Different Types of Scholarships and How You Can Qualify

By Brittany Loeffler on May 25, 2019

Scholarships are often an underutilized benefit of going to college. There are so many different types of scholarships out there that almost everyone has one that they can qualify for. While it may take some time to search and apply for these scholarships, it’s free money that can be an enormous help to you while attending college. Whether you were valedictorian of your class, an athlete on a school team, or simply have a unique talent, there are many types of scholarships that are just looking to give you free money.

Why Apply for Scholarships?

Who doesn’t like free money? Nobody! Scholarships literally offer college students free money to go towards their tuition, housing, and books. If you spend some time each week applying to different types of scholarships, you’ll thank yourself down the road when it comes time to pay back those student loans.

There are some scholarships where you just have to fill out an application, while others will require an essay or small project. Whatever the requirements are, they are a small price to pay for a good chunk of free money.

Academic Scholarships

Academic scholarships are considered some of the most prestigious scholarships offered to students. Students who have exceptional GPAs and SAT/ACT scores may qualify for these types of scholarships. These scholarships are for students who took their grades very seriously and worked hard to maintain close to a 4.0 GPA throughout high school while also being involved with extracurricular activities that proved their leadership skills and dedication. These scholarships are often awarded by universities and sometimes the high school the student is graduating from.

How to Apply

Exceptional students can apply to academic scholarships through the university they plan to attend or the high school they are graduating from. There are some private scholarships that are based on merit as well. Typically, students have to fill out an application and send in their test scores or school transcript stating their GPA to apply to academic scholarships. However, some scholarships may require students to write an essay along with their application.

Average Student Scholarships

Not all high school students have exceptional grades. For the average student, there are scholarships based on other important qualities than just your grade point average. Students who still showed an effort in getting good grades in high school and were involved in different extracurricular activities can qualify for these types of scholarships. These scholarships focus more on personal skills such as leadership, dedication, and achievements outside of the classroom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an “average” student, as long as you tried your best and made an effort to learn and graduate, you can land one of these scholarships.

How to Apply

Average student scholarships are all different depending on their requirements. They may be based on the major a student is going to study or an extracurricular they participated in during high school. The best place to search for these scholarships is through your high school or university. However, there are private scholarships offered as well. These may require a simple application or an essay answering a specific question in regards to the scholarship’s requirements. It’s worth it to take the time and search for these scholarships. You never know what you’ll find and how much money you may be awarded.

types of scholarships

via Pixabay

Athletic Scholarships

If you are a student-athlete there are a variety of athletic scholarships that you can apply for. There are different types of scholarships for every single sport out there! Students who participated in a sport in their high school’s athletic program or played on a privately organized team qualify for these athletic scholarships. Many universities will offer a substantial amount of money to students who plan to play on their teams and often send scouts out to high school sporting events to recruit athletes.

Even if you do not plan on playing a sport for the university you decide to attend, you can still apply for athletic scholarships.

How to Apply

While athletic scholarships may be handed out to students who plan to play for their university’s sports teams, other athletes can apply to private athletic scholarships. Some of these scholarships may require a coach or teacher to nominate students or send in a letter of recommendation. Students may also be required to have a certain GPA and send in an essay about playing their sport. While there are many types of scholarships for athletes, there is bound to be one specific enough for you to apply for.

Community Service Scholarships

Students who spend their weekends and free time volunteering and giving back to their communities have a great opportunity to win scholarships based on their community service efforts. Depending on the organization students complete community service for, they may offer scholarships directly to volunteers planning to attend college. Students who show dedication and selflessness to a good and meaningful cause may apply for these types of scholarships. There may be requirements of the number of hours spent completing community service or a completed project depending on the scholarship.

How to Apply

Check with the organization that you volunteer with, if possible. They may offer specific scholarships to their volunteers. Some scholarships may require you to host a drive or event to help your community to qualify for their scholarship. While these types of scholarships vary when it comes to requirements, students who already volunteer in their community should have no problem finding scholarships with requirements that match the work they already do. Some of these types of scholarships may require recommendation letters or proof of hours spent volunteering as well.

Minority Scholarships

Students who are part of a minority group, whether it be race, sexual orientation, or have a disability, are eligible to apply for a variety of different types of scholarships. These scholarships range from being very broad and simply based on the minority group students may be a part of to very specific requirements such as location or the major the student is planning to study in college. These types of scholarships were created to help students make their dream of earning a degree possible while also promoting diversity on college campuses.

