7 Steps to Help Current College Students Win Scholarship Money
By Marianne Ragins, CSP™
Many students and parents are not aware that scholarships are available for current college students. Or, they don’t know how to find them nor when to start looking for extra funding. Well if you’re reading this article, what follows are several ways students already on campus can control or knock out student loan balances completely:
- Look for scholarships and awards as soon as you know you may need or want more money. There are many types of scholarships, prizes, and awards for current college students. The Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway, Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Educational Advancement Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship and the Scholarship America Dream Award are a few examples. You can use books such as Winning Scholarships for College, directories such as the Ultimate Scholarship Book and online scholarship directories such as www.fastweb.com to find them.
- Contact the alumni association for your university or college in your hometown and ask if they offer scholarships or financial aid to students currently attending their alma mater. Many often do, yet the funds are not heavily advertised.
- Look for scholarships based on who you are, where you are, what you are, and your interests. For example, many organizations, particularly those designed to serve a specific population (like women) could be an opportunity for you! So, if you are female, search for scholarships targeting women. Are you interested in culinary arts? If so, then search for scholarships targeting culinary arts. Are you a cancer survivor? If so, then search for scholarships intended for survivors of cancer, such as the one offered by the Dr. Angela Grant Memorial Scholarship Fund.
- Contact professionals who are already working in the field you are planning to enter or obtain your degree. Ask if they are aware of associations or organizations who could help you complete your education. For example, if you’re studying in the field of veterinary medicine, contact a veterinarian. Alternatively, if it’s anthropology, contact an anthropologist. Doing so may or may not help you find a scholarship opportunity, but it could get you a paid internship and/or valuable work experience that can help you win scholarships, grants, or open doors to other opportunities. You should do this in addition to trying to find national associations and organizations that may be listed in a book or have a web site, because professionals in your local area may know of smaller, community and regionally based organizations offering scholarships and awards to students.
- If you’re studying in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related field, look for scholarships for those in your field. The scholarship offered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is an example of a scholarship open to those in a specific STEM related area.
- Look close to home. There may be a community foundation in your area with scholarships for current college students. The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia and the Community Foundation of Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties are both examples of community foundations that administer or manage scholarship programs. Some of their programs may be available to current college students. There are community foundations throughout the United States.
- Explore credit unions. Credit unions (often some very close to you) could not only be an opportunity for favorable options to handle your banking but also a scholarship or award. If you belong to a credit union, check it out. Alliant Credit Union is an example of an online credit union with scholarships available to its members (including current college and nontraditional students). Too, membership is easy. A donation to an organization listed on their web site makes you part of their credit union family. By the way, I belong to this credit union. I also belong to two other local credit unions, Apple Federal Credit Union in Virginia and Robins Federal Credit Union in Georgia. Both have scholarship opportunities for members and their families.
About the Author:
Marianne Ragins is publisher of www.scholarshipworkshop.com, author of Winning Scholarships for College and College Survival & Success Skills 101, and a $400,000 scholarship winner. Organizations in Northern, Virginia frequently sponsor The Scholarship Workshop and the Essay Writing Boot Camp for Scholarships and College led by Marianne. To be notified when registration opens for local presentations, visit www.scholarshipworkshop/newsletter or text SCHOLARSHIPINFO to 22828.