Scholarship Searches for your Career or Major
One of the most effective ways to find a scholarship or grant is to narrow your search to a particular major or career path. Indeed, many awards are specific to individual fields, so if you were planning on entering college as an undeclared major, you might want to reconsider. Science and technical fields have lately become an emphasis for scholarship foundations, and rich rewards are there for those who are so inclined.
If you can demonstrate real interest or aptitude in a certain area, this can give you a definite edge. Good grades are a plus, but having experience or simply participation in extracurricular activities related to your chosen field can put you ahead of the pack. This is a primary reason why we recommend beginning your scholarship search during your junior year in high school. This gives you time to join some clubs and pad your resume.
A good example of a career that has many funding opportunities is health care. It is one of the most heavily subsidized fields. The federal government alone contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year toward training medical professionals. Considering the current shortage for certain types of workers, such as nurses, this trend is likely to continue. With other careers you will find many professional associations that offer grants. In some cases you must be a member or related to a member to qualify for aid.
Teacher scholarships are among the most common career oriented awards. Minority teachers or students willing to commit to teaching in inner city areas will find numerous scholarship opportunities. Quite often these grants come in two forms: either a standard scholarship or forgiveness of student loans once you complete your teaching assignment.
Another strategy is to focus on schools that have great reputations for your chosen field. The best departments usually attract the most private financial aid money. If you are already employed in your chosen field, your employer may be willing to help pay for some classes in order to make you a more valuable worker. Some companies actively encourage this. It is a tax break for them and provides businesses with a more skilled workforce.
In addition to using the big scholarship search engines, you should check with corporations and various foundations whose purpose is to further certain areas of study. To begin your search for career related financial aid, we highly recommend the FastWeb scholarship database because if you sign up with their free service, you can receive email notices about internships and other job opportunities in your field of interest.
For links to some of the best career focused scholarship foundations, please consider purchasing our downloadable Scholarship Search guide. It has a more complete list of the best search sites available, as well as links some of the best foundations for particular majors. It will save you days of browsing the Web, and is the best way to maximize your scholarship opportunities.
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