp. You never know. Type in your last name followed by the word “scholarship” and see what pops up on search engines.
11. Did you play sports in high school? Plenty of athletic scholarships exist, given by the colleges themselves most of the time. You may be recruited or you may reach out yourself to coaches of college teams. Some schools have their scholarships listed on the school’s website, which could help you decide if you’d like to go there and try to land an athletic scholarship.
12. Do you have a pulse and the ability to type? If so, there are plenty of easy scholarships anyone can win, which range from entering a drawing to registering for a website. Just search “easy scholarships.”
13. Are you a woman? There are scholarships out there just for you if you are.
14. Are you religious? Your local church or religious denomination may give out scholarships. There are also scholarships in general for students of certain religious persuasions and who can demonstrate involvement in their church. Search or ask around!
15. Are you creative with duct tape, good at duck calling or a candy advocate? Lots of strange scholarships are out there that you may qualify for. Look at the various lists online for this category to find out if you qualify.
This is just a 15 question checklist to get you started. There are countless other categories of scholarships you may want to search through.
Just take a look at your life, your interests, your hobbies, your skills, your merits and your personal characteristics (quirky included) and search to see if there’s a scholarship that caters to that. You may be surprised what you find.
And even if you qualify for a number of scholarships hinted at in this article, why stop there? There’s no limit to how many scholarships you’re allowed to apply for. Dig deep to discover what sets you apart and let the free money float your way.
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