Many seniors are on their way to having their college applications turned in (or will be soon), and are probably ready for a break from college, college, college! But, before closing the books on the college application process, I encourage you to consider spending time searching and applying for private scholarships.
As I tell the students I work with many times throughout our college list development together, the BEST way to get scholarships is to put together a good college list. By far, the most scholarship money (after need-based aid from the government) comes from schools themselves. Therefore, applying to schools where you are a top candidate or offer something schools want (top grades, a talent, diversity), is a great strategy.
-There are a number of misconceptions about private scholarships. You can read about a few of them here. Scholarship search companies can skew the data a number of different ways to make them seem more plentiful than they actually are. Finding viable scholarships can take time, they are often relatively small amounts (average of $500-$1,000), can be for just your freshman year, often require an essay, and you usually have to apply to multiple to be awarded one (10:1 ratio is the average). Continue reading