Your high school guidance counselor is a good place to start your search for corporate scholarships. Not only will he know the overall landscape, but he might be aware of specific corporate scholarships that are inclined toward students from your school.
Let’s say, for instance, the CEO of a large corporation went to your high school. You might not know that, but your counselor probably does. He can use that knowledge to help you receive valuable scholarships.
Or maybe you are class president and your guidance counselor has compiled a list of corporate scholarships designed for students with demonstrated leadership ability. His job is to help you and he can be a valuable resource if you ask for help.
Many businesses get into the corporate scholarship game simply to nurture students with intellectual ability. Others are looking to plant seeds that may blossom into future employees.
Corporate scholarships can be especially valuable to the graduate student. These don’t generally develop in the same way they do with the high school student. More often than not these graduate students are already working for the corporation—they simply negotiate with the company to pay all or at least part of their tuition.
After you’ve consulted with your guidance counselor you should have a conversation with your parents to determine if there are any corporate scholarships available through their place of business.
Many companies have special programs for the children of employees. The standards may not be as difficult to reach and the competition may be limited to a small number of students. It’s worth looking into as every little bit will help defray some college expenses.
Some corporations start corporate scholarship programs in order to establish ongoing relationships with promising young students. This is in their self-interest and there is nothing wrong with it. But you should make this type of arrangement work in your favor.
How do you do that? When you are searching for corporate scholarships—especially those that might come with an internship opportunity attached—look for companies that interest you. If you’re going to work there, even if it is just as an intern, the experience should serve your interests and goals first and foremost.
Remember that corporate scholarships should not be relied on for the primary funding of your college education. They are highly competitive and a good portion of them will be set aside for minorities, women and those with a financial need.
This does not mean you should be discouraged from applying for corporate scholarships. Just have realistic expectations and a good plan ‘B’ if you don’t get one.
And don’t forget that anyone looking for financial aid should not overlook filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA is over a hundred questions and can be filled out online.
The results will help you determine your EFC (expected family contribution). If your annual family income is less than $40,000 you should qualify for a Pell Grant worth up to $5,800.