This is a short guide designed to help you begin your search for scholarships, no matter what you are looking to fund. Though this is not comprehensive, it will give you an idea of how to narrow down your search, and where to look.
Scholarships can cover anything from semesters in school, study abroad opportunities, research opportunities, and more. Scholarship opportunities are not restricted to those with a 3.0 GPA or above or those with unique abilities, they are available to everyone and only require a thorough search. The following are just a few tips to get you started.
Three things to think about when looking for scholarships…
What am I looking for?
Are you looking for scholarships to pay for an academic year of college? Is this a scholarship for a study abroad experience? Are you looking for support as you complete an unpaid internship? Is this a combination of a few?
Be mindful of what exactly the opportunity is and write it down. Often, you can apply for multiple scholarships in different areas because of your unique experience. So if you are a low-income student traveling to London to study at the Globe Theater, try searching for study abroad scholarships, scholarships for low-income students, and scholarships for the arts.
Who am I?
This isn’t meant to be a deep dive into yourself, though it can be. This is designed to make you think about what makes you unique, and what organizations there are that want to support you.
Sure, race, gender, and socio-economic status are common qualifications for scholarships, but there are plenty more! Are you or your family involved in Greek organizations? Does your home state or city have local scholarships? Do you have a particular hobby that is supported by a larger foundation? Do you play a sport? Are you affiliated with a religious group? What about a social group such as National Honors society or Boy Scouts of America? Do you have an interest in a topic that could become a scholarship opportunity?
What am I passionate about?
There are many scholarship opportunities organized around social causes, such as the Don’t Drink and Drive scholarship, the Platt Family Scholarship on immigration, We The Future scholarship, and more. Some organizations will require you to be doing work related to their cause, and some simply require an essay on a topic related to their mission.
How do I start?
The number of choices out there can certainly feel overwhelming, so the best way to start is answering the three questions mentioned above. Once you know how you and your experience is unique, you could even begin at Google.com and search “scholarships for X”
- Try larger websites such as Scholarships.com, StudentAid.ed.gov, or the US Department of Labor’s scholarship database
- Visit the Career Center and ask about both what the office offers, and what Career Peers and their friends have done in the past
- For study abroad or summer opportunities, talk to departments relevant to the subject you’ll be pursuing in this opportunity, such as Overseas Programs or African and African American Studies department
- If you are receiving academic credit, talk to Student Financial Services about receiving a summer scholarship
- Look for scholarships attached to corporations and non-profits, such as The Coca Cola Scholars Foundation, Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway, or the Gates Millennium Scholars Program
- Check with local organizations that work towards a cause that interests you
- There are even more! Do some research on the JumpStart scholarship for nontraditional students or the Niche scholarship that has no application, just a random drawing
- The list goes on and on…
This was just a brief introduction into the search for an appropriate scholarship, and hopefully one step on the path to a wonderful experience! If you have any questions, reach out to your advisor, or call the Career Center at 314-935-5930!