View Full Version : Where are all these Scholarships everyone talks about getting?

07-15-2015, 01:06 AM
When I first started helping Elle look for scholarships, I found a MASSIVE amount of material on the web. Services that alert you to scholarships you might qualify for, scholarships that only require you to read two pages of text and take a quiz on fire safety, scholarships for making the best Duct Tape dress for prom. It seemed like an endless list. Thousands and Thousands of them. So much money ripe for the grabbing!

But no matter how many of these crazy national scholarships Elle applied for, she never seemed to get anywhere.

She was not the one person out of 300,000 entries to win the fire safety scholarship.
She didn't make a duct tape prom dress.
She didn't get the randomly assigned scholarship for recommending two friends to "scholarships.com"

So how did she get her scholarships?


Elle got four scholarships. (so far)

One was given by U of M....simply for filing for early admission. $300. Just for submitting her paperwork early. Hard to beat that. Many colleges will throw in a few extra bucks for the early birds, plus you have more time to compare and contrast and make your decision. It's win-win!

The best one....$5000 per year, renewable for four years.....was from a private donor. A older wealthy man from New York came to University of Michigan's research hospital and had his vision restored with a new treatment at their Eye Center. He and his wife were so happy, they donated millions to help fund the educations of students going into all areas of biological research. Elle was chosen for one of the scholarships. She has to maintain a 3.0GPA and do 40 hours of volunteer work per year to renew. She also has to attend a meet and greet with donors and help serve them dinner at a donor recognition event in the fall.

Even though this was private donor scholarship, it was being offered only to kids accepted at that particular college (U of M)....so the pool of applicants was smaller. Further, it was only for students in biological research, which narrowed the pool again. These things upped her odds tremendously.

The third, a one-time gift of $2000 was given by a local community women's organization....that has taken an interest in supporting women in STEM.

If you are looking for scholarships for your own kids, I urge you to Google search for scholarships in your community. Scholarships available to kids in your local public school system will often be available to local homeschoolers, too. If you call the high school counseling office of your local district, chances are very good they can send you a list of LOCAL scholarships. Scholarships from companies and groups in your community....are a much smaller pool to draw from. Again, your odds increase! Community Foundations often list scholarship opportunities. Search by your city, your public school district, and your county....for scholarship opportunities.

Elle's fourth scholarship was from the Freedom from Religion Foundation....which IS a national organization....but again, a smaller pool of applicants. Religious groups are worth exploring for scholarship opportunities...if you happen to be religious. If your kid is an opinionated Atheist like Elle....have them try the Freedom from Religion Essay contest. Elle didn't place in the top three, but they still sent her $200 and a wonderful letter of encouragement. Every little bit helps!

If your kid is involved in any clubs or groups, see if there are scholarship opportunities attached. My niece participated in the Science Olympiad at the state level with her high school. She was SHOCKED to get a $2000 scholarship for her participation with this group.

Best thing to do when looking for scholarships is to start close to home. See if you or your spouse's employers offer scholarships. See if the organization your kid did some volunteer work for offers scholarships. Expand by interests and educational goals. There are tons of scholarships specific to certain career goals.

Think specific to your kid and local first. Good Luck!