Private scholarship money is funding that students receive from private donors or organizations. Sources of private scholarships may include corporations, nonprofit organizations, civic and professional associations, sports teams and foundations.
If you will be an incoming first year student, we recommend that you contact your high school guidance office; they often have information on local scholarships that you can apply for.
We encourage all Washington College students to research and apply for private scholarships as a way to reduce their college costs. We suggest checking out our Scholarship Resource notebook for listings on private scholarship opportunities available throughout the year.
Looking for scholarships will take time, but the rewards can be great. Keep in mind there may be numerous applicants applying for the same scholarship, therefore, you don’t want to give anyone a reason to disqualify you!
Here are a few things you can do that may make a difference:
Don’t Wait. Do the Research - start early, search often! Don’t wait until the night before the deadline to fill out your application. Start early and make a commitment to apply often.
Keep your grades up - Good grades are especially important to recipients of merit scholarships, which are awarded based on a student’s grades or talents. Most merit scholarships set higher GPA bars for renewal.
Get organized - Keep track of your applications and their deadlines. Polish up your resume. Clean up your social media profile by removing inappropriate and immature material.
Start your engines -There are many free scholarship search programs designed to assist you in locating additional scholarship sources. To start, try and locate at least two search engines and begin the process (check our list of free search engine sites).
It’s also a good idea to set up a separate email account. This will keep all of your scholarship information in one place and your regular inbox won’t be overloaded.
Get Specific - One way to reduce the number of applicants that you are competing against is to narrow your search. To do that, you have to get extremely specific. Adding specific majors or any other Scholarship Profile elements you can will lead you to more resources.
Stay close to home - Utilize your parents and family members! Many companies offer scholarships to the children or relatives of employees. Also consider local organizations and groups, such as churches and businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and city hall as resources-you may be surprised at what you find!
And Finally, Word to the wise - Beware of Scholarship Scams
Scam Warning Signs:
- You have to pay a fee-promises cash if you pay a registration fee
- Money-back guarantee -“The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.”
- Credit card/bank account information required
- Offers exclusive information or “You’re a finalist” in a contest you never entered.
Will a private scholarship affect my current financial aid?
If you receive need-based financial aid, a private scholarship will affect your aid if the total of all your aid exceeds your total cost of attendance. You would then be considered to be “over awarded” and your award will be reduced to make room for the outside funds. Whenever possible, the Office of Student Financial Aid will reduce loan and work study awards before reducing grant and scholarship awards.
Scholarship checks received by our office will be divided equally between fall and spring semesters, unless otherwise indicated in your scholarship award letter.
Please send checks and supporting information (include the student’s name, award name, amount, and year/term applicable) to:
Office of Student Financial Aid
300 Washington Avenue
Chestertown, MD 21620
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