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Scholarships for College

May 16, 2016

Learn about five different types of scholarships for college.

With the cost of college skyrocketing, you may be looking for ways to reduce the cost of continuing your education.  There are many different types of scholarships available to help you decrease the amount you have to pay for tuition, fees and room and board.  Here are just some of the scholarships for college that are available.


Academic or merit scholarships are awarded to students based on superior academic achievement.  Historically, academic scholarships have been reserved for top performers and are based on G.P.A., test scores and other factors.  These scholarships are often awarded at a national level.  They are very prestigious and represent the largest financial awards. 

However, there are also scholarships available for students with average academic performance.  While grades are a factor in awarding these scholarships, they also take into account other activities, including extracurricular activities and community service.  The payout amounts are often not as large as the merit scholarships, but they can go a long way toward helping you defray the cost of tuition.


Athletic scholarships for college are available for students who demonstrate superior athletic ability.  They are available for a variety of sports from football and basketball to swimming and lacrosse.  Awards range from full tuition and room and board to partial tuition and room and board.  Most athletic scholarships are awarded by the college/university.  However, there are some available from private sources.  If you will be playing sports in college, find out if you’re eligible for an athletic scholarship.

Arts Scholarships

If your talent is more creative than athletic, an arts scholarship may be your ticket to an affordable education.  Whether you’re a painter, dancer, actor, photographer or other type of artist, there are a variety of scholarships for college available to students interested in studying the arts.  If you want to apply for an arts scholarship, be prepared to perform, provide a portfolio of your work or otherwise showcase your talent.  It will be an important factor in determining whether or not you receive a scholarship.

Service Scholarships

If you are an active member of your community and you regularly volunteer your time to help others, you may qualify for a community service scholarship.  There are a variety of national organizations that offer awards to students who demonstrate outstanding service to their communities.  In addition, many smaller community-based organizations also offer awards to students who regularly volunteer their time.

Student Specific

There are many scholarships for college available that are geared toward different segments of the population based on their individual characteristics.  Examples include minority scholarships; scholarships for students with disabilities; scholarships based on student interests and many more.  Think about what makes you unique and try to find an organization that offers a scholarship based on your characteristics.

These are just a handful of the types of college scholarships available.  For details about eligibility requirements, application deadlines and more, contact the colleges/universities you are applying to or the organization sponsoring the scholarship to learn more.
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