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Practically everyone knows that college tuition just keeps rising, the competition is getting tougher, and the amount of financial aid being offered is getting smaller. If you don’t want to rack up a huge amount of student debt by taking out loans, you usually have to turn to spending countless hours applying for scholarships.

Of course, there’s the well known popular scholarships such as QuestBridge and the Coca Cola scholarship and also websites such as fastweb, cappex, and careerandcolleges.com, but the chances of getting most of those scholarships in reality are very low. Now, I’m not saying don’t even bother trying to apply for those scholarships; even if your chances are low there still is a chance, so always take that chance. But there are also a ton of scholarship resources that get overlooked for the most part with much higher chances, so you should definitely be a diligent worker in looking for every scholarship opportunity and taking advantage of them. Here are some scholarship resources to look out for:

1. Your school’s scholarship/financial aid office. Lots of schools have an office or part of the admissions office that is dedicated to helping students find and apply for as many scholarships as possible. But not a lot of people take advantage of it even though they should as usually the people who are there to help are financial aid professionals who know just where to look for good scholarships. So make sure to stop by there sometime to sit down and talk with someone about finding scholarships. These departments also tend to print out monthly calenders with scholarships and their application deadlines on them, so don’t forget to pick one up every month while you’re there!

2. Clubs/Organizations. Lots of clubs within your school are probably a part of a national organization, and lots of these organizations offer their own scholarships to their club members. You usually have to write a report or participate in an event to be considered for these scholarships, and oftentimes these organizations offer up to several types of scholarship, such as partial, half, or up to full tuition! So research the clubs you’re in and see if they offer any scholarships. Even if the organization itself doesn’t offer a scholarship, some schools may offer their own scholarship if they see you were involved in the club.

3. School-related organizations. Although this varies from school to school, some colleges do offer scholarships if you’re involved in a school related organization such as newspaper or choir. You’ll have to specifically look it up for your school and see whether they offer it. Who knows, you might get lucky!

4. Paid school jobs/internships. Again this varies, but in some schools you can apply for a job on campus or an internship and not only would you be paid, but they might even offer you a scholarship too! For example, most schools let students apply for a Residential Assistant job and not only will they pay you minimum wage, some schools even throw in a small scholarship with it. It’s the same with internships as well. Although don’t expect every job and internship to come with a scholarship. Like I said, this varies from school to school so there could be or not be a scholarship offered.

Most of the time, the reason why students don’t apply for the numerous scholarships they qualify for is because they don’t know where to start looking. So here a few resources you can start off with, and do remember to do your own research as well. Watch out for scholarship scams and no matter how little the money amount may be, apply for it! Every little bit helps.

Photo courtesy of stuartpilbrow via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).