Scholarships and fellowships (such as the Teaching Fellows) are forms of financial aid that help students pay for their education. Unlike student loans, scholarships and fellowships do not have to be repaid. Hundreds of thousands of scholarships and fellowships from several thousand sponsors are awarded each year.
So how do you go about finding these scholarships? Below are some basic steps you can take.
- Start with local scholarships. Do you or your parents belong to any civic organizations, businesses, etc. that offer scholarships? (For example, local women’s clubs usually provide small scholarships, and if you work for Chick-fil-A, you are eligible for a scholarship.) Are you a member of an electric co-op? Wake Electric in Wake Forest, for instance, provides scholastic rewards. Your local public library will have scholarship information, too.
- Check with your school groups. The National Beta Club and National Honor Society offers scholarships to seniors, for example.
- Check with your potential college/university. Each individual school usually has its own list of scholarships available to students who attend there. Call the school’s Financial Aid office or visit the school’s website for this information.
- Broaden your search to scholarships available to your state. For example, www.scholarships.com and www.college-scholarships.com lists scholarships by state so you can see if any would fit you for North Carolina or Virginia. Watch your local papers for announcements of scholarships that have been awarded to students in your community and track those down for future reference. Don’t forget to check the wealth of information about financial aid at our own www.cfnc.org (College Foundation of NC).
- Search for national scholarships. College Board provides a book of scholarships listed by state. Check with Mrs. Choplin for this book. You can also sign up for scholarship searches and notifications at websites such as www.fastweb.com, www.finaid.org, and www.cappex.com. FastWeb is the largest database of scholarships, with over 1.5 million scholarships listed.
“In general, be wary of scholarships with an application fee, scholarship matching services who guarantee success, advance-fee loan scams and sales pitches disguised as financial aid ‘seminars’.”
Google “scholarship scams” to educate yourself on how to spot potentially false scholarship promises or find well-known websites to read about the best way to find scholarships. FinAid.org provides several scholarship tips here:
Watch the Happening NOW! page for immediate deadlines on several new scholarship opportunities..