One of the greatest misconceptions about college scholarships is that they are only meant to benefit students with the highest grade point average. There are a large number of scholarships available to benefit all manner of student. Some of these programs are designed to benefit students with a high level of performance in a given area, such as athletics or the arts, while others are devised to benefit students from a particular background or ethnic group. All of these scholarships can be considered “Average Student Scholarships”, and can be of great financial help to college-bound students with a less than stellar GPA.
Scholarship sponsors are looking to reward the best in a particular field, and Average Student Scholarships put the emphasis on factors other than academic excellence. However, this is not meant to imply that Average Student Scholarships disregard grades entirely, they are just not the primary deciding factor.
Let's take some time to look at the most common Average Student Scholarships.
Any scholarship that does not have academic excellence as it's top priority can be designated an Average Student Scholarship. While grades are a consideration, and no scholarship is ever awarded to a failing student, they are not the main focus of the scholarship program. Some of the more common Average Student Scholarships include:
Athletic scholarships are awarded to students who have shown an exceptional talent, and performance record, in a particular sport. Grades will play a roll in any scholarship application, but the major emphasis will be on a student's athletic achievements. Athletic scholarships are highly competitive, and while they can be very lucrative, they are not a given for every talented young athlete.
Athletic scholarships are available in all major sport and athletic activities. While football, baseball and basketball scholarships have the highest national profile, you will also be able to find scholarship programs devoted to golf, swimming, gymnastics and most other sports. These scholarships are typically offered by colleges and universities, who are looking to attract the best athletes to their campus. It is a matter of pride, and revenue, for a university to have the best of the best attending their school.
The first place to look for athletic scholarships is through the college of your choice. If you are an exceptional athlete, look for colleges with a history of prominence in your field, and see what programs are available that might benefit you. It is also likely your coach or trainer will be able to give you leads on schools with athletic programs that match your interests. Scholarship requirements will differ from school to school, and in many cases you will need to be nominated for these scholarships by a coach or other school official in order to be considered.
It is also possible to find athletic scholarships sponsored by corporations and associations most affiliated with a certain sport. An internet search, and some diligent library research, can help you find athletic scholarships from the private sector that will help exceptional athletes pay for college. For example, a search of 'golf scholarships' brings a number of results including the Richard D. McDonough Golf Scholarship which is open the employees of any New Hampshire golf club. Corporate sponsored athletic scholarships are a good source of supplemental college funds, and just require a little diligent research to bring them to light.
Artistic scholarships, much like athletic-based scholarships, place an emphasis on performance history rather than merely academics. Your skills in music, art, dance or film will be given greater weight than your GPA. Once again remember, while academic performance is not the deciding factory it will be considered.
Artistic scholarships can be found in every division of the creative arts. Painting, music, dance and creative writing are only a few of the fields in which you might look for scholarship opportunities. Typically an artistic-merit scholarship will be awarded by liberal arts colleges, endowments for the arts and corporations and associations specifically related to the particular artistic field in question. Begin your search by looking into what your prospective college of choice has to offer. Check with your college financial aid adviser, and visit the college's authorized website for specific details as to their financial aid programs.
The internet is also a good tool for finding specific scholarship opportunities for a particular field. For instance, a search for 'dance scholarships' brings results like the Harlequin Dance Scholarship, sponsored by American Harlequin, a flooring manufacturing company. This technique can be used for any artistic field, from fashion design to film editing, and can help you locate scholarship opportunities sponsored by corporations and art associations.
While artistic scholarships are available in nearly all creative fields of endeavor, they are highly competitive and you will have to submit samples of your art to be considered for any award. This will mean preparing and submitting portfolios of your art, and tapes or DVD's of you musical, dance or film work. Every scholarship will have different submission standards, and it is best to be prepared to submit your finest work with you scholarship applications.
Both women and ethnic minorities have a long history of being under-represented in the universities and colleges of America. This is changing, and many scholarships have been developed to specifically aid and encourage minorities in their quest for a college education. These scholarships are designed to provide equal opportunity to those students from historically under-served and under-represented backgrounds.
Minority scholarships are often found linked to specific areas of study, most notably the critical need STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These disciplines have long been dominated by white males, and the push is on to diversify and expand these fields by attracting both women and minorities. Minority scholarships are also abundant in the fields of medicine and teaching, two other critical need areas in which diversification has become a necessity.
Scholarships designed to benefit minority students can be found from a variety or sources, both public and private. Federal and State governments provide grants and scholarships dedicated to helping minority students enter and succeed in college. Many of these government funded financial aid programs are field specific, offering wider opportunities to college-bound minority students entering a critical need field of study. Government grants and scholarships also place more emphasis on financial need than academic achievement.
Other sources of minority scholarships include women's groups and ethnic associations. Organizations like the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic College Fund and the American Association of University Women sponsor grants and scholarships designed to help their respective minorities fulfill their college ambitions.
Many high school and college students work part time to supplement their income. Many businesses and corporations offer grants and scholarships to their employees as a way of encouraging post-secondary education for college aged students across the country. Many corporations like McDonalds and Chik-fil-a sponsor annual scholarships for eligible college aged employees who are enrolled, or soon to be enrolled, in a 2 – 4 year accredited university.
Parents can also help their college-bound children find scholarship funds through their workplace. A large number of corporations and businesses offer scholarship and grant programs for the dependent children of their current employees. For example, the Humana Insurance group offers the Humana Foundation Scholarship to the children of full time employees. Awards are based on academic achievement, work experience and community service.
An employer scholarship is a good source of supplemental income for your college education. Most of these scholarships offer smaller pay-outs, but every little bit helps when finding the funds to pay for a college education.
Scholarship opportunities can come from a variety of sources, some of them career specific. Many professional associations and business organizations offer scholarships to students who are studying to take their place in a particular profession. For example, an association of aerospace engineers like the Aerospace States Association will offer scholarships dedicated to students pursuing a career in their own industry. This is true of professional organizations affiliated with most professions, from accounting to nursing; from pharmacist to computer technician. These scholarships can help hard working students realize their dream of getting a college education, and taking their place in a chosen professional field. To find these scholarships, search for associations affiliated with your career goals, and research what scholarships they sponsor.
As you can see, Average Student Scholarships are plentiful. The lack of a 4.0 GPA doesn't automatically disqualify any student from receiving a scholarship for college. But the real key to winning any of these scholarships, is to find your strengths, do your research, work hard and apply to any and all scholarship programs for which you may qualify.