Scholarships

NEVER pay to apply for a scholarship, unless you talk to Mrs. Martin first.

Looking for money to fund your college education? Now you can fill out your scholarship forms online and print them at home! Follow the links below for the scholarships you are interested in. Click on the fields and start typing the requested information.

NOTE: You cannot save the form with your typed information included. You must print the form out once you've finished filling in the fields.

You will need Adobe Reader version 9 or higher to view and fill out the forms on this page. Adobe Reader is free to download and install. Click HERE to get it!

This Year's Scholarships - 2020-21 Deadlines

"No Essay" College Scholarship - August 31, 2021

Don’t Text & Drive Scholarship - September 15, 2021

DDS Dental Scholarship - (You must go into dentistry) - Sept. 19, 2021

Easy Scholarships - September 30, 2021

Don't Text and Drive Scholarship - Sept. 30, 2021

Our Shout it Out Scholarship - September 30, 2021

Money Metals Exchange Scholarship - Sept. 30, 2021

OppU Achievers Scholarship - Sept. 30, 2021

The Common App https://www.commonapp.org/ The Common Application is accepted by more than 900 schools, and helps streamline the admissions process for students. Through the platform applicants can apply to multiple colleges at once, so students only have to fill out details that most schools require, including name, address and extracurricular activities, one time. Deadline is Jan. 1, 2022, but because this application process takes longer, it is best to start it ASAP.

FAFSA opens up Oct. 1, 2021

Service Academy Nomination from Congressman Ron Estes (for any service academy) - October 1, 2021

Service Academy Nomination from Senator Marshall https://www.marshall.senate.gov/military-academy-nominations/Roger Marshall (for any service academy) - October 1, 2021

Service Academy Nomination from Senator Jerry Moran (for any service academy) - October 1, 2021

Driven Coffee Roasters - October 1, 2021

Save a Life Scholarship - October 1, 2021 (students majoring in the healthcare and education fields)

AES Scholarship - Essay - When you look back on your life in 30 years, what would it take for you to consider your life successful? What relationships or accomplishments will be important on this journey?. Oct. 8, 2021

Leaders Saves Lives Scholarship (Red Cross) ASAP

Rudd Scholarship https://www.ruddfoundation.org/college-scholarships(for Kansas residents who qualify for a Pell Grant) - Accepting applications Oct. 12- Dec. 11, 2021

Branson Shows Inspired Scholarship https://www.bransonshowtickets.com/company/scholarship/ - October 15, 2021

CJ Pony Parts Video Contest - October 15, 2021

Wichita State University - Distinguished Scholarship Invitational (Must be admitted to WSU by Oct. 15) - Admissions Application Deadline for participation in DSI, Barton, Klose, Wallace, Koch, and McGregor Scholarship Competitions November 1, 2021

WSU College of Engineering (WISE) (Must apply to WSU before Oct. 15, 2020) Competition is Nov. 19, 2021

YoungArts' National Arts Competition - October 15, 2021

Heisman High School Scholarship - https://heismanscholarship.com/ October 19, 2021

Horatio Alger State Scholarships - due October 25, 2021

Chick Evans Scholarship for Caddies - October 30, 2021

https://www.jkcf.org/our-scholarships/college-scholarship-program/how-to-apply/Cooke College Scholarship - November 18, 2021 - (for high-achieving high school seniors with financial need) any 4 year college

Coca-Cola Scholarship October 31, 2021

A Voice of Democracy Scholarship - Oct. 31, 2021

Ivy Panda Scholarship - October 31, 2021

UMKC School of Medicine six-year B.A./M.D. Program - November 1, 2021

Kansas State University Scholarships November 1, 2021 - Priority Deadline

University of Kansas Scholarships November 1, 2021- Priority Deadline

Sapling Scholarship - November 1, 2021

Mesothelioma Cancer Victims Memorial Scholarship - November 8, 2021 (How cancer has impacted your life? ANY form of cancer.)

