In general, scholarships are money for college that you are not expected to pay back.
Identifying potential scholarship opportunities can involve some digging around. A college may offer scholarships for students who demonstrate high levels of academic, athletic, or artistic performance, enroll in certain majors, or fit certain regional profiles.
Scholarships are also awarded by private or nonprofit organizations for a variety of reasons. Locally, they might be offered by community organizations and clubs, churches, or even your parents' employers.
Your guidance counselor or a financial aid office can help you identify these opportunities. Check with your campus librarian as libraries often carry scholarship guides that can be useful.
Internet searches may also yield potential scholarship leads, but be careful: Scholarship scams are unfortunately all-too-common. It is important to research every scholarship that you consider and learn to protect yourself from these less-than-reputable offers.
In addition, the College also maintains a list of opportunities and free scholarship search engines.
Generally, you must apply for scholarships and these applications can require documentation, interviews and essay-writing. It can be a lot of work, so it is important to identify and follow the requirements of each scholarship. Also, pay close attention to deadlines: They can sneak up on you.
This college preparation checklist can help you navigate the process.