There are creative ways students can explore options to afford participating in a program outside of traditional scholarships. Planning early allows students to consider options and strategize with a timeline.
Preparing your scholarship application for success: Students should have another set of eyes look at their application for feedback. Obtaining a letter of recommendation in advance to be used as needed will also speed up the application process.
Company Scholarships: Students should be aware of large companies or those they are affiliated with who may offer money to students to be used for college. Some of those known for offering scholarships to college students include Coca Cola, Ford, and Staples. If a student has a job at a company or a parent employee at a company, this could also be a great place to research opportunities. Some companies may even match funds obtained through scholarships.
Think outside the box about your identity: There are lots of interesting scholarships for students. Do a Google search and you may find opportunities such as heritage scholarships and even those for left-handed people. For example, one of our students once applied for a Polish heritage scholarship through a local organization. The organization hadn’t had an applicant in two years and gave this student 2 years’ worth of funds!
Local Organizations: If a student or their parent is a member of a local organization, this could be a great place to search!
Creative Funding Ideas:
- 50/50 Raffle: Sell tickets and keep half and draw a winner for the other half!
- Teach a master class on a subject you know a lot about.
- Host a bake sale, walk dogs, have a yard sale-you can even ask for donations for the yard sale!
- Host an online auction, sell crafts or goods on Etsy, advertise services such as babysitting or lawn mowing on sites such as NextDoor.
- Collect cans and bottles to recycle.
Use Your Networks:
- Consider current and former schools you have attended, your community, sports and religious groups, to find out about grants and scholarships available. This is where social media contacts, including Facebook, can be helpful. Facebook may connect you to an older demographic who has access to funds.
- When reaching out to contacts to raise funds or even setting up Crowdfunding, be sure to tell your story! Explain who you are, what you are studying, what makes you unique and what you hope to achieve on your program. Also, it is very important to explain exactly how the funds will be used. For example: program fees for classes and excursions, room and board, an airline ticket. You should thank all donors and make a plan to follow-up from your program via a postcard, social media or email.
Research Additional Funding Ideas: It’s never too early to start looking into funding possibilities for your program. You may end up selecting your program based on the possible funding sources available.