Scholarships are a good way to help keep the personal cost of an education down and to help students avoid taking out loans. There are hundreds of scholarships available if you know where to look. Many, but not all, of these require that the applicant meet certain criteria, such as being a specific gender, religion or minority. If you're a woman and an ethnic minority, you may qualify for a number of scholarships.
Perform a web search. There are several free online search engines that you can use to look for scholarships. The reputable ones will not sell your information and will allow you to create an account to save your information. They may also be able to email you when new scholarships are listed that you qualify for. Fastweb.com and Petersons.com both offer these services.
Approach organizations dedicated to your ethnicity. Depending on your heritage, you should contact the organizations and advocates for your ethnic group. There are groups dedicated to Native American, African American and many other groups of people. These organizations will likely have some type of scholarship that you can apply for. You can also ask at your local church or other type of religious structure, like a mosque or synagogue.
Make an appointment with your financial aid adviser. One of the best resources you have is right on campus. Make an appointment to speak to someone about finding scholarships. They may have a computer in the office dedicated to scholarship searches or let you know of resources that you may not have been aware of.
Make sure to submit your scholarship application by the deadline or you could miss out for the year.
Robin Noelle is a professional writer living and working in Northern California. She has a degree in Journalism and a background in high tech public relations. She is the author of travel guides and end-user computer books.