College scholarships are often believed to be rare things. When applying for school, the dream is to get a full ride scholarship that covers all or at least most of the cost of attending a college or university but these sorts of scholarships are very rare and often given only to those that are in desperate need or prove themselves to stand out from the crowd in a commanding way. This does not mean that there’s no hope left for everyone else; quite the opposite, in fact. Even though not everyone is eligible for a large scholarship that will pay for everything, there are many micro and partial scholarships available to people that are willing to search for them.

Scholarships help bridge the gap between Federal Grants and keep students from having to borrow loans or at least having to take out many high cost loans. Scholarships are awards and do not have to paid back at all. Most scholarships have requirements that may just be as simple as filling out a form but could be as complicated as a multipart essay or even a large scale art or community project depending on the scholarship, so read the ‘fine print’ of each scholarship before applying.

The good news is that many people have already met the requirements for many scholarships without even trying. There are scholarships set up for many facets of life, such as having a parent in the armed forces, being of a certain minority group, being a cancer survivor, or even living in a certain part of the country. They can also be as involved as completing a specialized program in high school or working in a certain field post high school. Again, the key in finding a scholarship is to conduct research.

These scholarships usually do not contain a lot of money. Some may be a few thousand dollars, but most are a couple hundred dollars. Many people scoff at the effort it takes to fill out the applications and complete requirements, but that is a mistake. Although a single scholarship may only be worth $500 for example, finding two or three similar scholarships can net the student a grand or more for expenses.

Since the student does not know what scholarships they will be eligible for, it’s important to start the search early for them as it may take some time to finish the requirements or gather the paperwork needed in order to turn in the application. A quick search or a talk with financial aid offices and local organizations can round up some surprising results when it comes com scholarships. Doing the leg work can land the student in the way of some serious money to help offset costs of continuing their education. This process can be tedious but if the scholarship is earned, the struggle will be well worth it in the end.