College is expensive (a sentiment we've already covered many times on this site). Hence, you'll likely need to embark on a hunt for scholarship money. Of course, figuring out how or where to begin your search can sometimes prove difficult and overwhelming. To help you out (you're welcome!), we've decided to come up with a list of different avenues you might consider pursuing. Here they are in no particular order:
Religious Institutions - No matter your belief system or denomination, many houses of worship offer educational scholarships to their congregants. Even if they are only providing a modest amount, it could very well be enough money to at least cover your textbooks for the upcoming academic year.
Parent or Guardian's Employer - As a benefit/perk, a number of companies dole out scholarships to employees and/or their children. Therefore, it's definitely worth investigating as to whether or not your parents’ employers offer anything. And, if they don't, you could ask if they might consider doing so.
Your High School - This one should be pretty easy for you, right? After all, you're there five days out of the week. Make an appointment with your guidance counselor to discuss any scholarships offered by your school and inquire as to whether or not you are eligible to apply.
Your Anticipated Major - We know; there's a good chance you have no clue as to what you'll end up studying in college. However, if you do know (or even if you have a strong idea), it makes sense to do a little research and see if your intended field of study offers scholarships. If they do, you should definitely apply (especially if you've already demonstrated an aptitude for or an interest in the field).
Online - Sure, this one might seem a tad obvious. However, it's nonetheless important and we'd be remiss if we omitted it. There are several great websites that do a fantastic job compiling various scholarships available. Use one or two of these as a handy reference and you can easily streamline your search!
Major Corporations - A good deal of national and multi-national corporations provide scholarships to promising, college-bound students. Indeed, every year, companies like Coke and Microsoft offer hefty amounts of aid. Though these scholarships are rather competitive, it's definitely worth your time to investigate them further!
Community Organizations - Many local organizations love to help out young residents. Don't be afraid to make some inquiries and see if you can uncover any scholarships worth applying for! And since they are local, they will probably attract fewer applicants. Thus, your chances of landing some money are greater.
National Non-Profits - Similar to large corporations, there are a number of major non-profits that want to help foster educational dreams. While these are also likely to be competitive, it definitely makes sense to consider them. Many also pertain to specific segments of the population - be it scholarships for first-generation students, African-American students, women, etc.
Your Future University - Sure, you've probably already thought about this one. Nonetheless, your college will certainly be a great resource. The financial aid office can point you to potential scholarships. And there might be a handful of campus organizations that sponsor scholarships for undergraduates as well.
As we stated above, we understand that the scholarship search can be overwhelming. It's hard to know where to begin. However, if you start by breaking your research into categories, it will help make the process more manageable.