What Is A Scholarship And How Does It Work?

Scholarships are gifts of money, usually based on merit or financial need that do not need to be repaid.

They are awarded prospective students at the beginning of each semester by colleges and universities because it helps them attract higher quality students than applying for federal student loans that may or may not be approved depending on your credit score when you apply.

Scholarships are awarded to students based on their academic achievement, financial need, diversity, specific academic interests, and skills.


When applying for scholarships it is important to know what types of scholarships there are. Each scholarship varies in criteria for eligibility requirements, application procedures and the number of awards available.

There are four main categories of scholarships:

  • Privately funded
  • Corporate
  • College-sponsored
  • Foundation/donor-sponsored

Many colleges use the College Board’s Scholarship Search service to assist with scholarship searches by providing information about undergraduate scholarships provided by more than 2,300 different organizations.

Generally speaking, federally funded grants come from the federal government while privately funded come from either private businesses or corporations.

Grants generally need to be renewed yearly but an academic merit scholarship can last a lifetime.

It’s important to know what types of scholarships there are and the best advice is to consult with your college financial aid office or visit since private organizations and companies post their available awards on the website for students to find and apply for them.

It’s also important to be aware that different colleges offer different scholarships, so it’s probably not worthwhile to apply for every single one possible.

Some would be redundant at another college while others might not match up with you in terms of background, interests or talents.

You will need to do some research about which ones suit your interests and qualifications best.

Types Of Scholarships

Common forms of scholarships include:

  • Corporate Scholarships
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Nonprofits

There are also a number of different types of privately funded scholarships including: private loans, grants and tuition reimbursement or vouchers.

Though it is important to know about these different forms of scholarship you will need to do more research on them in order to understand how they work and what they entail.Scholarship

It is never a good idea to apply for every single available scholarship even if the odds of getting one seem high since not all of them can be entered into without being disqualified – so being informed about your options beforehand is essential.

Privately Funded Scholarship Application Procedures And Criteria For Eligibility Requirements

The application procedures and criteria for eligibility requirements of privately funded scholarships vary widely.

The best way to find out what scholarship is right for you would be to contact the sponsoring corporation, business or organization.

Corporate Scholarship Application Procedures And Criteria For Eligibility Requirements

The common forms of corporate scholarships are based on specific academic interests, financial need, diversity, academic excellence or leadership in a particular field or category.

You can apply for these types of scholarships through your college financial aid office by filling out an online form during the annual October – February time frame when they are being awarded. Some companies also offer their own contests in which you could possibly win a scholarship if you play your cards right.

Corporate Scholarships Contests

For example, the annual scholarship search website has a number of contests for students to enter to win money based on their creativity and talent in different areas including video production, photography, poetry, essay writing and song lyrics among others.

So you could produce a photo or video with your own artistry which might be worth originality points if chosen by the contest judges as the winner.

This is also why it’s important to have someone else proofread your text before submitting it since typos can sometimes damage your chances of being chosen as the winner.

Nonprofits Scholarship Application Procedures And Criteria For Eligibility Requirements

Some nonprofits have fundraising drives each year where they award prizes to those who make donations during specific time windows.

Some of these fundraisers also award scholarships to those who give the most within a specific time period as well.

Nonprofit organizations like the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) provide scholarships to students at historically black colleges and universities which is another example of how you could be awarded for giving back in your community.

The UNCF scholarships require applicants to be African American female high school seniors who plan on attending an accredited HBCU and have a cumulative GPA between 2.5 and 3.0 or equivalent.

Rank in the top 20 percent of their class or score above average on standardized tests such as SAT or ACT scores from college admissions departments because they are not included in your GPA calculation since they are considered separate entities by themselves.

Each year, students have the opportunity to submit an application for a scholarship directly to their school’s financial aid office. Some of these scholarships are offered by many different schools.

So if you’re accepted into one college but not another – it might be worth applying just in case since they sometimes accept transfers after the first year too.

This is why it’s always best to visit school websites or contact them directly to find out what you need before beginning your scholarship search.

Tips to successfully apply for a scholarship

  • Be sure to read the application criteria carefully and find out what steps you need to take.
  • Identify your target scholarships.
  • Start checking for scholarship deadlines as early as possible.
  • Take the time to research different types of scholarships in your field of study.
  • Make a list of prospective schools that might provide scholarship opportunities.

Don’t forget about applying for internal school-based scholarships which are usually based on merit or financial need.Scholarships

In addition to outside resources you can tap into if you visit the financial aid office in person at either your high school, college or university when they reopen after summer break during September – October.

Follow up with them frequently so no deadlines pass you by without notice because your submission can be thrown away if it’s not received by the deadline.

Ask school counselors, professors or your parents about any scholarship contacts they have in their circle of friends who might know someone who knows someone else who could help you get connected with a scholarship sponsor because it never hurts to ask.

Someone will know someone at some point so don’t count yourself out just because you’re new on the scene – an established award-winning student can be equally as green behind the ears if they just met each other for the first time during this process.

Your career path after college depends greatly on how well you do academically and financially when you receive scholarships and grants during college since they cut costs for you which can later be used towards rent and utilities in addition to books and tuition for the next semester if you maintain your grades.

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