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How to Find the Right Scholarship

Are you looking for scholarships but don't know where to start? Finding the right scholarship for your situation can be a very tricky business. There are millions of them out there, and it is up to you to do your research and find the ones that apply to your status of course of study. You will need to approach this process with patience and determination.

The first step in finding the right scholarship is knowing how scholarships vary from one another. All scholarships will fall into one of four sources: federal government, state government, post-high school institutions, and private funders. Knowing which scholarship to go after and when, will allow you to organize your search process into a more structured experience.

The next step in the process would be to come up with some possible sources for each category. For the federal and state scholarships, check out sites like FinAid.org or fafsa.ed.gov for an extensive list of scholarship options. If you're like most students however, filling out the FAFSA is going to be the extent of your government scholarship/grant experience. The remaining categories, institution and private funders, are more likely to capture your attention, so make sure you don't cut any corners! Make a list of businesses, clubs, and organizations that either you or your family are connected to. Churches, jobs, parents' companies, recreation centers, community service clubs, and fraternal organizations, all hand out millions of academic dollars every year. Within the actual schools, don't forget to check scholarships offered on both the campus wide level as well as departmental financial support. Many scholarships are exclusively available for specific majors and minors, not to mention first year freshmen.

Your academic record - specifically your GPA will be one of the biggest factors in whether or not you will be qualified for a scholarship. If your grades weren't tip top, make sure you include any interests and extracurricular activities in you application. Many scholarships look for qualifications other than GPA. Some seek candidates who are involved in community service, social groups, music, or even specific clubs. Most importantly, make sure your essay specifically pertains to the scholarship that you are applying for, and that your application is 100% complete.

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