Navigating the Scholarship Maze

If you start early enough, like the summer before your senior year, you can hunt for a private scholarship from companies like Coca-Cola or organizations like the Elks National Foundation. Those are two of the larger programs, but there are hundreds of others, awarded for everything from grades or ethnic heritage to financial need or career goals. The odds of getting such awards are slim but improving as more dollars are funneled through these organizations. Some scholarships are so tightly focused on geography, ethnicity, academic major or personal interest that it changes the odds considerably. You can do a full search for scholarships at

Then there are the more drastic measures, like having parents borrow against their homes (home-equity lines are usually deductible) or their retirement accounts. But whatever you do, don’t go overboard: if you think college tuition is inflated, wait until you see what graduate school costs.

Free college scholarships

Are you looking for free scholarship money and college grants? Be aware: there are good ones and bad ones. There are three types of college scholarships:

  • Private Scholarships.
  • Campus-Based Scholarships.
  • Merit-Based Scholarships.

The best and most abundant kinds of scholarships are the need-based scholarships that we help our clients receive, and merit-based scholarships. To receive these, you must complete all the financial aid forms including the FAFSA. If you don’t complete the FAFSA or the CSS PROFILE you may be closing the door on the opportunity to receive these highly coveted college scholarships.

If you are like most people you probably don’t know that private scholarships can actually work against you in the financial aid formula. If you are interested in free private scholarships, there are two trusted sources you should enroll with today. Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior in high school or a returning adult student, you should take advantage of these sources and enroll now.

Sources for free college scholarships and information:

Other possible scholarship opportunities:

  • Parent’s or student’s employers (GM, Ford, Delphi , Dow, etc.)
  • Churches
  • Local organizations (Elks, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, etc.)
  • Local foundations
  • Consult with your H.S. guidance counselor
  • Credit Unions

College Scholarship Scams

Be wary of organizations that charge a fee to submit your application, find you money for school, or guarantee that you will receive free financial aid. While some are legitimate, many others are scams.

There are some companies that will try to mislead you with wild claims, false promises and misleading information. If you haven’t already received information from these less-than-reputable companies, it’s just a matter of time before you do.