How to hunt for scholarships

Heidi Finley

The clocktower at Winston-Salem State University. Photo by WSSU

High school seniors heading off to college in the fall should have been applying for scholarships since the end of the summer. But there are still plenty of opportunities to find funds, keeping in mind that spring deadlines are coming up quickly.

Meanwhile, juniors and sophomores can get a leg up on their work for the coming years by making lists of scholarships to apply for now, gathering requirements and writing drafts of essays.

First, talk to someone at the college or university the student plans to attend about scholarships specific to the institution and the student’s eligibility. This money goes fast, so don’t wait.

Next, the student should meet with a high school counselor to see if there are any school or city-specific scholarships for which he or she meets the criteria.

Finally, search for scholarships online through your city, workplace, extracurricular and workplace affiliations. Thousands upon thousands of scholarships are available, so this requires time, effort and organization.

There is a payoff to all that work. Remember, there are no limits to how many scholarships a student can seek. Small award amounts can pile up and chip away at the amount of loans that students and parents may otherwise have to repay.

Requirements are sometimes specific to a student’s high school, county or heritage; other times, funds are tied to a specific course of study or a professional organization. Some carry a minimum GPA. If a student doesn’t meet the requirements, don’t bother applying. Focus time on scholarships that match up.

Also keep in mind that many scholarships aren’t available until students reach their junior or senior year of college. Keep notes on these scholarships as you search to ease the process later.

Read more about how to find scholarships, and writing essays and editing them, from our archives.

To get your search started, below are 6 examples of scholarship opportunities with spring deadlines that are open to Carolina students. These should also get students started on thinking about the kinds of specific qualifications they may search for in a scholarship:

The Moving Up With Education Scholarship is for $1,000 to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg senior who is pursuing an education degree. A $500 scholarship is also available to a student entering a technical school. Deadline: May 15.

The KAT Team Foundation Scholarship is for $1,000 to a student who was enrolled in a varsity athletic program throughout his or her secondary school years. A 2.8 GPA is required. Deadline: May 11.

The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association and Retail Consumer Alliance Foundation offer a $2,500 scholarship for students who are part-time employees of a NCRMA member company or whose parent is a full-time employee. Deadline: March 26.

The Carolinas Food Industry Council’s Everett and Trudy Suddreth Scholarship of Excellence is open to a student works part time at CFIC retail, wholesale or supplier member company in North or South Carolina, or a defendant of someone who is a full-time employee. Deadline: March 26.

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship Program offers a variable amount to deserving female students who are Christian with financial need in North and South Carolina, along with 7 other states, through participating institutions. Deadline: variable.

The Korean American Scholarship Foundation’s Eastern Regional Chapter Scholarship provides a variable amount for a student with Korean heritage with a 3.0 GPA and financial need. Applicants must plan to be a full-time student at a school in Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia. Deadline: June 30. Applications open April 1.

 

Finley is the editor of Carolina College Bound. Send questions or suggestions to hfinley@charlotteobserver.com