The U.S. Department of State - The American Youth Leadership Program - (temporarily suspended)

(Joseph Carl and Brenna Leahy participated in this program.)

Elks Most Valuable Student Competition - November 15, 2021

Hagan Scholarship (for Rural Students) November 15, 2021 (This is a NEED based scholarship. A CSHS student has won this scholarship.)

Fort Hays State University Scholarship (Priority Deadline) November 15, 2021

James Cox Students Photography Scholarship - November 15, 2021

FormSwift Start up Scholarship -November 15, 2021

The Cooke College Scholarship Program - https://www.jkcf.org/our-scholarships/college-scholarship-program/ November 18, 2021

Pet on the Bed Scholarship - (Students interested in Veterinary Science) November 29, 2021

Sixt Scholarship - November 30, 2021, Only the first 500 submitted applications will be accepted.

Andrew Flusche Scholarship Contest - November 30, 2021

Leaders Saves Lives Scholarship (Red Cross) ASAP

Washburn University Scholarship - December 18, 2021 (priority Deadline)

Newman University Scholarships - Priority Deadline for Cardinal Newman Scholarships and others- December 1, 2021

Look Twice Save a Life - December 1, 2021

Lamber-Goodnow Injury Law Team Scholarship - December 1, 2021

Lamber-Goodnow Injury Law Nursing Scholarship - December 1, 2021

Lamber-Goodnow Injury Law School Law Scholarship - December 1, 2021

Lamber-Goodnow Injury Medical Scholarship - December 1, 2021

Lamber-Goodnow Injury Law PT and OT Scholarship - December 1, 2021

University of Saint Mary Jubilee Scholarship (Full Tuition for 4 years) December 1, 2021

CT Chimney Repair - a scholarship to students who are considering a career in construction, plumbing, carpentry, or other skilled trades December 1, 2021

Creative Masonry a scholarship to students who are considering a career in construction, plumbing, carpentry, or other skilled trades. - December 1, 2021

Barbara Lotze Scholarship for future Physics teachers - December 1, 2021

National Space Club and Foundation - December 3, 2021

Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship - December 5, 2021

Rudd Scholarship (for Kansas residents who qualify for a Pell Grant) - Accepting applications Oct. 11- Dec. 11, 2021

Burger King Scholarship - Accepting applications Oct. 15-December 15, 2021 (Must be employed or a child of an employee of Burger King.)

Equitable Excellence Scholarship - Accepting applications Sept. 1-December 15, 2021

Dirk Derrick Law Firm Scholarship - December 15, 2021

Loofbourrow and Chase Scholarship - December 10, 2021 - to Mrs. Martin by 3:00 PM

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cLK9RFF09XW9b3pt7FQV9vhLAvA2Axvo/view?usp=sharing

THIS IS A BIG ONE FOR JUST FOR RESIDENTS OF SUMNER COUNTY

  • Your application for the scholarship must include:

    • Completed typed and signed application form

    • Personal letter stating goals and aims (sign)

    • Small photograph

    • Letters of recommendation from two people, not more than one from school

    • Current Official Transcript (Shelly will print this)

Washburn University Scholarship - December 18, 2021 (priority Deadline)

Ark Behavioral Health Scholarship https://www.arkbh.com/scholarship/ - December 31, 2021

Imagine America High School Scholarship Program - December 31, 2021 - For career education

United States Naval Academy - December 31, 2021

United States Air Force Academy - December 31, 2021

NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund December 31, 2021

Imagine America Scholarship - December 31, 2021

Market Mall Eye Clinic Scholarship - December 31, 2021

BadCredit.org Wealth Wise Scholarship - December 31, 2021

OppU Achievers Scholarship - December 31, 2021

Nicodemus Wilderness Project December 31, 2021

Joanne Norris Scholarship - December 31, 2021

Navy ROTC Scholarship - December 31, 2021

Acacia Leadership Scholarship - January 3, 2022 (This is for a male going to K-State.)

