To meet the challenges of paying for their college education, students utilize a variety of funding sources. While most student aid comes in the form of federal education loans and grants from colleges, outside scholarships are becoming a much more important resource.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges encourage all students to explore outside scholarship opportunities. You are required to report any outside scholarship awards to the Office of Financial Aid Services and Student Employment. The total amount of your financial aid awards, when added to your outside scholarships, cannot exceed your total cost of attendance for any given year.
Scholarship searches take an investment in time and energy on the part of the student but can be well worth the extra effort. Our office has put together the following tips to get you started:
- Start with a personal profile. Set up files with personal information (do not use social security number or birthday), copies of transcripts, a current resume including community service and/or extracurricular activities, and a list of possible references. Having all the information readily available will save a great deal of time.
- Set up a separate e-mail address to use during the search process. Many sites will e-mail scholarship information and you don’t want your school e-mail to get overloaded or to overlook the scholarships because you don’t have time to check them as soon as received.
- Begin searching for scholarships now. Research local scholarships first. In general, the smaller the geographical area a scholarship covers, the better your chances of winning. Check membership organizations and employers. Organizations of all types and sizes sponsor scholarships such as religious, community service, fraternal, military, union, and professions. Don’t forget employers, either your parents’ or yours.
- Don’t limit yourself. Use as many FREE resources as possible in your search. Never submit a fee for an application or pay a processing fee. A scholarship is free money so it shouldn’t cost you a thing.
- Apply for scholarships that pertain to you and your interests. Don’t leave questions blank but don’t include more information than requested. Pay close attention to deadline dates and eligibility requirements.
- Get involved in campus/community activities. Academic performance is not the only factor used in the awarding of scholarships. A student’s personal characteristics and leadership abilities also play a role.
- Be aware of claims made by scholarship search companies that offer any type of guarantee. The general rule is that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The Federal Trade Commission also warns consumers to be on the alert for fraudulent scholarship scams.
Searching for scholarships can be a rewarding experience for students who are looking for additional resources to fund their education. There are hundreds of scholarships available but please keep in mind that it takes commitment and determination to find the scholarships that meet your qualifications and to follow through with the application process. The more you try, the greater your opportunities of success.
FREE Scholarship Search Sites: