I'm glad I'm past college age. When I went to university in the UK it was essentially free - we lived off grants that we didn't have to pay back! US (and now UK) students not only have to go through the anguish of hoping to get into a preferred school but also have the stress of how to pay for it. There are however, more scholarships out there than you may realize and so many go unclaimed. And they are not all about grades. There are scholarships with some pretty way out qualifying criteria if you look. Here are some - mostly general ones.
1. For Essay Writers
A monthly scholarship award of $500 available to high school students and college students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Entry is via a short essay due on the last day of the month.
2. For Non-Essay Writers
A free-to-enter monthly draw for $2,000 open to any student planning to enroll in college within 12 months.
3. For Charity Campaigners
Volunteer your time for any of DoSomething.org’s campaigns and you could win $10,000. Entry is via submission of pictures of your campaign work. There is also a quarterly draw for a seasonal scholarship for $10,000.
4. For Coffee Lovers
There's a requirement to write an essay and so much the better if you can work into it your love of coffee. Grant ($500) is awarded once in spring and once in fall.
5. For GPA 3.0 Students
If you're a college sophomore or junior with a 3.0 GPA, you can apply to GEICO for a scholarship award of $2,500. Entry is by a resume, letter of recommendation, unofficial transcript and short essay. Deadline February 15.
6. For Girls Who Want to Be Engineers
SWE offers a host of scholarships to female undergraduates and graduate students in engineering, engineering technology or computer science in the U.S. or Mexico. Awards range from $1,000 to $10,000 with application deadlines of February 17 for returning college students and May 15 for incoming freshmen.
7. For Girls Returning to College after a Break
The American Legion offers five scholarships annually to students returning to school after a gap or to mature students starting higher education later in life. Deadline for applications for $2,000 is March 1.
8. For Creative Girls
Entry for this $1,000 scholarship is by submission of a piece of art or a creative piece together with a short essay on your professional ambitions.
9. For Girls Who Love Bowling
Yep! If you love to knock down pins and have a 2.0 GPA you could strike it lucky and gain a $1,000 award.
10. For Girls Who Love Music
If you can write an outstanding essay about intellectual property and copyright, submit it to The Music Publishers Association of the United States for a chance to win $5,000. Deadline May 29.
11. For Girls Who Want a Career in Nursing
There are 39 scholarships of $2,500 for nurse practitioners and 5 scholarships of $5,000 for doctors of nursing practice. You need to be enrolled in a relevant program and have a GPA of 3.2, Deadline - March 16.
12. For Girls Who Want a Career in Media
At least three awards from $1,000 to $5,000 are available each year to undergrads and graduate students studying journalism or communication. Deadline April 1.
13. For Girls Who Want a Career in Tourism
Open to American and Canadian students (High school seniors, undergraduates and graduates) studying or planning to study travel, tourism or hospitality. There are 30 annual scholarships from $1,000 to $4,000. Deadline: April 1.
14. For Girls Who Want a Career in Accounting
Four awards of $10,000 each year available to undergrad and graduate students of accounting with a GPA of 3.0. Deadline: April
15. For Girls Who Can Write a Good Essay about Fire Sprinklers
This is an example of the weird and wonderful world of college scholarships. To apply to win one of 10 scholarships of $2,000 you have to be a high school senior. You will read an essay about fire sprinklers and complete a 10-question, open-book, multiple choice test. Each correct test answer gives you one entry into the scholarship drawing. Deadline: April 6
16. For Girls with a Head for Business
$1,000 awards open to students of business or business-related programs. Entry is via local Zonta clubs by July 1.
17. For Girls in Critical Financial Need
If you have a 2.0 GPS, participate in the community and can demonstrate financial hardship you can apply for awards of $6,000-$21,000. Entry is via recommendation, transcript and essay. Deadline: April 15
18. For Girls Who Love Literature
Five scholarships of $1,000 are open to high school juniors and seniors. Application is via an essay about the year’s chosen literary classic from a list of provided topics submitted by your teacher. Deadline usually mid-April.
19. For Girls Good at Public Speaking
If you have a talent for engaging an audience, you can enter local competitions to win scholarships of $1.000-$2,500. Deadline is usually mid-May.
20. For Girls with High Potential
$10,000 is available to an outstanding student in every state + Puerto Rico and Washington DC. High school seniors must demonstrate ambition and drive, determination, respect, and academic potential.
Plus, 10 of each year’s winners are selected as national winners with an additional $15,000 scholarship. Applications are usually due in fall.
21. For Girls Who Can Doodle
Not only the chance to design a Doodle for Google but also the opportunity to win a $30,000 scholarship. Four finalists can win $5,000. Applications open in early fall.
22. For Girls Who Volunteer
Students up to age 25 can apply for a $5,000 scholarship. Each of the several winners also receive a matching grant in their name to a hunger-related charity.
Applicants must demonstrate a history of volunteer work relating to efforts to end hunger in the United States. Applications by December 5.
23. For Girls Who Love Rihanna
Yes, there's a Rihanna Scholarship. Only recently announced, her Clara Lionel Foundation has awards for applicants who are residents of Barbados, Cuba, Brazil, Jamaica, Guyana, Haiti or the
United States. You must have already been accepted on to a bachelor’s
degree program at any accredited four-year university or college in the United
States for the upcoming 2016-2017 academic year. Deadline - June 10.
These are annual scholarships so if the deadline has already passed for this year, earmark them for application next year.
I recommend visiting colleges.niche.com as they have a fantastic list of scholarships available.