College is expensive, and students and parents alike are looking for more ways to help pay for tuition. Now more than ever, it is easy to find people or companies bragging about their ability to discover obscure college scholarships or alter family finances to increase financial aid awards. Unfortunately, many of these offers aren’t what they seem and leave families disappointed. However, with a little effort, any family can make the college scholarship search more productive. Here are five of our favorite resources.

    1. Colleges

Most scholarship money today comes directly from the colleges that students attend. When visiting a college’s website, type “Freshman Scholarships” into the search bar; this should take you to the information you need. On college visits, stop by the Financial Aid Office and ask for information on scholarships for which you may qualify. Many colleges even explain test score or grade requirements, which takes the guesswork out of the process.

    2. Micro-Scholarship Sites

Micro-scholarships are new to the scholarship scene, but they are popular because students can begin earning scholarships as early as 9th grade.

Raise.me lets students create a profile and add achievements like getting an A in a high-school course, taking advanced classes, volunteering, or being active in school activities. Students then earn scholarships from colleges, which the college awards if the student attends. Colleges can connect with interested students, and teens may even discover a college that’s a great fit.

College Board® has its own new micro-scholarship program. Find more information here.

    3. Traditional Scholarship Sites

The scholarship sites below have been around for many years, and many students and parents rely on these trusted resources. Once a student sets up a profile and enters some necessary information, these sites show matching scholarships. The student can then keep track of scholarship applications, deadlines, and awards.

FastWeb.com
Scholarships.com
Cappex.com

    4. Apps

Many traditional scholarship sites also have an app, but Scholly is unique. Scholly, a scholarship-finding app, won on the show Shark Tank a few years back and is now available as a monthly paid service for students. It has gained strong national attention and boasts some big backers including NYU, CNNMoney, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Scholly’s simplicity and mobility make it as easy as possible to find the maximum number of scholarships while keeping the monthly fee low.

    5. Local Resources

With the focus on technology, don’t forget about the resources right outside your door. Look for college scholarship opportunities in your community. Often, these funds are reserved for local students.

Contact the high school counselor for a list of local scholarships. Many high-school counselors will have this information handy for students who ask. Talk to the counselor about former students who received a large amount of scholarship money and ask about the places they used to search.

Look at city, rotary club, social club, financial institution, and religious organization websites. Many offer scholarships that aren’t well publicized. A little searching may pay off.

Parents should reach out to their employer’s Human Resources department to ask about available scholarships for college-bound students. Employers can also be an excellent resource for internships during the college years.

Stay organized, persistent, and realistic during your scholarship search, and it is sure to be a rewarding process. If your teen needs help improving test scores to qualify for scholarships or those scholarship essays need some extra polish, give KD College Prep a call. We have solutions, and we love to see our students succeed.