GE Reagan Foundation Scholarship (leadership camp) January 5, 2022

US Naval Academy Summer Seminar https://www.usna.edu/Admissions/Programs/NASS.php#fndtn-panel1-Steps-For

Applications open January 24, 2022. Mrs. Martin has a lot of info on this!

SuperMoney Financial Literacy - January 9, 2022

Mount Builder Spirit Scholarship at Southwestern College - January 5, 2022 - This is a FULL tuition scholarship.

Young Filmmakers Contest - January 5, 2021 (Open from 3rd grade to College)


Aaron Joel Smith Youth Volunteer Memorial Scholarship - January 8, 2021

KLL Memorial Scholarship January 10, 2021 (You must have a parent that died from cancer.) Caden Runnells received this scholarship in 2019.

KSDE AEOP Margaret Van Horn Scholarship https://community.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4704

(for students pursuing a career in business or in education) - January 14, 2022

America's Farmers Grow Ag Leaders Scholarship January 14, 2021

Air Force ROTC Scholarship - January 14, 2022

Hire A Helper Scholarship - January 15, 2021

NCK Tech Scholarships - January 15, 2022 - This is a community/technical college that is located in Hays and Beloit.

Profile in Courage Essay Contest - January 15, 2021

Congress-Bundestag Vocational Scholarship (Study aboard - Germany) January 15, 2021

Providian Medical Scholarship - January 15, 2021

Porch Skilled Trade & Technology Scholarship - January 15, 2021

Leaders Saves Lives Scholarship (Red Cross) ASAP

United States Coast Guard Academy - January 15, 2022

Live Mas Scholarship (Taco Bell) - January 20, 2021

Wichita Legal Professionals - for students interested in pursuing a career in the legal field of law-related business career. - January 22. 2022 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1F1ckkEA7XQieWBGizJNRv9eaOiqM1gQH/view?usp=sharing

Ternes Family - Jonathan A Memorial Scholarship - January 26, 2021

Kansas JCI Senate Scholarship - January 26, 2021

Alexander Hamilton Scholars - January 27, 2021 For JUNIORS

Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship - January 30, 2021

Wheatland Electric Scholarship - Due January 31, 2022

Wheatland Electric is committed to the leaders of tomorrow and is proud to announce our board of directors has approved eighteen $1,000 scholarships to be awarded for the 2021-2022 school year.14 of these scholarships are for high school seniors, 1 at each of the 13 high schools in our service area and one for a student attending a high school outside of our service area, but having a parent or guardian who is a Wheatland Electric Cooperative member. 4 of these scholarships are for high school juniors. These Leadership Scholarships are being offered as Wheatland Electric will not be participating in the 2022 Youth Tour or Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp due to issues related to the ongoing pandemic. High School SeniorsPlease find our Scholarship application online at https://www.weci.net/scholarship-program. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. One $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student at each high school in our service territory. High School Juniors—Please find our Scholarship application online at https://www.weci.net/youth-tour-program.The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. All juniors attending a high school in our service territory are eligible to participate in this competitive scholarship program and the top 4 applicants will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Nitro Scholarship - January 31, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

United States Military Academy - January 31, 2022

Ag Day Essay Contest - January 31, 2021

Ronald Reagan Presidential FoundationScholarship - January 31, 2021

Wheat Country Pheasant Forever & Quail Forever - CANCELED FOR THIS YEAR!

Epsilon Sigma Alpha https://www.epsilonsigmaalpha.org/Archive/Scholarships/scholarships/how-to-apply - Feb. 1, 2022

United States Merchant Marine Academy - February 1, 2022

Pittsburg State University Scholarships February 1, 2022

Association for Women in Mathematics - February 1, 2021

The Jackie Robinson Foundation - February 1, 2021 - (designed to address the financial needs of minority students)

Umps Care Charities Charities All-Star College Scholarship - February 1, 2020 - The All-Star Scholarship is open to children adopted at or after the age of 13.

Thompson Family Scholarship - February 3, 2021 - For a CSHS senior ONLY going into the Industrial Arts field. This year they will give out 2.

