28 Even though it’s not easy to obtain an academic or talent scholarship, students and parents who are willing to invest the time and energy often find that their efforts pay off handsomely. Apply 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 eligibility 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 Start early. Begin looking into scholarship possibilities during your junior year. Finding and applying for scholarships takes a great deal of time and effort! u While groups and organizations offer numerous scholarships, most of the large scholarships are awarded by the colleges themselves. Check college websites, and/or contact the college(s) you're considering and ask for in- formation 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 Scholarship applications will become available throughout your senior year. Some are due only weeks after being publicized. u Apply for local scholarships (Rotary, PTA, Elks, etc.). These scholarships are generally for smaller amounts ($100 – $1,000), but easier to get.