College Cash


Forget interviews and ACT scores — we asked you the scariest part about applying for college and 52 percent of you said “finding the money to pay for it.”

Never fear — there are tons of scholarships and grants out there. And they’re not all for perfect students either! David Letterman founded a scholarship at his alma mater, Ball State University, for students with a C average and no clue what they wanted to do with their life, (just like him at that age — no joke!)

There is money out there that will go unclaimed unless you go get it. So what are you waiting for? Find our best tips in the slideshow below and get started!


Scholarship Applications

Most scholarships and grants are based on demonstrated financial need, an aspect of your heritage, an activity that you do or a combination thereof. Start by thinking about these questions: -- From which country or countries did your family come to America? -- In what clubs, sports or activities do you participate? -- To what organizations do your parents belong? -- Is or was any member of your family part of the armed forces? -- What college majors are you considering?

Scholarships 101

Done with your voyage of self-discovery? Good. Now let's find some scholarships to match up with you! Here's where to start looking: Reference section of your local library. The Peterson's guides are tried and true. Guidance counselor's office. Yes, they actually have a purpose! Online. The College Board, Fast Web and are great resources.

Keep Track

Keep a notebook of grants and scholarships that look interesting, as well as a calendar of due dates. Stay organized and think about them thematically. That way, you can work on similar ones at the same time.

The Essay

One of the most common essays you'll run into is a short description (250 words or less) about your achievements. This is tricky because it's hard not to sound like your bragging. Try to focus on what you got out of each experience. That way, you're cataloguing what you did while also giving a glimpse of your personality, development and aspirations.

Follow Up

Call a few days after the deadline to make sure that your application was received. Keep a copy of everything you send! Sometimes things get lost in the mail and if you've got everything in one place, re-posting it is a breeze. Besides, you might be able to recycle essays from one application to the next. When all is said and done and the checks start rolling in, a nice thank-you note couldn't hurt. Good luck!


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