Lesson 1: Performing Scholarship Research. With Internet searches yielding thousands, if not millions of results, it would take thousands of hours to go through a fraction of all available scholarships, and perhaps just as much time to determine which scholarships you have a high probability of being awarded. Consequently, you must develop a scholarship strategy consistent with the amount of time and resources you have to devote to researching and applying for scholarships.

Review the following steps for developing a workable and manageable scholarship research and application strategy (Show Me the Money, pp. 175-216):

  • Determine your primary method of research, i.e., Internet or printed material.
  • Review the available grants and scholarships on your state finance commission website (Show Me the Money, pp. 343-349) or, by performing an Internet search on “(your state, e.g., South Carolina) + student finance commission”
  • Identify and tally the state grants and scholarships for which you qualify.
  • Identify the scholarship criteria that best reflects your focus, i.e., GPA, ACT/SAT scores, class rank, race, gender, community service, leadership, foster care, military, college major, vocational or trade program, and for each of your clubs and extracurricular activities (see reference tables included in this activity).
  • Begin locally by identifying scholarships that have been awarded at your high school, in your community, and local by faith- and community-based organizations, fraternities/sororities, local businesses, and the clubs and activities in which you participate.
  • Develop a list of trusted scholarship and financial aid sources, such as your high school counselor, the financial aid administrator at the colleges to which you are planning to apply, families where students have won scholarships, or organizations that have successfully provided assistance to students in your community.
  • Develop a list of credible scholarship programs for which you personally know students who have successfully applied for and received scholarships.
  • Identify need-based grants and merit-based scholarships offered by each of the institutions on your college list
  • Visit your local public library and ask a librarian to guide you through some of the local scholarship resources and listings of some of your local community and civic organizations offering scholarships.
  • Use different Internet search engines (e.g., google, duckduckgo, bing, dogpile, yippy) and scholarship websites (e.g., fastweb, cappex, unigo, bigfuture, salliemae).
  • Focus your scholarship research on those scholarships best suited to your achievement level and personality. For example, some students would do well applying for scholarships requiring an interview, while other students would experience difficulty interviewing.

Lesson: Research Merit-based scholarships. There are many sources of merit-based financial aid available through private programs, state and local governments, and colleges and universities in the form of scholarships and institutional grants. Begin your research by identifying the areas of merit for which you will most accomplished (e.g., athletic, academic, leadership, test scores, music, art, etc.). Review the following examples of how to perform Internet searches on phrases based on your areas of merit (e.g., PSAT, ACT, SAT scores, GPA, dance, art, music, theatre, leadership, service, etc.).  

  • Perform Internet searches on the phrase, (area of merit) + scholarships, such as “Art Scholarships,” “SAT scholarships,” “ACT Scholarships,” “Math Scholarships,” “Valedictorian Scholarships,” “Class Rank Scholarships,” or “Leadership Scholarships” for each of the meritorious areas of achievement that you identified in your summary. Record each of the merit-based scholarships for which you believe yourself to be a competitive candidate onto the Form: Merit-based Scholarships provided with this activity.
  • Your scholarship search can be further refined with minor adjustments to your phrases:
    • “Scholarships based on SAT scores”
    • “Scholarships based on ACT scores”
    • “PSAT + Scholarships”
    • “National Achievement + Scholarships”
    • “National Merit + Scholarships”
    • “Academic + Scholarships”
    • “Merit-Based + Scholarships”
    • “SAT Institutional + Scholarships”
    • “ACT Institutional + Scholarships”
    • “GPA Institutional + Scholarships”
    • “Artistic Area (e.g., dance, music, art, theatre, poetry, writing) + Scholarships”
    • “Artistic Area (e.g., dance, music, art, theatre, poetry, writing) + Scholarships for High School Students”
    • “Artistic Area (e.g., dance, music, art, theatre, poetry, writing) + Scholarships for (specific term, e.g., Minorities, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, etc.)”
  • Expand your research to scholarship search engines.
  • Use your research to expand your college list by adding colleges offering merit-based scholarships, for which you qualify (e.g., honors colleges, specialized programs, merit-based scholarships, etc.), to your list.

Action: return to your LCECHS Boot Camp Narratives document and record the scholarships for which you plan to apply on the ‘Scholarship Table’ following the “Scholarship Research” page.