Searching for outside scholarships is an important exercise and can prove fruitful in the college financing scheme. This site highlights two very informative articles about the scholarship search process, including Outside Scholarship Searches and Scholarship Search Scams. In addition, the information below pertains to searching for college scholarships:
It is important to check with the Financial Aid Office as to how outside scholarships affect the financial aid award package. Outside scholarships are considered a resource—so you should be clear on how the financial aid office will treat any outside scholarships received. Outside scholarships can assist you in filling the gap in an aid package or helping to cover the expected family contribution. In addition, if a student was awarded financial aid up to full need, typically the Financial Aid Office will adjust the self-help portion (loans and work) of the financial aid award. This can be beneficial and a smart way of controlling loan borrowing levels, but be sure to check with the Financial Aid Office regarding their specific policy on outside scholarship adjustments.
Providing that the student finds scholarships that match his/her criteria, there will be a lot of information and deadlines to track. A nice way of tracking scholarships is to create a spreadsheet in Excel – that way you can include as many categories as you need to help you stay organized! Some of the categories that you want to track include the Scholarship Name, Organization, and Contact Information, the Amount of Outside Scholarship, application requirements, whether the scholarship is renewable or not, and if so what the criteria is for renewal, and what the deadline if to reapply in future years, if applicable. The important thing is that you stay organized and keep track of what needs to be done.
There is a lot of information on outside scholarship searches and very handy practical tracking sheets in Financial Aid Sense if you are interested. Check out the scholarship information in Financial Aid Sense.