BPW Scholarship- February 3, 2021 - word version

BPW Scholarship - February 3, 2021 - pdf

Sumner-Cowley Electric Youth Tour and Leadership Camp - February 9, 2022 - https://www.sucocoop.com/youth-tour-leadership-camp-june-16-23-2022-washington-dc

Sedgwick County Electric Cooperative Youth Tour and Leadership Camp - February 5, 2021

Sedgwick County Electric Coop Youth Tour Application - Feb. 5, 2021

ExploraVision Student Award - February 8, 2021

Sumner Cowley Scholarship - February 9, 2022 - https://www.sucocoop.com/scholarships

Evergy Craft Scholarship - February 15, 2021

GPACAC Student Scholarship - February 15, 2021(Must Attend high school in Nebraska, Kansas, or Oklahoma and have a 3.0 GPA or better)

Paul Max Service Scholarship - February 15, 2021(Must Attend high school in Nebraska, Kansas, or Oklahoma and have a 3.0 GPA or better)

Hutchinson Community College Scholarships February 15, 2022

Leaders Saves Lives Scholarship (Red Cross) ASAP

Cowley County Community College - February 15, 2022

Scholarships for Military Dependents - Deadline may vary - Must be a Military Dependent

Fort Hays State University Balanced Man Scholarship - February 15, 2021

Simon Youth Scholarship - February 17, 2021 (This Towne East and West)

M3 Math Challenge - February 19, 2021 (This is for a small group of students.)

Army ROTC Scholarship - February 24, 2022

Butler County Community College Visual Arts Interview Day This also includes Fine Arts- Art Scholarships, Box Office Scholarships, Instrumental Music Scholarships, Keyboard Scholarships, Mass Communication Scholarships, Theatre Scholarships, To be eligible and considered for the first round of scholarship awards, all submission requirements must be received by Friday, February 26th, 2021 at 11:59 P.M.

Collars Scholarship (P.L.A.Y.) - February 28, 2021

Kansas Contractors Association Scholarships - February 28, 2021

Nitro Scholarship - February 28, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

Conway Springs Recreation - February 28, 2021

Nolan Moore Memorial Scholarship https://piamidam.org/nolan-moore-foundation/ for students pursuing a career in printing technology/management - March 1, 2022

Kansas Association of Directors of Plant Facilities (Leora Seiler won this scholarship 4 years ago.) March 1, 2021 Only children whose parent or legal guardian is actively employed in a K-12 or secondary education institution and engaged in buildings and grounds, food service or transportation position shall be eligible for these scholarships and it is the responsibility of the school to submit their best applications for competition.

4-H Scholarship - https://www.kansas4-h.org/resources/awards-and-recognition/scholarships.html March 1, 2021

Kansas Farm Bureau @ Kansas State University March 1, 2021

Kansas Farm Bureau @ Fort Hays State University - March 1, 2021

Butler Scholarship - March 1, 2021

SEME Education Scholarship - March 1, 2021 (Pursuit of degree or certification that leads to a career in automotive. )

Sedgwick County Farm Bureau Agricultural Association - March 1, 2021

Sedgwick County Farm Bureau Agricultural Association Scholarship Ambassador Program - March 1, 2021 (Only children whose parent or legal guardian is actively employed in a K-12 or secondary education institution and engaged in a building and grounds, food service or transportation position shall be eligible for these scholarships and it is the responsibility of the school to submit their best applications for the competition.)

Kansas Farm Bureau Collegiate Scholarship March 1, 2021

Kansas Farm Bureau Technical School Scholarship March 1, 2021

Fred & Mary Koch Foundation scholarship - March 1, 2021 - Must be a dependent of full-time employee of Koch Industries.

