A lot of students look to scholarships to help off-set some of their college tuition costs. But what you might not know is that different types of scholarships are available to you, and you have a better chance of winning certain types.
There are basically two types of scholarships—merit scholarships and private scholarships.
Merit scholarships are awarded to you by a college based on your skills, not based on your financial need. There are three types of merit scholarships:
Academic scholarships are based on factors like your high school GPA, ACT or SAT test scores, and class rank. Private colleges and non-flagship state schools most often award academic scholarships.
Athletic scholarships are usually awarded to students who play sports at NCAA Division I and II schools and NAIA schools. For more information on athletic scholarships, check out The Sports Scholarships Insider’s Guide.
Scholarships for Other Special Talents
This type of award varies greatly, so you need to check college websites to see what opportunities are available.
Private scholarships are awarded to you by businesses, agencies, organizations, and clubs to use during college. There are five types of private scholarships.
Local scholarships are usually only available to students in your high school, so you have a better chance of getting one of these scholarships compared to a scholarship that every student in the country can apply for.
Regional scholarships are available to students within a specific county, city, or state. These are more competitive than local scholarships, but you still have a better chance at success for regional scholarships than for national scholarships.
National scholarships are available to every student in the country and are publicized widely online, so these are very difficult to get since so many people apply. But just because they’re difficult to get, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. You should try to apply for any scholarships that you’re eligible for.
Workplace scholarships are available through some companies to the children of employees. Make sure to check with your parents’ work to see if any scholarships are available.
Military scholarships are available to students who are admitted to a U.S. service academy (like West Point), join the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and serve as an officer in the armed services after college, or enlist after high school and receive tuition assistance after they’re discharged.
Check out this page about How to Start Your Scholarship Search by Diane Melville.
About the Author
Frank Palmasani has helped families work through the college financial aid system for more than 30 years. He is committed to helping all families create a plan for finding the right colleges, without taking on mountains of debt.