*POCSmom’s Insight: Outside College Scholarships

Cliché: Win the day.    
POCS Reality: Students can win scholarships to help pay for college.     


Every dollar won from outside college scholarships is a dollar the family does not have to pay for college.

Outside scholarships are often contests sponsored by schools, fraternal organizations, businesses, groups, and individuals. The free money amounts vary from less than $100 to a free college ride of thousands. Outside scholarships are a form of financial aid that students do not have to pay back.

 Then why don’t all students apply?

 Here are the 3 main excuses:

  1. I didn’t know where to begin.
  2. I didn’t think I would win so I didn’t bother.
  3. I tried but gave up because the application process was too much work.

 Where to begin

A good place to start your internet scholarship search is on the free federal government websites:

  • www.studentaid.ed.gov  (FSA-Scholarship Wizard)
  • www.students.gov  (Pay for your education…Scholarships & grants)
  • www.college.gov  (How to pay-Learn what’s available-scholarships, grants, loans and more, continue to Scholarships: earn to learn, for each state’s programs)

Local resources include high school guidance departments, PTAs, local businesses, employers, and local organizations.

 Go for it

If you don’t try, you can’t win. The stakes are high-college is expensive and costs are rising fast. It makes sense for students to exercise some self-help and apply for multiple scholarships to increase chances for winning. Winnings add up so a few small scholarships can easily approach one large one.

Don’t give up

Scholarships applications are as varied as their sponsors. Sometimes only biographical info is requested; other times students must submit an essay or complete a project. The sponsor determines the requirements. Bonus: If the scholarship requires a volunteer project, you help others, too.

Writing is a skill that can improve with each draft. The more you write, the better you write. Good writing skills will help you get into college (many colleges require an essay) and do well in college (think essay tests and papers). Bonus: Unlike in your school classes, you may be able to use the same essay with a little tweaking for more than one scholarship application.

You can increase your chances of winning outside scholarships by following all the scholarships rules. Submit a neat, complete, and error-free application before any deadlines. Proof-reading is a must.

Scholarship Expert Monica Matthews encourages students to apply for college scholarships and provides tips for parents to help:


POCSmom’s Insight: Be a smart consumer. Do not give out bank account, credit card, PINs and Social Security Numbers. Never pay a fee to win free scholarships. Have fun with your projects, develop your writing skills, and Good luck!!!

Stay tuned for POCSmom’s Insights on other forms of financial aid-from federal and state governments, and from college endowment funds.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

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