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Types of Scholarships

The right scholarship can set a college-bound student on the road to success. Scholarships provide much needed financial aid, as well as a certain degree of prestige, for the student honoree. It is a common misconception that scholarships are only available to students with the highest GPA or the most impressive sports record. There are scholarships out there for all types of students. The secret is to know what kind of scholarships are available, and where to look for them.

Let's take a moment to consider the different types of scholarships that are available to the right college-bound student.

Academic Scholarships

Academic Scholarships, one of a number of high profile merit scholarships, are awarded to students who have demonstrated an outstanding history of academic achievement. These scholarships are awarded to students with the most exceptional GPA, most impressive series of extracurricular activities and a history of public service.

Academic Scholarships typically have substantial financial payouts, and confer a certain level of prestige on the recipient. They can also be beneficial after college as an introduction into the business world, and as a way of making a solid resume even more attractive.

Average Academic Performance Scholarshipstypes of scholarships

Top level academic scholarships may seem out of reach, but that doesn't mean their aren't scholarship opportunities available to the average hard-working high school student. Not by a long chalk. Average Student Scholarships do take a students academic record into consideration, but they also give weight to a student's community service, leadership qualities and the strength of their test scores and contest essays. Average Academic Performance Scholarships also look at a student's other school activities such as sports, art and music.

Don't make the mistake of believing that just because your high school GPA isn't a 4.0 that you won't be eligible for a scholarship to help you pay for college.

Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are one of the most highly visible, and fiercely competitive, merit scholarships available. Students hoping for an athletic scholarship have to demonstrate both a high level of ability in their sport of choice, as well as a solid academic background. There are scholarships for nearly every sport; from volleyball to golf, tennis to football, swimming to gymnastics. For the right student athlete, a merit scholarship in their sport can open the door to the college of their choice.

In the case of athletic scholarships, students will need to be nominated by their coach or some other school official. College recruiters are always looking for the best athletes to bring to their campus, but competition is high. The time to start thinking about an athletic scholarship is early in your high school career.

Scholarships for Minorities

There are a great number of minority scholarships available to the right college-bound student. These scholarships can be general or specific in their ethnic requirements, with some being open to all minority students while others are designed to benefit one ethnic group in particular. Funding for these scholarships comes from various sources, ranging form the Federal government to universities and corporations.

There are also a large number of minority scholarships sponsored by individuals and associations aimed at diversifying certain areas of the professional workforce. These scholarships may be directed towards students with particular interests such as engineering, medicine or mathematics. For students who fall into a perceived minority group of the U.S. Population, minority scholarships can be the ticket to well deserved college education.

Scholarships for Women

In the same way that there are scholarships devoted to ethnic minorities, there are also scholarships specifically designed to benefit women. Universities have long been dominated by white males, and in an effort to advance the opportunities for female students across the country many scholarships for women have been created. These scholarships do more than just provide financial aid for college, the can also provide a pathway into the worlds of business, science and politics.

As with other minority scholarships, many scholarships for women are sponsored by corporations and associations who would like to see women take their place in many previously male dominated fields. Subsequently, many of these scholarships will be tied to certain course of study. Female students should be specific about their fields of interest when searching for scholarships to help them pay for college.

various college scholarships

Creative Scholarships

The Arts are a large part of modern life in America, and while they not be as highly visible there are still plenty of creative scholarship opportunities available for the artistically inclined student. These scholarships are highly competitive, and applying students have to present samples of their artwork to be considered. Art scholarships will require a portfolio be submitted, while music scholarships and other performance based art forms will require an audition by tape or in person.

Many of these scholarships are sponsored by art colleges themselves, while others are funded by both public and private endowments. Whatever your artistic passion, there is likely to be an applicable scholarship.

Unusual Scholarships

Unusual scholarships can run the gamut from the frivolous to the merely unexpected. They may be sponsored by individuals or businesses, local associations or national organizations. On of the more offbeat scholarships is the award for the best prom dress fashioned from Duct tape. At the other end of the spectrum are scholarships for children of Italian immigrants as sponsored by the National Italian-American Foundation. These scholarships may be offbeat, unusual or downright silly but they provide some much needed funds when planning a college career.

Community Service Scholarships

Community Service Scholarships are a wonderful reward for those students who love to give back to their communities. If you are a student with a history of community involvement and civic accomplishments then a scholarship in this vein may be perfect for you. There are also Federal Work Study programs that award a percentage of their funding to students involved in community service. These scholarships may have awards in smaller amounts, but everything counts when finding the money to go to college.

Regardless of the type of scholarships you pursue, know that there is something out there for everyone. Look through the various scholarship guides here at to learn more about the many scholarship opportunities that may be open to you. No matter what your grades or your interests are, regardless of your background, you can find the money to pay for college with a bit of effort.