28 Even though it’s not easy to obtain scholarships, students and parents who are willing to invest the time and energy often find that their efforts pay off handsomely. Applying for Scholarships Have you heard that millions of scholarship dol- lars go unclaimed each year, or been told stories about outstanding students who couldn’t get a scholarship? The fact is, there are thousands of scholarships available. Many of them, however, have very specific eligibil- ity criteria. A student, for example, might need to attend XYZ college, have a 28+ ACT score, and also belong to a particular ethnic group. For another scholarship, a student may need to be a female in the upper 10% of her class with a specific major. When it comes to academic scholarships, students generally must have an outstanding GPA (3.5 or better), high ACT/SAT scores, and excellent recom- mendations. Formostscholarships,applicantsarealsoexpectedtobeinvolved in school and community activities. In order to receive an athletic or talent scholarship, a student must be truly outstanding. When looking for scholarships, keep the following in mind: u Finding and applying for scholarships takes a great deal of time and effort. Students need to start early! u While groups and organizations offer numerous scholarships, most large scholarships are awarded by the colleges. Encourage your child to check college websites and/or contact the college(s) he/she is considering and ask for information on the scholarships they offer. u Private colleges are generally more expensive, but they are often more generous when awarding scholarships. Don’t rule out a private college until you’ve reviewed their financial aid package. u Network. Tell everyone, including your child’s high school counselor, that you’re looking for scholarships. Check for scholarship opportunities with your place of employment, and with any organizations to which you belong. u Look for local scholarships (Rotary, PTA, etc.). These scholarships are gener- ally for smaller amounts ($100 – $1,000), but they’re usually easier to get.