5 Tips for getting the most out of a scholarship search

  1. The time to start researching scholarships is now! There are many kinds of resources available. Check out the Web, your local library, college, financial aid offices, civic organizations places of employment or where you do volunteer work.
  2. Scholarships are available to students of all backgrounds, abilities, and levels. They are not limited to undergraduates, students with high academic averages, or those who can demonstrate financial need.
  3. Scholarship committees look favorably upon students who participate in extracurricular activities or do volunteer work. Group activities promote leadership qualities, communication skills, purpose, and commitment.
  4. Most scholarship applications require a written personal statement discussing your background, accomplishments and goals. This statement can set you apart from other applicants. Get started composing your personal statement now.
  5. Ask for letters of recommendation well in advance, and discuss the kind of information needed in the letter. It's important that your letters come from reliable sources, are written on company or institutional letterhead and are not form letters.

The Financial Aid Information site FinAid is an excellent starting point - a reliable source that offers a free, comprehensive guide to student financial aid. Sponsored by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), this site provides information on a variety of scholarship databases and search services. The finaid site also has links to some of the largest free scholarship search services on the Internet.

CollegeNet lists private sector awards from sponsors, offering scholarship money. Award listings are matched to student profiles.

College Board's Scholarship Search can help you find scholarships, loans, internships and financial aid programs from non-college sources. For additional information, call 800/223-9726.

Sallie Mae's free scholarship search is the perfect solution for anyone looking for scholarships to help pay for college. Your search will provide access to an award database that contains more than 3 million scholarsips worth over $16 billion, and is expanded and update daily.