How to Apply

There are thousands of scholarships for students who are part of a minority group. The most time-consuming part is searching for the scholarships that are most relevant to you. As mentioned before, these scholarships may be very broad or very specific. These scholarships can be found through universities, federal programs, local programs, or through private groups and people. These types of scholarships may require a short essay, small project, or sometimes just a simple application stating your grades and the college you plan to attend.

types of scholarships

via Pixabay

Creative Scholarships

For all of those artistic students, there are many types of scholarships that celebrate artistic talent. No matter what medium of art, there is a scholarship out there looking to help finance an artistic student’s college education. Whether it is writing, painting, sculpting, woodworking, or anything that requires some artistic inspiration and creativity, students can submit their work and apply for these types of scholarships. There are even some scholarships specifically for students who plan to become art majors in college.

How to Apply

Students with artistic talents can find many types of scholarships that focus on a variety of art forms. Creative scholarships may require a little more dedication and work to apply for them. Many will ask that students complete a small artistic project or put together a portfolio of their work to be considered for the scholarship. There are many organizations, both private and nonprofit, that offer college students with artistic talent thousands of dollars towards tuition each year. All you have to do is complete a project and submit it!

Employee Scholarships

Students who work part-time jobs during high school may be eligible to apply for scholarships through the company they work for. Large companies such as Starbucks or Giant Food Stores offer scholarships for their employees to attend and graduate college. Typically, these types of scholarships do have strict requirements and the student still has to hold a part-time job with the company throughout their schooling. However, this dedication could lead to a job with more responsibilities in the company after graduation.

Some companies may also offer scholarships to children of their employees. Ask your parents to check with their HR representative about scholarships offered to children of the company’s employees. These types of scholarships will help narrow down the competition when applying to them.

How to Apply

Schedule a meeting with your supervisor or HR representative to ask about scholarships offered to employees for college. Don’t be surprised if there are strict requirements and qualifications for these scholarships, though. They may require you to study something related to the industry while also keeping your job with them throughout college. Applicants may be asked to write an essay and provide a recommendation letter from a supervisor or manager.

types of scholarships

Infographic by Brittany Loeffler

Specific and Unique Scholarships

Everyone has a hidden talent or unique trait. Who knew that these unique traits could possibly earn them money for college one day? There are thousands of unique scholarships out there for college students to take advantage of. For example, there is a scholarship just for left-handed people.

Make a list of organizations you belong to, such as a religious institution or Boy/Girl Scouts, and ask if they offer scholarships. Don’t overlook any unique aspect of your life! While a trait or interest may seem mundane and boring to you, it could earn you thousands of dollars towards your tuition!

How to Apply

It’s time to get creative when searching for unique scholarships. Think hard about aspects of your life that could qualify you for a scholarship. While some of these scholarships may only require an essay, most of them require some creativity and the completion of a small project as an application. While these types of scholarships may require some more effort and time to apply to, it will all be worth it when it comes to receiving money and putting it towards your tuition.

Need-Based Scholarships 

Another type of scholarship is a need-based scholarship. This is offered by both the federal government and universities. These scholarships or grants take the family’s annual income, tuition rate, and sometimes merit into consideration when granting money towards a student’s tuition. These scholarships do not require any type of essay, just a completed application with the family’s financial information and sometimes a student’s transcript, so there is no creativity or much effort involved.

How to Apply

Each year college students can apply for FAFSA to see if they qualify for a grant. It’s free to apply for and doesn’t take much time at all. Students should be prepared with their family’s income and other financial information when applying for the grant. Universities also offer these types of scholarships. However, sometimes you have to ask them for it. Never be afraid to ask your university for more money. The worst thing they can say is “no.”

Different Types of Scholarships

There are so many different types of scholarships out there. It is impossible for you not to be eligible for any at all! Whether you are a great student and in the top of your class, an average student who participated in a lot of extracurricular activities, played a sport in high school, participate in community service projects, part of a minority group, have an artistic talent, work a part-time job for a large company, have a hidden talent, or simply want to fill out an application with FAFSA to see how much money you can receive, there are scholarships out there for everyone. Take some time each week to apply to different types of scholarships. While it may be time-consuming, your effort will pay off when you receive a chunk of money to be put towards your college tuition.

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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