Third-Party Scholarships in Perspective

Money-Scholarships-Financials-Applications

Once you’ve filed the FAFSA and are awaiting your financial award letters from each of your colleges, you can take some time to pursue what is commonly referred to as “Outside Scholarships,” meaning money awarded from outside the colleges.

Until recently, I did not see much value in these scholarships for two reasons: a) lots of time invested in internet research and filing with relatively small monetary rewards; b) many colleges did not allow you to apply any outside awards to their packages, but instead replaced some of their awards with the outside scholarships you may have earned.

I have, however, opened my mind to change about this topic, and I’ve got some new advice. So, here are my recommendations regarding the pursuit of Third-Party Scholarships.

Local Scholarships Take Priority

Don’t forget to pursue through your school all the local scholarships that you can. These are usually sponsored by local service groups like the American Legion, the Junior Women’s Club, etc. Your guidance office will have a file on those.  Apply to all of them that fit you, because your chances of winning these are far greater than the online scholarships

What Types of Scholarships are Online?

There are generally two types of  scholarships to pursue online: Application-based or Essay-based. Filter them by your unique characteristics (left-handed, red-head, musician, cultural background, interest, volunteering, pet-lover, etc.) Then, organize them by deadline or whatever way is most efficient for you.

Where Do I Find the Best Sources?

One of my favorite sources is Scholarship America. Led by Jeanine Fugate, an alum from my alma mater, the College of Saint Benedict, Scholarship America posts on USNews.com blog as the Scholarship Coach. Download this great resource: EBook The Scholarship Coach, Vol. 4 , by going to the website http://scholarshipamerica.org under the Students and Parents tab, and click on the brown tab on the right hand sidebar.

However, there are many, many sources and websites for scholarships. Here are some that have good reputations among college admissions coaches.

Search engines  with which you’re probably familiar: FastWeb, CollegeNet, The College Board

Other great websites: Scholarship Monkey, GetSchooled, Unigo, Zinch, Scholarship America, and many more. The recommendation is that you select 3 to 5 that fit you to work with and ignore the rest.

Next Week’s Blog: Keeping Organized in Your Scholarship Search and Avoid the Scams