The good news is that there are literally thousands of scholarships available every year for high school students. There are scholarships for students who are great students (3.5 GPA anyone?), great athletes (of all kinds of sports) and great leaders. But what if you don't think you are the best at anything? No worries - there could be a scholarship out there for you - based on an interest, your hometown, or even because of where your Mom or Dad work.
No doubt, it's hard to find scholarship information. That's why Get Schooled and MTV are launching Connect Fund in January 2012 that will use your Facebook profile to connect you to hundreds of available scholarships. Until then, here are a few tips and tricks.
- FINDING THE SCHOLARSHIP FOR YOU. There seem to be lots of different websites out there, and not even those capture all the scholarships available. Some sites you can trust, and some sites will charge you a fee or mis-use your personal information. Be careful out there! You should not have to pay to find scholarship information!! The College Board has a great scholarship search engine. Fast Web and Scholarship.com also have scholarship databases - and it's all free to you. The catch? They will sell access to your data to sponsors...so be ready for the spam mail! .
- BE CAREFUL OF SCAMS! Young people and their families - anxious about how to pay for college - lose millions of dollars each year to scam artists. Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Read up on how to spot a scholarship scam from our friends at finaid.org.
- START APPLYING NOW! It is never too soon to start the application process. Some of the scholarships are actually offered in October and November. Definitely check the deadlines and leave yourself enough time to write a thoughtful application. If you are overwhelmed, prioritize which scholarships applications to start first. You should try to spend the most time on scholarship applications that you think you are best qualified for.
DON'T FORGET TO CHECK WITH YOUR COLLEGE. Once you have decided what college or institution you are attending, there may be some scholarships specific to students who are attending that college. Check with the financial aid office at your college and ask about possible scholarship opportunities.