From the desk of college counselor, Mrs. Rusk
I often hear the question “When should I start looking for scholarships?” No matter who you are, the answer will always be the same. Now. It is never too early to start the scholarship search process. There are many ways to search for scholarships. Below, I will summarize some of the main methods.
- Naviance Under the colleges tab there is a list of local scholarships that is constantly being updated. Check this REGULARLY to see when new scholarships become available to MHS students.
- scholarship websites These websites allow students to create a profile to narrow down potential scholarships for free. It’s like having a Google search set up for your own personal scholarship possibilities! Some examples can be found on the CCRC Scholarship Resource page found here.
- your library Oftentimes local scholarships will be advertised at your library, check here to see if there are any options available for you.
- foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups Being a part of an organization offers another opportunity to be connected to potential scholarships. Be sure to ask specifically as you may not see advertisements – stay aware!
- organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest If you know what you plan to study, look into organizations that are a part of that field as they may have opportunities to support you as you work toward that specific career path.
- ethnicity-based organizations Organizations that support your specific ethnicity or unique background situation could have scholarship opportunities.
- your employer or your parents’ employers Ask at your workplace and have your parents check their workplace for scholarships that might not be well advertised but do exist.
- the financial aid office at a college or career school After you have applied to and been accepted to your future school, look into their scholarship options for newly admitted students. Some scholarships are automatic based on specific factors that are a part of your application, but there are almost always more options that you can find and apply to separately after you have been admitted!
- the U.S. Department of Labor’s FREE scholarship search tool
- federal agencies
- your state grant agency
- talk to your counselor
Remember, if you ever find a scholarship that asks you to pay a fee in order to apply, consider that to be a large red flag. Scholarships will not require a financial contribution as part of their application process.
One final point: the best way to help yourself receive scholarship funds is to perform well academically and get involved. A high GPA with a transcript full of demanding coursework, along with a complete resume of activities including volunteer hours and leadership experience will afford you many more options when scholarship opportunities become available.