What You Need to Know to Find Scholarships for Education!

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Finding scholarships and resources can be a time consuming task.  But it’s worth it!  Scholarships and grants can help alleviate college expenses. The cost of a higher education can be daunting for some students; however it should never prevent a student from getting an education. 

Many adult students, military personnel, parents and their high school students are trying to figure out how they’ll afford college expenses.  Before resorting to student loans, students should seriously research scholarships and grants opportunities.  There are thousands of scholarships and awards out there for all ages and levels of education.  Let the research begin!

Internet Research

One way to find scholarships and grants is to perform some online research.  Most of the online scholarship search engines will require you to register for the site.  In some cases, during the registration process the sites will ask you many questions and this may take time.  This is done to filter the scholarships that will be specific to you.  So fill out the information completely and in detail.  There are numerous scholarship search engines out there, but be aware: if a site asks you to pay a fee, it may be a scam. 

Some of the top free scholarship search engine sites are www.fastweb.com and www.scholarships.com.  Scholarships listed on these sites serve the general population of students by helping them find grants based on a wide variety of factors such as personal interests, abilities, hobbies, activities and involvement in various organizations and, yes, also military involvement. Sites that cater specifically to military are www.military.com, www.moaa.org/education, and www.finaid.org/military/.

High School Counselors/Colleges

If you don’t know where to start, you can always get help from a high school guidance counselor or financial aid advisor at the college the student plans to attend.  For high school students, guidance offices will have a list of scholarships either on a bulletin board or even on the school’s website.  Additionally, if you need help applying for scholarships many guidance counselors will help you put together the information you need such as a resume or essay.  Making an appointment with your guidance counselors to discuss financial aid can never hurt.  

Need more help?  Make an appointment with a financial aid advisor at the college you plan to attend.  Financial aid is their job; they will be able to answer most of your questions and can be a great resource for finding scholarships.  Be sure to ask if the college you are attending has any in-house scholarships for which you may be eligible.     

Community

Many public libraries will compile a list of scholarships available in your region and have librarians willing to help you with the search.  Also, local organizations often support students by offering scholarships and awards.  It is a good idea to check with your employer, a parent’s employer, or other organizations you have experience with.  If you volunteer with an organization, be sure to check with them, too.  When you are talking to organizations, it is good to have a resume on hand, along with a clear outline of your educational goals!     

Some career college state associations offer scholarships.  A list of state associations can be found here.

Finally, don’t forget the Imagine America Scholarship and Award programs for students attending participating career colleges!

Imagine America for graduating high school seniors.

Military Award Program (MAP) for military personnel.

Adult Skills Education Program (ASEP) for adult students age 19 and above.

Find more information about the Imagine America Foundation at www.imagine-america.org.