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Scholarships by Type

The most popular scholarships are based on merit and need and come directly from your intended college, but if you have a unique talent or characteristic, the chances of finding an award from an outside organization to fit those criteria are pretty good. Many organizations out there that work to spread the word about things like a particular field of study, disease and disorder or unique hobby place a premium on higher education, and often have scholarship funds set up for students who display the characteristics they’re trying to raise awareness about.

Student-Specific Scholarships

Scholarships exist for nearly every characteristic you can think of. Whether you’re a single mom or have strong religious convictions, have a passion for thinking "green" or love to dance, chances are there is at least one scholarship out there that you’re eligible for. Make a list of what makes you special, and investigate the major organizations, local groups and private corporations that may have funding set aside for education. The American Cancer Society, for example, has a large number of cancer scholarships for college students with a history of the disease based on the region those students live in. Best Buy runs a scholarship program for incoming college students interested in community service. No matter what you like doing or what makes you stand out, there will probably be a scholarship to reward you just for being you.

The most common student-specific scholarships are scholarships for minorities. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, for example, is open only to African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic American students. Scholarships for Hispanic students have become more available as Hispanic advocacy groups have begun to raise awareness about low numbers of Hispanic students going to college. International students should also feel confident about applying to American colleges, as there are scholarships that exist just for them.

Unique Scholarships

Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes. The good thing about having a unique hobby like duck calling or speaking in Klingon is that the awards for those hobbies may be less competitive than needs-based or more high-profile scholarships. Just think of how many people you know who have a passion for protecting mule deer. Think about what makes you stand out, and consider contacting local organizations that fit those criteria. If you’re going into a field that is unique, look to your community for awards in that field of study you’re pursuing. Look beyond your college application and your grades, and you’ll find you may be eligible for funding in more places than one.

Browse through our list of scholarships by type to see some examples of awards you could be eligible for, and don’t forget to conduct a free scholarship search to see even more awards based on different criteria unique to your profile.

Some Examples:

  • Academic Scholarships and Merit Scholarships

    Merit scholarships are often related to academic performance, but can also be given to a candidate displaying artistic or athletic excellence or sometimes a combination thereof.

  • Community Service Scholarships

    Participating in community service activities as a high school student can be hugely beneficial, and not just when it comes to acing your college interview. Students who get involved can expect all sorts of great things to come of their extracurricular work.

  • First in Family Scholarships

    The road to a college degree is paved with countless detours for the average student but if you’re the first in your family to choose that path, you should expect a road with even more twists and turns.

  • Legacy Scholarships

    There are hundreds of factors to consider when deciding what college is right for you. So while your father may have strong opinions on why his alma mater may be the “one” you may have another incentive for considering it – legacy scholarships.

  • Military Scholarships

    Whether you’re a member of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy there are a number of college scholarships and grants available for service members, veterans and their families.

  • Prestigious Scholarships

    Prestigious scholarships are known on a national, and, often, on an international level. Winning one of these could do more for you than help cover college costs, as well, as recipients are then able to boast that they were chosen among thousands of applicants.

  • Scholarships for Average Students

    Not every student is fated to find wild success in the world of academia; however, plenty of students are able to succeed where it counts the most - in the real world.

  • Scholarships for Men

    We offer a wide variety of awards here at Scholarships.com and while scholarships geared towards men specifically are not very common we do have quite a few listed in our database.

  • Scholarships for Moms

    In a perfect world, mothers would transition flawlessly from PTA meetings and dance recitals to conferences on synergy and the importance of SEO in one fell swoop. Reality check: We don’t live in a perfect world and for those mothers interested in competing in the corporate world, going back to school is a viable option.

  • Weird Scholarships

    Students with unusual talents and interests often find themselves uniquely suited to art scholarships, writing scholarships, and a variety of other weird scholarship opportunities.

  • Writing Scholarships

    Winning scholarships is possible, especially when you put a bit of effort into your writing. Scholarships are often awarded based on some basic and fairly universal criteria of verbal ability

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