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Student Financial Aid College Scholarships
Develop a scholarship strategy: Although most student aid comes in the form of
federal education loans and grants from colleges, scholarships are available to
students who qualify.  If you decide to invest your time in a search for scholarships, it's
important to have an organized system to find, apply for, and win scholarship money.
Research local scholarships first: Begin with your high school guidance office.
Counselors will know about scholarships for students graduating from your high
school. They may also be aware of scholarships for residents of your town, county,
and state.

Check organizations and employers: Organizations of all types and sizes sponsor
scholarships. Explore categories such as religious, community service, fraternal,
military, union, and professional. Employers like fast food chains, department stores,
and supermarkets often give scholarships.

Contact your state Department of Higher Education: Almost every state has a
scholarship program for residents -- keep in mind, however, that awards are usually
limited to students who attend college in-state.

Use a scholarship search service: A scholarship search company collects
information on hundreds of awards and compares your student characteristics with
scholarship restrictions. Based on your answers to a questionnaire, you will receive a
list of possible scholarships. It is up to you to decide which ones you will try for.

Research institutional scholarships: Since the vast majority of all scholarship
money is disbursed by colleges, it makes sense to research what kinds of
scholarships are available at the schools that interest you. Check out college
websites, catalogs, and financial aid offices for this information. Institutional awards
can be offered on a university-wide basis, or within a particular college or major.

Scholarship Application Tips: The scholarship application process is very similar to
the college application process. First, you filter a large list of possible choices into a
focused list that matches your requirements. Then you create compelling applications
that are supported by your achievements, essays, recommendations, and interviews.
Here are some tips to help you create strong scholarship applications:
- Start Your Research Early
- Read Eligibility Requirements Carefully
- Organize All Scholarship Materials
- Make Sure Your Application Is Legible
- Proofread Your Application Carefully
- Don't Leave Items Blank
- Follow Instructions Carefully
- Make Copies of Everything You Send
- Double-Check Your Application
- Get Your Applications in Early
Tip: Start your college search as soon as possible!
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