Scholarship Contests are another interesting way to earn money for college. The competitions usually do not provide the biggest awards, but they do offer opportunities to a wider range of applicants than the traditional merit based scholarships. You are not likely to win full tuition, but who couldn't use an extra $500 or $1,000?
While most contests have a minimum requirement for grades and/or SAT scores, it often is set low enough that average students will qualify. Many contests emphasize something besides the academics. Most often, an essay assignment is the key factor in determining winners. Also, community service or experience in a particular area are highly prized by many organizations sponsoring contests. This sort of "levels the playing field," and gives students with ordinary grades a great chance to win an award, even though they may be competing against the class valedictorian.
Who sponsors these awards? Well, any organization that is trying to promote a cause or simply gain some publicity for itself. Sponsors range from fairly obscure, such a smoke detector company promoting fire safety, to the prestigious JKF foundation, which promotes good government. Your high school counselor can probably tell you about local organizations that have such contests.
Maximize your chances of wining by entering as many of these contests as possible. Also, considering using one of the online databases, such as Fastweb.com It's free and very fast. You'll be surprised to find how many scholarships are available.
Go to page 8: Federal and State Grants for College.