How do I locate small scholarships?
June 20, 2008 7:33 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way of locating small scholarships?

I am going back to college this fall, to finish my undergraduate degree. The first time around, I went to a relatively cheap state school with a hefty scholarship, and fleshed out the difference with student loans. Now I'm going to attend a private college and federal loans aren't even going to cover tuition.

I've been looking for small scholarships -- those $250 and $500 awards that I scoffed at when I was a stupid teenager. I've done some searching around on the various scholarship search engines like Fastweb but I'm often not qualified because I don't meet their criteria, because I'm not just graduating from high school, because I've been out of school for several years, or because the scholarship listing looks like spam and I don't want to give them my email address.

My local library does not keep a listing of local scholarships.

The school I'm going to does have a few awards for transfer students, but with my always impeccable sense of timing I decided to apply for admission literally a week after the final deadline for those scholarships.

I want to avoid taking out as much loan money as possible, and if I could avoid private loans I would be ecstatic. I expect to be in school for another two years or so. This first semester, I'm only going to go part-time but my plan is to go full-time after that.

Is there something I'm missing? Should I just apply for everything, even if I'm not qualified? Does anyone have any success stories about paying for college as an adult?
posted by sugarfish to Education (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Talk to a counselor!
posted by bradly at 9:29 AM on June 20, 2008

Best answer:
As a current private college undergrad, here's what worked for me:

First off, try to go to the school's financial aid office and explain to them that you enrolled late. They may cut you slack, and allow you to still apply to them. They'll also know of other possible scholarship opportunities.
The Financial Aid office is an underrated source for resources, information on scholarships, and on loans, if you end up taking out private ones as well.

Second, try on good old google, using: OR OR site:gov OR
and then mix and match the terms: foundation, scholarship, the name of the closest town (say, 10,000+) you're from, the name of the closest town of your college, and college.
(replace STATE with the two letter abbreviation that is used state postal codes, i.e. new york is NY, california is CA, etc)

Lastly, Fastweb, is a complete crapshoot and some of the things on there are outright scams. It can suck, and ending up with no or only applicable scholarship after spending an hour or two is very discouraging. In the end, it's the best central online-based resource that I have found
(create a new email account if you're worried about spam).

(Lastly, I have a few posts related to this in my favorites folder, especially this one, 69158
posted by fizzix at 9:41 AM on June 20, 2008

I shouldn't really say 'worked' err.... I have > $40k in loans (govt and private)....
posted by fizzix at 9:42 AM on June 20, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks! Looks like I'm going to make a trip to the school.
posted by sugarfish at 9:17 PM on June 20, 2008

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