Lori Dechant Foundation Scholarship (seniors in South Central Kansas with a physical disability) March 1, 2021

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation scholarships to the children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen - March 2, 2021

MKC Scholarship - March 15, 2021 - MKC member-owner or a MKC/TMA employee

2020 Kansas Farm Bureau Collegiate Scholarship March 1, 2021

Project Yellow Light - Billboard - March 1, 2021

Create-A-Greeting Card Scholarship Contest - March 9, 2021

Kansas Grain and Feed Association Scholarship - March 5, 2021

Tony Bergkamp Scholarship - March 5, 2021

DCU for Kids Scholarship - March 5, 2021

CSHS Honor Society Scholarship - March 10, 2021 (pdf form)

Kansas Grain and Feed Association Scholarship - March 5, 2021

Davidson Fellows Scholarship - March 10, 2021

Conway Springs Staff Education Scholarship - March 10, 2021 (word doc) Given to a CSHS senior.

Conway Springs Staff Education Scholarship - March 10, 2021 (pdf) Given to a CSHS senior.

BBB Student of Integrity Award - Due March 12, 2021 - mail early (They give out 12 scholarships for $2,000 each.)

Horatio Alger Kansas Scholarship THIS IS FOR JUNIORS Opens Dec. 1 - closes March 15, 2022

KCSA Scholarship - March 15, 2021

Scooter Inside Scholarship - March 15, 2021

Don’t Text & Drive Scholarship - March 15, 2021

BMW/SAE Engineering Scholarship March 15, 2021

KACRAO Scholarship - March 15, 2021 (This is a Kansas Scholarship)

Leaders Saves Lives Scholarship (Red Cross) ASAP

Kansas Masonic Scholarships - https://kansasmasonic.foundation/program/scholarships/

(Numerous scholarships are available.) - March 15, 2021

Flavorful Futures Scholarships - March 16, 2021

Flavorful Futures Scholarships Go Green Go Green - March 16, 2021

Distracted Driving Family Plan Scholarship - March 17, 2020

Northwestern Oklahoma State University. PLC - DUE March 19, 2021

WMIA Scholarship (Woodworking) - March 26, 2021

Flag House Scholarship Award and Essay - March 27, 2021

Wichita Chapter of Executive Women International - March 26, 2021

Kansas Junior Golf Assoc. Scholarship March 26, 2021

White Rose Student Essay Contest - March 30, 2021

Nitro Scholarship - March 31, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

OppU Achievers Scholarship - March 31, 2021

Folds of Honor - March 31, 2021

All American $1000 Car Review/Essay Scholarship - March 31, 2021

Optimist Memorial Scholarship - March 31, 2021 (Must be a resident of Sedgwick County)

WTU Scholarship - April 1, 2021 (This was given to two Conway Springs High School seniors last year. Turn applications into Mrs. Ronnau. Mrs. Boyles will pick them up.)

Emporia State University - April 1, 2021

Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Pro Deo and Pro Patria Scholarships - April 1, 2021

Knights of Columbus John W. McDevitt (Fourth Degree) Scholarships - April 1, 2021

'Project Yellow Light - Video and Radio - April 1, 2021

Women in Computing Scholarship - April 1, 2021

Kansas Seed Industry Assoc. Scholarship - April 1, 2021

Butler Scholarship - April 1, 2021

AFSA Scholarship - April 1, 2021

Kansas Financial Scholars Essay Scholarship Contest - April 1, 2021 - EVERYBODY completed in one of those games as a junior in Personal Finance class and as a Senior in CSI. You can ALL apply.

Haviland Scholarship - April 2, 2021

KCCEOA Scholarship April 3, 2021

American Foreign Service Association Essay Contest - April 5, 2021

Conway Springs High School Principal's Scholarship - April 9, 2021

Sumner County Farm Bureau - April 9, 2021

Jesse Williamson Scholarship - April 9, 2021 - Must be using music after high school

Driver Safety Scholarship - April 10, 2021

KTA Design Contest - April 11, 2021 - grades 8-12

Conway Springs High School Booster Club Scholarship - in pdf - April 12, 2021

Conway Springs High School Booster Club Scholarship - in word - April 12, 2021

CJ Pony Parts Video Contest - April 15, 2021

Horatio Alger Career & Technical Scholarships https://app.goingmerry.com/scholarships/horatio-alger-career--technical-scholarships/7571 - April 15, 2022

