At some point it’s important to start looking ahead at the college scholarship landscape to see what is available and to get prepared for the application process. If you wait much past your child’s freshman year in high school, you could find yourself short on options. And, instead of focusing exclusively on the larger scholarships or grants which get overrun by applicants, get as familiar as you can with the smaller ones, which can actually be more rewarding you’ll just need more of them.
The first place to stop is at SallieMae.com/scholarships where you’ll need to complete a profile. Based on a number of factors, the service will find any and all scholarships that fit your profile. You will be amazed at how many different categories of scholarships are available.
Your second stop is with the high school guidance counselors who usually have their finger on the local scholarship pulse in your community. What you don’t find there, you may find by perusing the websites of high schools in surrounding communities. If you or a relative are a member of a fraternal organization, such as Rotary, that should be your very next stop. The local scholarships will be small - $1000 to $2,500 but they add up quickly.
Lastly, use your heritage as a door opener to many of the heritage foundations Hispanic, Irish, and Scandinavian or your lineage to relatives who fought in any of the wars going back to the American Revolution.
Sure, it may make you feel like you’re looking under rocks, but it does turn out to be a percentage game. Your best percentage chances are with the small funds, and not quite as good with the big scholarships.