There are five types of scholarships that you can get.

  1. Scholarships offered by the college or university. They can be one-year scholarships or four-year scholarship programs (with the expectation you will keep up a certain GPA and possibly other criteria). These are usually based on GPA, test scores, and/or need. Some of the scholarships you will automatically be applied for when you apply to the college, usually the academic scholarships work this may. Some scholarships offered can required a separate application process.
  2. Local/State private scholarships. These scholarships are given by a company or organization that is open to students in a city, county, or state. The criteria can be based on anything the organization chooses. There can be an additional interview process with these scholarships. Most of these scholarships send the check directly to the school while the rest give you the check.
  3. National private scholarships. These scholarships are given by a company or organization that is open to students across the country. The criteria can be based on anything the organization chooses. Again, if you are awarded the scholarship, the check could be sent directly to you or the college you will attend.
  4. Drawings. Companies (usually) give scholarships to students who fill out an online survey and are chosen at random. The survey usually asks for your name, address, email address, and the college/university you plan to or are attending. Some surveys also ask for age, GPA, name of high school, and/or major, but those are not a factor in the drawing.
  5. Federal scholarships. These are scholarships give by federal organization like National Science Foundation (NSF). The criteria can be based on anything the organization chooses, but it related to the mission of the organization. For example, if you are applying for a scholarship for the NSF, one of the requirements may be planning on majoring in a science.

Tip: Apply for local scholarships even if you don’t meet all the criteria. Meeting four out of five criteria is good enough if the applicant pool is small. Complete the application packet and see what happens. However, only apply to national scholarships if you meet all the criteria. Larger applicant pool means more competition. Only apply if you meet all the criteria, so you have a better chance.