The 2021 Essay Contest - April 15, 2021

American Legion Legacy Scholarship (Your parent must have been in the military on 9/11/2001) April 15, 2021

We The Students Scholarship Contest - April 15, 2021

College JumpStart Scholarship - April 15, 2021

Kansas Star Casino Scholarship - April 17, 2021 - The application process for the Class of 2021

Tzu Chi Scholarship - April 30, 2021

Nitro Scholarship - April 30, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

"Celebrate the West" regional art competition - April 30, 2021

The Pat McAfee Scholarship https://thepatmcafeefoundation.org/ This is for children of military parents - April 30, 2022

Chester Entrepreneur Scholarship -April 30, 2021

E-waste Scholarship - April 30, 2021

McCormick & Murphy Scholarship - April 30, 2021

O’Brate Foundation Regular Scholarship - May 1, 2021

Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Freshmen Application: March 1, 2021 - May 1, 2021

Kansas Military Service Scholarship May 1, 2021 (or SOONER) The FAFSA, must be completed by April 1.

Save a Life Scholarship - May 1, 2021

Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship May 1, 2021 (or SOONER) Scroll down

Kansas Career Technical Workforce Grant May 1, 2021 (or SOONER) Scroll down

Kansas National Guard Educational Assistance May 1, 2021 (or SOONER) Scroll down

Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship May 1, 2021 (or SOONER) Scroll down

Kansas State Scholarship May 1, 2021 (or SOONER) Scroll down

Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship May 1, 2021 (or SOONER) Scroll down

Rover Scholarship - May 1, 2021

DutchCrafters Heritage Scholarship - May 1, 2021

Red Cross Leaders Save Lives - May 1, 2021

“Art of Healing” Scholarship 2021 - May 14, 2021

Aging Matters Scholarship - May 15, 2020

Theo & Alfred M. Landon Photo Contest - May 15, 2021

Nitro Scholarship - May 31, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship - May 31, 2020 (for JUNIORS)

Fleming Scholarship - June 5, 2020

Abbott and Fenner Scholarship June 12, 2021

Big Sun Athletic Scholarship June 19, 2020

Beacon Scholarship for Rural America https://carrot-top.com/beacon-scholarship June 30, 2022

Rosen & Ohr Scholarship - July 20, 2020

HomeTheorys Scholarship - July 17, 2020

2020 Ponton Law Scholarship - July 31, 2020

Kansas Balanced Man Scholarship - May 1, 2019

Girls State - JUNIORS GIRLS ONLY - May 1, 2019

KMCA Scholarship (in a transportation related field) - May 3, 2019

Future Champions Scholarship - May 17, 2019

B. Davis Scholarship - May 22, 2021

Liiaison's Data-Inspired Future Scholarship - May 31, 2019 (It says Oct. 31 but there is a deadline for the fall semester of May 31.)

Law Company Family Scholarship - June 1, 2019 (Applicant must be a child or step-child of a Law Company employee)

Mesothelioma Help Cancer Scholarship - July 20, 2019

Nitro Scholarship - June 30, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

OppU Achievers Scholarship - June 30, 2019

Recovery Village Health Care Scholarship - June 30, 2019

El Dabe Scholarship - June 30, 2021

Spirit of Giving Scholarship - July 31, 2021

Nitro Scholarship - July 31, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

XBOSoft STEM Scholarship - August 1, 2021

Emporia State University Balanced Man Scholarship - August 1, 2021

Nitro Scholarship - August 31, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

Nitro Scholarship - September 30, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

Nitro Scholarship - October 31, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

Nitro Scholarship - November 30, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

Nitro Scholarship - December 31, 2021 (Super easy to complete)

American Indian College Fund - Deadlines may vary

Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund - Deadline vary

Hispanic College Fund - Deadlines may vary

Midwest Student Exchange Program - Dates Vary

Prom Picture Contest - Dates Vary

NUMEROUS Scholarships in Business and Accounting - Deadline Vary - Scroll Down.

