Below is an e-mail exchange I had last week with a student asking for scholarship help. With her permission I'm sharing the exchange in hopes it can help you too!
I am going to be a college junior this fall. I have looked up scholarship information on your website, my school's website, and have attended many info sessions about scholarships at my college.
There are only a few scholarships for juniors and seniors, but a lot for incoming freshman and graduate students. I have looked on FastWeb.com and went to my local library to search for scholarships for my year. What other resources should be used?
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. It is highly appreciated.
To be honest I always had a hard time finding good scholarships online too. It sounds like you are doing everything right so far, especially by attending info sessions at your college.
I had my entire college paid for through direct college scholarships (e.g. ones offered by the university to which I transferred after community college) and the Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship, and I applied for both during my sophomore year; so I'm not exactly the expert when it comes to finding many scholarships during your junior year.
However, my philosophy has always been to get to know mentors and professors on your campus and ask them for scholarship advice, as well as any creative ways to make money on campus (e.g. some groups offer stipends for involvement, like orientation leaders or student government). I did make money my junior year by becoming an orientation leader, and I loved it!
(I also became an SAT/ACT tutor as a part-time job, and was a nanny, which also helped pay the bills outside of tuition.)
Just because you're already halfway through college doesn't mean you can't find ways to pay for it - but it may mean you need to get more creative. And the people on campus are often the best resources (e.g. even the big scholarships I got I learned about from friends in clubs and professors).
Ask advice from everyone on campus that you can. Be vulnerable about your situation and be willing to invest the time.
And in the end, remember that your education is the BEST investment you can make. Taking out loans or paying out of pocket is NOT a failure (especially if you choose a low-cost and reputable public college). It's one of the smartest things you can do for yourself, so don't get discouraged if you come up short of what you're hoping for when it comes to scholarships.
The most important thing is that you are putting your 100% into your classes and experiences (e.g. getting involved and internships) so you can make the most of your investment.
Good luck and thanks for reaching out!
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