Easy ways to get additional scholarships

By Deborah J. Sergeant

You may have snapped some scholarships already; however, it’s still possible to nab some more money to help out with your schooling this year and more likely for next year. Try these ideas.

• Search online for status-based scholarships, such as “scholarships for women” or by your race to see what’s available.

• See what your part-time or summer job offers. Local offices of a larger company are your best bet.

• Many civic organizations (Rotary Club, Kiwanis or Lions Club, among others) offer scholarships to the children of their members or for community members who have done something remarkable. Research what the groups in your town offer.

• Are you attending your parent’s school? Alumni scholarships help many students who follow in their parent’s footsteps. Other scholarships offered through organizations associated with a school can help as well. For SUNY Oswego, check http://alumni.oswego.edu; for Cayuga Community College, visit www.cayuga-cc.edu/giving/scholarships/awards-and-grants.

• Look up statewide scholarships at sites like www.scholarship.com and www.unigo.com. At SUNY Oswego, you may qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship.

• Did you participate in an extracurricular group or activity during high school or previous years of college? These groups may offer scholarships.

• Ask your campus financial aid office for further ideas.

Key to obtaining funds

For greater scholarship success, keep these tips in mind:

• You must carefully read the scholarship guidelines before applying.

• Fill out any forms and complete any essays on time.

• Use your most compelling writing for the essay. This isn’t a time to under-sell yourself. But don’t write glowing things that aren’t true.

• Don’t use your name and unrelated background information in the essay. Some scholarships are “blind” gifts, so stating your name could disqualify you.

• Focus what makes you uniquely qualified.

• If there’s a prompt for the essay, don’t use that to open your essay.

• Proofread your essay and form to ensure you’ve got it right.

• Most scholarships require a certain GPA to qualify.

• Don’t expect those granting scholarships to slip you through for consideration if you don’t really qualify. For example, if “community service” is key and you barely took out your family’s trash, don’t expect to go to the top of the list.

• Submit information in the grantor’s preferred method.

• Don’t submit only to large scholarships. Winning several small ones is just as good, plus your chances of winning may be greater.

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