Free Money!

So we all know by now that our moms were right and money doesn’t grow on trees. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are plenty of ways for intelligent, enterprising high school juniors and seniors looking for a little help paying for college to rake in the big bucks. And I’m not talking about a summer lemonade stand.

As someone who has been there before, I can tell you that there is a lot of easy money floating around for students who are willing to look. Thousands of companies, foundations, service organizations, and other groups give out scholarships every year, some as little as $200 or as much as $20,000. If you are willing to look for them, and spend some time filling them out, you can be very profitable from them. I know a GA Tech student who received $14,000 in private scholarships. That is nothing sniff at.

In addition to helping parents take out fewer loans, scholarships can equal money in your pocket. If you get a few scholarships that cover tuition, room, board, books, and fees, the remainder of the money earned goes straight into your bank account. So if you owe $2,000 per year but have $4,000 in scholarships, then $2,000 goes straight to you, to do whatever you want. Quite a deal! That said, I recommend spending a considerable amount of time researching and applying for scholarships. It is an incredible source of income, with relatively little work.

On the Web:

There are lots of websites that list potential scholarships. Here are a few good ones:

You will have to fill out a profile, but this enables them to find scholarships that fit you. If you want a bigger list, go here:

They have a compilation of sites that compile scholarships…and the list is huge.

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta:

My friend Danny applied for a few of these and won one of them. I’d recommend doing all that apply:

Ask the Guidance Office:
Your counselor will have access to lots of scholarships as well. Ask him/her for any information they might have regarding scholarships.

Apply for all different types of scholarships even if you think it is a long shot. Read the requirements carefully and make sure you meet them. There are some scholarships that take financial need into account when deciding the winner. Even if you’re not sure you demonstrate the ‘financial need’ they prefer, still apply. Still other scholarships show preference to certain types of candidates. Apply anyway! If you are the only one to apply, you will be the default winner. This is what happened with Danny.

He applied for a scholarship from the Pattillo Construction Company. It was given out “with preference to children of workers at the Pattillo Construction Company,” but since none applied, it went to the next best applicant (Danny). That was for $3500 per year. Even though he wasn’t the preferred winner, he still met all the scholarship requirements.

The deadlines for scholarships are all different, but are listed on the websites I provided. Most of them either coincide with college deadlines (October or December of this year), are in April/May or are in July.

I recommend starting this summer, as a lot of them require applications, transcripts, recommendations, etc. It would be good to finish some over the summer, and then go into the year knowing exactly what you need in terms of recommendations and the rest. Think of it as a really good part-time job: you work for a few hours, but could make a couple thousand dollars. If you apply for 20 scholarships (which is a lot), you will probably win one or more of them, if not more. That could be $5,000 (or more) in really easy money.

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