Financing Your Future: College Scholarships

Brianna is an 18-year-old from Webster, NY. Her true passions lie in helping others, in playing tennis and in trying new things. She doesn’t know where life will take her, but she is excited to find out.

scholarships, Red Cross, ayn rand, religious, religion, freedom, scholarship, viral videos, scamsWhy is it so hard to get money for college? It often seems as though scholarships are only awarded to those who qualify for financial aid, or are unique in who they are or their lifestyle. Many of my friends say, “I’ll never get any scholarships,” or, “what’s the point of applying, because I’m not going to win anyways.”  But, little do they know there are millions of scholarships and all it takes to receive money for school is an application, an essay and/or maybe a letter of recommendation.

1.    Ayn Rand Essay Contests

http://aynrandnovels.org/essay-contests.html

  • Read one of Rand’s novels and write an essay on one of the topics provided
  • Not just for high school seniors (each novel has a grade range for students who can participate)
  • Even if you know who Ayn Rand is and some of her ideas, and don’t agree, don’t miss this opportunity to receive up to $10,000

2.    Richie’s Spirit Foundation Scholarship

http://richiesspirit.org/guidelines/

  • The Richie’s Spirit Foundation promotes organ donation. This Foundation is in the spirit of Richie Herskowitz, who died in October 2007 of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) related causes.
  • The application for this contest contains two short essays that are similar to ones asked on the common application, a letter of recommendation, and little else besides your time
  • $1,000 dollar award

3.    Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest

http://www.bjconline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=146

  • Write an essay on the role that religion should play in presidential campaigns
  • Open to high school juniors and seniors
  • Up to $1,000 award

4.    Viral Video Scholarship Contest

http://www.americanlawyeracademy.com/viral-video-scholarship-contest

  • Create a viral video/public service announcement about safe driving of no more than 120 seconds
  • Win up to $10,000

5.    Frame my Future Scholarship Contest

http://www.diplomaframe.com/contests/frame-my-future-scholarship-contest-2012.aspx

  • Create a piece of art that shares what you want to achieve in your personal and professional life after college
  • $1,000 scholarship

6.    Run a Blood Drive

  • Depending on where you live, the American Red Cross offers various scholarships for high school seniors that run blood drives.
  • The amount of scholarship money that you get varies with the amount of blood and type of blood you collect.

How to make sure you’re not being scammed:

  • Don’t EVER pay to have your application processed (except maybe postage)
  • Make sure that a certain group of people are eligible because restrictions are always a part of the scholarship process
  • If the scholarship GUARANTEES money if you apply, it’s probably a scam. You can’t guarantee a winner without reading the application first

Other ways to find scholarships:

  • Go to your guidance counselor and see what information they have about scholarships. They will know what awards people from your school have won in the past and which awards are stretches for you.
  • Service based organizations such as Key Club, Rotary Interact, Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts all offer scholarships for graduating seniors.
  • See if your church/temple/mosque (etc) offers scholarships for students
  • Many employers offer scholarships for their college-bound employees
  • Register on a scholarship website such as http://www.fastweb.com/ to find scholarships that are relevant to you and your life (be aware that you will have to provide personal information)

Photo Credit: Andrew Magill from Flickr

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