Accounting Degree Scholarships from DiscoverBusiness.us

Business Degree Scholarships from DiscoverBusiness.us

Scholarship Sites:

Here are a few scholarship sites that USA Today checked out.

Cappex

Chegg

CollegeNet

College Resource Network

Fastweb

Finaid.org

Free-4U

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

International Scholarships

Money Geek

Scholarship Experts

Scholarships

Scholarship Points

School Soup

Super College

The Sallie Mae Fund Scholarship Search

United Negro College Fund

Peerlift

The key to getting a scholarship is to know well in advance what scholarships are available, how to find them, how to apply for them and finally to actually complete and turn it in before the deadline.

What Exactly is a Scholarship?

Scholarships are essentially free money provided by various organizations or individual benefactors to assist worthy students in pursuing higher education. They can be quite large (although these are harder to find or qualify for) and they can be small just a few hundred dollars. Small scholarships should not be overlooked because it’s possible to qualify for several and they can add up.

Grants are also free money, but they are provided by the federal and state government as well as directly from certain schools. Grants are usually need-based and there is no requirement to repay them. Another form of federal aid is work-study, where you are provided a job earning at least minimum wage and your earnings are applied to college expenses.

Types of Scholarships

There are more scholarships out there than you can imagine. While fewer kids can qualify for the full tuition scholarships (although you can’t rule it out if your kid is an exceptional student), there are lots of smaller scholarships to be had. The most common misconception about scholarships is that only the smartest, most talented, or most athletic students need to apply. That is far from the truth. There are literally thousands of scholarships available through local community organizations, national associations, churches, ethnic organizations, private companies, and individual benefactors. Some scholarships are awarded based on achievement, while others are awarded just for applying. There could be a dozen with your name on it. You just need to know where to look and how to apply for them.

While many are merit-based awarded for academic or athletic achievement, others are more interested in the quality of your character and vision for the future. In searching for potential scholarships, you will find a seemingly unlimited number of options – some very unique. Here are some examples of what you will find:

Community service scholarships: Available to any student who actively participates in community services activities. Check with your local community organizations.

First in family scholarships: Many organizations seek to encourage students who are the first in their family to aspire to college.

Special scholarships: Students with special or creative talents or interests can find a plethora of scholarships available. There are even scholarships available for students interested in duck calling, or those who can speak “Klingon”.

Military scholarships: Dozens of organizations award scholarships to students with family members, including fathers, mothers, siblings, grandparents, who have served in the military.

Writing Scholarships: If your student has average grades but a knack for writing, there are hundreds of scholarships awarded based almost entirely on a written essay.

Searching for Scholarships

Because of the number of different scholarships that are available, and the fact that they are not all widely advertised, it’s important to be proactive in locating opportunities and applying early on. Begin your search with one of the "Scholarship Sites" (listed above) where you can complete a questionnaire and then use their service to match your child with dozens of potential scholarships. The next place to start looking is in your community. Tap into your associations with fraternal organizations, heritage organizations, employers, and community leaders. High school counselors can be a good resource for finding local scholarships as well.

Your first course of action should be to list potential benefactors starting with local community organizations, affiliations with religious or ethnic groups, employers of your family members, social organizations to which family members belong, and non-profit organizations in your area. You should also make a list of the colleges you are considering as they may also have resources. With your list, meet with your school guidance counselor to enlist their help in mapping out your search.

Your best search tool is the Internet, but don’t ignore networking and word-of-mouth. The more people who know of your determination to earn a scholarship, the more opportunity you have of finding the diamond in the rough. Be prepared to complete lots of scholarship applications.

