The dream of getting a college degree may cost students thousands of dollars and counting, as the years go by. But for those who are determined to go to college, scholarships are certainly heaven-sent blessings.
A scholarship, sometimes called a fellowship or grant, is money given to students to help them continue with their education. It does not have to be paid back with interest like a loan. It may be provided by governments, universities, corporations, or any other organization with some money to send students to school. Many scholarships come from philanthropists’ wills.
Even if scholarships are not meant to be paid back, they are not totally given for free either. They usually come with conditions that students have to comply with. For instance, athletic scholarships require scholars to maintain a certain GPA while performing well on the field. Other scholarships may expect students to provide a certain service, such as teaching middle school students in the case of Merrill Lynch’s Partnership Scholars Program.
There are the different types of scholarships available to students. First, individual scholarships are available to anyone who managed to get into college. A good example would be aspiring doctors, nurses or dentists who may get a scholarship from the National Health Service Corps, as long as they are willing to complete two years of clinical practice in any healthcare industry suffering from shortage of healthcare workers. This type of scholarship is also provided by the Army, Air Force, and Navy.
Second, athletic scholarships are often provided by the university athletic departments. Colleges and universities usually set aside funds to attract the best athletes in various sports, not just football and basketball. Students can find grants for golf, fencing, water polo, and even weight lifting, among others. Athletic scholarships are usually rewarded to students who are not only good in the field, but also who excel academically.
Third, merit scholarships are given to students who are doing something well, such as those who got a perfect SAT score, charitable students who spend hours doing volunteer work in a soup kitchen, or those who are musically gifted. These scholarships are intended to help students who might just as well become future leaders, those who showed signs of dedication, brilliance, and talent early on.
The best way to find scholarships is to ask around. Students should consult with guidance counselors or coaches and ask for leads to potential scholarships. They might have heard of local scholarships or small grants that are not quite of public knowledge.
Searching through the Internet is also a convenient way to look for scholarships. Some of the popular yet free sites used by students are MACH25, The College Board, FastWeb, and Paco Tomei’s Scholarship List, among others.How To Get A Scholarship Today by John Smith MD