Search online for scholarships.
Begin by searching for scholarships that are specifically for your grade in school. For instance, there are many scholarships designed for high school seniors. The best place to begin in the US is the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search, here, which searches over 7,000 scholarship opportunities by category and other keywords.
- If you are currently enrolled in college, there should be some resources through your school’s website that will help you find scholarships. You should also search for scholarships within your institution that are designed for continuing students.
- There are scholarship-specific search engines that you can use to find potential scholarships. Some of these include www.khmer-online.com or visiting Scholarship For Khmer
Ask your counselor or teacher about scholarships.
Career counselors or college counselors know a lot about the types of scholarships that are available. They may be able to direct you to scholarship options you haven’t yet considered.
- If you’re from a disadvantaged background, you may also be eligible to participate in TRIO, a US government program designed to help low-income families, first-generation college students, and people with disabilities get into college. TRIO offers guidance counseling and scholarship opportunities.
Think about your background.
Many scholarships give money to students with particular ethnic or racial backgrounds. There are even a variety of scholarships for students in military families or for students with parents in volunteer or fraternal societies. There are also a lot of scholarships designed for students who are returning to school late in life or beginning at a non-traditional age. Think about your background and search for unique scholarships that you are eligible for.
- Check the Federal Student Aid website, here, for information on scholarships for students from military families.
- If you’re a current or former foster care child, you may be eligible to participate in the Educational and Training Vouchers program through the federal government. Find more information here.
- Consider also checking websites from your church or religious organization, community organizations, and local businesses. Many offer scholarships for local students.
Keep track of deadlines.
Deadlines for scholarship applications are firm. This means that you can’t send in your application late and expect you will get the scholarship. Keep track of deadlines by using a spreadsheet or your personal calendar. Then you won’t miss an important deadline.
- Make a note of whether the scholarship deadline is when your paperwork needs to be received or if it is a postmarked deadline. If the deadline is when your paperwork needs to be received, you should send in your application at least a week before it is due. This will assure that it’s received on time.
While there are thousands of legitimate scholarship opportunities out there, there are also plenty of people who would be willing to take your money or steal your personal information. Use the following tips to keep your search smart:
- Don’t pay for scholarship information. Most of the time, the information that financial aid “services” provide is already available for free elsewhere. Furthermore, these services may promise to “guarantee” financial aid or lock in a scholarship if you just give them a credit card number. This is a scam.
- Be careful of application fees. In most cases, “scholarships” that require an application or processing fee are fraudulent. Reputable scholarships are there to help you out, not milk your money.
- Don’t pay someone else to file a FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is used in the US to help the government determine your eligibility for aid. It’s free to file and is very easy. Save your money and don’t hire someone else to pay to file it for you. These companies are never associated with the US government.
- Be wary of “winning” contests. You may receive notification that you’ve “won” a contest or been “selected” for a scholarship that you never applied for. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Usually, you will have to pay money in order to claim this “scholarship,” which kind of defeats the point.