Are you a distinguished scholar? A single mother? A former cheerleader? Ambidextrous? A red-headed atheist? If so, there just may be a scholarship waiting for you to claim. Scholarships can be a great way to fund your education. Many schools, clubs, and organizations offer scholarships based on a number of greatly varying factors. Some organizations require that recipients demonstrate academic potential or achievement, while others are simply looking for someone to fill specific qualifications, such as the place you were born, your native language, particular talents, and club or religious affiliation. A number of scholarships are available for distance learners. So, whether you've written the poem of the century or are a twin from the Southern states, take a look at the three types of scholarship opportunities available to you.
Individual School Scholarships
Several distance learning schools have begun to offer limited scholarships to their students. These scholarships are generally based on academic achievement or potential for success. Some schools offer all-inclusive scholarships which cover the full cost of tuition, books, fees, and basic living expenses. However, most scholarships are partial and are meant to be a supplement to your finances. Each school has different policies and scholarships. If your online school is related to a physical university, you may be eligible to apply to the scholarships of the affiliated university. Check with your schools' financial aid department or counseling office to get up to date information about what money may be available to you. But, be sure to check early; many scholarships are only offered once a year and you may need time to prepare materials before the deadline.
Many organizations offer scholarships to students who they deem worthy. Qualifications are not always based in academics; you may be surprised what talents and attributes people are willing to award you for. If you belong to a youth organization or club, such as the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, there are many scholarships available. You may be able to score a scholarship based on your athletic ability, music talent, or writing skills. Extracurricular activities, such as volunteering, always look good on an application. There are scholarships for twins, former high school cheerleaders, overweight feminists, and people who had exceptionally difficult childhoods. Look for organizations that will honor your accomplishments or your quirks. One of the best places to look for scholarships is FastWeb.com
. This free scholarship search engine begins by asking you a series of detailed questions about yourself, and then offers information about scholarships that are individually suited to you. In all, it provides information about over 600,000 scholarships and $1,000,000,000 in funding.
Another way you can get money for college is by entering one of the many contests available. Many companies and clubs hold contests with cash rewards for student winners. The majority of contests focus around writing, although in some cases the content of the writing is weighted more than the presentation. All Ink
, a printer supply company, offers $10,000 in scholarship awards each year for essay responses. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and have a 2.5 gpa. The Writer's of the Future Contest
gives amateur writers the chance to win cash awards for their fictional writing. The sponsoring organization awards three prizes, of up to $1,000 each, every year. The Ayn Rand Institute
offers a $5,000 first place award for the winning essay. The only personal qualification is that entrants be full-time college students; there is no minimum gpa. There are dozens of contests such as these available to students every year. To find a contest that suits your skills, put "scholarship contest" in to any search engine and sift through the sites, or log on to FastWeb and check "writing" as one of your interests in your profile. Before you go to the trouble of writing for a contest, make sure the sponsoring organization is legitimate and will offer you the award without unreasonable obligation. Most reputable organizations will offer a phone number and address on their website. Avoid contests that require an application fee or will charge you for "publishing" your writing. If there is to be any money exchanging hands, it should be coming your way.