Do you have a passion for science, community service, pets, or social media? Are you a leader or a golf caddy? Can you make a short movie on the dangers of distracted driving?  Write an essay on Ayn Rand? Make prom attire out of duct tape? 
If you answered yes to any of these questions, there’s a scholarship for you.
If you answered no, there are scholarships for you, too — even if your grades are average.
Scholarship money is available for all kinds of students. Qualifications include unique hobbies, special interests, diverse background, ethnicity, religion, LGBTQIA+ identification, choice of majors, family history, service projects, organizations, skills, ability to answer essay questions, and more.
Earning a scholarship is equivalent to free money, meaning you never need to pay it back.
If you are in grades 9-11, start by applying to the scholarship offered by International College Counselors: https://iccscholarship.com/
Here are some tips for finding other scholarship opportunities and maximizing the power of your application.
1. Sign up with a free online scholarship search.  Answer some questions on a specialized website and they will match you with potential sources for free money for college. To make scholarship searches easier, these sites allow you to save, organize, and update your search activity. Websites for free online scholarship searches include:
All clients of International College Counselors receive a monthly list of scholarships. Students should also check with their high school counselor about scholarships.
2. Look for niche scholarships that you qualify for. These may include local scholarships (for example, check out your local Rotary Club, Women’s Club, chamber of commerce, and university alumni groups). Your high school may have scholarships only for its students as well. Fewer students will be applying to these. A good starting place to find local scholarships is to Google “scholarships” and the name of your city or state. The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program awards scholarships regionally, as well as Ford Salute to Education.
3. Apply for scholarships with smaller awards. The awards with bigger prizes are the ones that draw the most applicants. An additional strategy is to apply for multiple small awards, which can add up fast.
4. Make the search fun. Apply for scholarships that fit your talents and interests. For example, if you like making films, apply for scholarships that ask for a video. The same goes if you enjoy writing, drawing, competing in math, creating a business plan, or even duck calling.
5. Be original with your essays. Strive to set yourself apart from the others. Grab the reader’s attention while making sure to answer the prompt. In addition, writing scholarship essays provides great practice for writing future college admissions essays.
6. Don’t waste your time. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements, don’t apply for the scholarship. Make sure you follow the rules; if an application video should be less than 5 minutes, make sure it’s under 5 minutes. If an essay should be 200 words, don’t write 250. Also, meet the deadlines.
7. Don’t wait until the last minute. You can never be certain the website, internet, or computer will be working. And start looking before you apply to college, not after you get in. By the time you hear about your admission, many deadlines have already passed.
8. Never pay a fee. There are many free scholarship search services available. There is also no organization that can guarantee you’ll win a scholarship if you pay them. If you have to pay, it’s a scam.
9. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. The more scholarships you apply for, the more chances you have to win one – or a dozen! There’s no limit to how many scholarships you can apply for. Approach the scholarship search in the same way you’d look for a job: make it a priority to apply. Even when you’re in college, keep looking for scholarships.
It requires time and effort to find and apply for scholarships, but they’re worth it!
Start early!  Start now!
Additional Assistance
For questions and support on scholarships or anything and everything related to college admissions, contact International College Counselors. Visit https://internationalcollegecounselors.com/ or call 954-414-9986 x6.

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