Learn to Write Effective College Scholarship Essays

Essays are not just required by writing scholarships. Nearly all scholarship providers require an essay as part of the application process. Scholarship providers are interested to learn more about applicants through thoughtfully written essays that reveal more of their character and ability to communicate. Students who are able to write a quality essay stand a better chance of catching the attention of scholarship committees, so it is important to put the effort into writing a scholarship-worthy essay. To ensure that you submit a winning essay every time, follow these tips.

    • Make sure you clearly understand the writing assignment. Read the instructions several times.

    • Give a lot of thought to what you want to write. Do a brain-dump of your thoughts on paper and then organize them around a theme.

    • Create an outline of the essay, making sure it touches on all of the elements stated in the instructions.

    • Begin writing your essay by expanding on the key points in your outline.

    • Write clearly with concise and simple language.

    • Pay extra attention to your grammar and spelling. It is the one time when you should be shooting for perfection.

    • Read the instructions again and then read your essay out loud to see if it covers the essential points.

    • Ask someone with strong writing skills to proofread your essay.

Getting a Letter of Recommendation

Next to the essay, the most important part of your scholarship application is a letter of recommendation. Who you choose to provide you a letter of recommendation is just as important as what that person might have to say about you. Having your Uncle Ned or the person who babysat you when you were young will carry no weight, regardless of all the good things they say about you. In fact, the scholarship committee will consider the “quality” of the person recommending you in their decision.

The person recommending you should not only be very familiar with your background and qualifications, his or her own background and experience should be relevant to the scholarship for which you are applying. For example, if you community service is a part of the scholarship’s criteria, you should ask a past supervisor from the organization where you participated. In other words, be sure to choose a person who is appropriate for the scholarship you are seeking.

To help your letter writer, you should give them all of the information they need about the scholarship. You could take it a step further and provide them with a sheet of bullet points of things you've done in high school. Just be sure the bullets don’t state anything about you that they wouldn’t agree with. You will also want to have the letter printed on their letterhead.

Finally, make it really easy for them to comply by providing a large mailing envelop and postage. Throughout your interaction with them, make sure you show your appreciation and remind them of the important role they are playing in helping you pay for college.

Avoiding Scholarship Scams

Scholarship search services are a big industry for parents who are desperate to land a scholarship for their students. So naturally, the industry attracts its share of scammers and fraudsters. It is estimated that more than 350,000 students and families fall prey to these scams every year. The legitimate scholarship search firms can be very effective in widening your search, but as you begin to look into these types of services, keep your eye out for these popular scams:

Upfront Payments: Never pay an application processing fee or send any money upfront. And most definitely do not provide any bank or credit card information. It doesn’t cost money to submit a scholarship application, so if you are asked for upfront money, it is probably a scam. Do your due diligence. There are plenty of free scholarship search organizations you can work with that don’t require any fees.

Guaranteed Results: There are no guarantees when it comes to winning scholarships. If you are offered a refund if a scholarship isn’t granted, it is probably a scam. Remember the previous rule – no upfront payments.

We do the work for you”: Yes, there is a lot of work involved in researching and applying for scholarships, so an offer to take that off your hands is tempting. It doesn’t matter though because you must still apply for scholarships yourself.

Do the Necessary Financial Planning for College Funding

It should be noted that, while scholarships are a great source of college financing, a number of scholarship dollars you receive will reduce the amount of financial aid money you can obtain. So, they should first be considered as an option if your financial situation might preclude you from receiving need-based grants, subsidized student loans, or even private student loans. If you are eligible for need-based grants, you will need to work with your school counselor or a financial aid specialist to determine if the offset would reduce your overall financial aid when both grants and scholarships are included.

Don’t Give Up

There are literally thousands of scholarships available. It takes a lot of work to find and apply for them. It also takes a lot of perseverance, because you could get turned down for all of them. But, you can’t give up trying, because it is a numbers game. In addition, your qualifications can change over the course of a year. Any change in your academic or personal circumstances could make the difference on any of the scholarships for which you have already applied. Also, new scholarships are being created all the time. To win the scholarships game, you simply need to persevere – continue to search, follow up, and reapply as warranted. Somewhere, there is a scholarship with your name on it.

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