If you’re headed to college, figuring out how to pay for it is probably the toughest challenge you’ll face along the way. Fortunately, there are tens of thousands of scholarships out there for the taking — if you know where to find them and how to win them. Competition is fierce, but searching for college scholarships established specifically for women can significantly cut down the number of other applicants.
Types of Scholarships
There are three ways, besides your own savings account, that you can pay for college: grants, loans, and scholarships. Grants and scholarships don’t need repayment, so it pays to devote your time and energy to seek them out. Not all scholarships are created equal; there are different ways to win them. Some scholarships are awarded according to financial need; others are merit-based depending on your ACT or SAT scores or your GPA. Athletic scholarships are another type.
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However, if you’re not near the poverty line, a straight-A student, or a basketball star, that need not deter you from seeking out scholarships. The thing to remember when it comes to scholarships is that every little bit helps! Even if you only win a scholarship worth $500, that’s still less money you need to spend on tuition.
How to Find Scholarships
While some scholarships are general and allow just about anyone to apply, others have extremely strict guidelines. A scholarship may only be available to members of a certain group, such as Kiwanis or Knights of Columbus. Scholarships may be targeted to students in certain fields, such as journalism or environmental biology. Students attending a specific college may qualify for a private scholarship offered by alumni. Many scholarships are available for families of those who served in the military. There are even scholarships just for red-haired individuals or those who are over 7 feet tall.
To find these scholarships, there are several ways to search.
- If you or your family members belong to a certain club, a workers’ union, or a large company, see if it offers scholarships to members’ children.
- Your school’s financial aid office or high school counselor can help you look.
- The U.S. Department of Labor offers a free search tool, and the U.S. Department of State has information as well.
- • Use an online database such as Scholarships.com, Fastweb, or Unigo.com.
Scholarships To Check Out
Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund: This scholarship is for women age 35 and older who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in a technical or vocational program. Recipients must be U.S. citi