Scholarships: How to Find Free Cash to Pay for College

Nov 21, 2011 4:11:00 PM

Many students think that the only way you can get  scholarships for school is by getting good grades or doing well in athletics. However, this is not always the case. Some organizations offer free money for other students, especially those who have a financial need, to go to college and get a good education after high school.

Matching Grants

Some states offer scholarships that give matching funds to low-income families to use toward college. These matching funds provide students with twice as much money as they would otherwise be able to bring to the table for going to school. This allows you to go to a better school than you could otherwise afford, giving you a better chance at making a better life for yourself. Search for these grants online to see if you can qualify.


Employers are another good source for students in search of scholarships. Some employers, especially larger ones, offer scholarship opportunities for employees and their dependents who want to go to college. Inquire with your employer to find out if they have any programs for which you can apply to obtain free money to go to a better college. Different employers attach different requirements to their programs to determine who qualifies. Start your free search

Some websites, such as for Rhode Island students, can help you look for scholarships that best match your situation. These searchable websites ask questions about your grades, extra-curricular activities, financial situation and other pertinent information, including school choices. They then match you up with programs for which you may meet the requirements for free money. It is still up to you to complete the application process to find out if you qualify. Some of these websites can also send you an alert if a new opportunity arises for which you may qualify.


Check with the colleges which you hope to attend. Some colleges offer scholarships to students who want to come to the school. Some of these programs are for those who have good grades or participate in sports during high school, but others are meant to help low to middle-income students afford to attend the school. If the college you hope to attend offers this type of program, apply to it as early as you can because there are likely plenty of other students who are after the same money you are.

Other Qualifications

Seeking scholarships from organizations that specialize in specific qualifications can be useful if you fall into one of their qualifying categories. For instance, if you are a member of a minority group, certain opportunities are available to you. Other common qualifiers include being in the military or a parent in the military, women, international students and physical disabilities. In addition, if you are going into certain fields, such as nursing or teaching, you may qualify for those programs.

Finding the right scholarship that fits your needs can take time. Start looking for scholarships early and check back often. These programs often have strict deadlines so it is important to check websites and other resources at least once a month to ensure that you don't miss any deadlines for a scholarship for which you may qualify. Even if you don't fit the criteria for an academic or athletic scholarship, you can still find free money for your schooling.
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Topics: Scholarships

SAT Crunch: Free tools that can help you maximize your score

Nov 17, 2011 3:50:00 PM

As you go through your high school years, it is important to look toward your plans for after high school. If you intend to go to college, you need to make sure you take the classes you will need to get into the college of your choice. You must also prepare for the SAT test so you know what to expect and increase your chances of doing well on the test. Doing well on the SAT can make the difference in getting into the school of your choice.

While some organizations offer college testing preparation classes that help you prepare for the SAT, not everyone can afford to pay for the service. However, proper preparation is still important for everyone. Even if you can't afford to pay for any of the classes, you can still use free resources available on the Internet or at your local library to help you prepare instead. These resources can work just as well as the classes that require a fee as long as you work hard.

Some of the free online tools (just Google "free SAT prep tools" for a host of sites to visit; if you live in RI, we recommend WaytoGoRI) and library books which you can use to help prepare for the SAT tests work as guides that walk you through the contents of the test and how it is administered. When you go into the test knowing what to expect, you will feel more comfortable. When you are comfortable in your surroundings, you are more likely to focus on the material and do better on the tests. The better you do on the tests, the better your chances of getting into the college of your choice after high school or getting merit based scholarships.

Taking a practice test or two can also help familiarize yourself with the test and help you do better. The questions found on the practice tests are not the exact same questions you will find on the actual test, but they can help you prepare for the SAT. The questions will be similar to the ones you will find on the actual test in format, but the questions and answers will be different. Taking more than one practice test provides you with the chance to become more familiar with the format of each section, thus increasing your comfort level.

Tip guides can also be a useful tool as you prepare for the SAT. None of the resources will give you the answers for the test, but they can help you understand how the test works. Reading through the tip guides will lead you through your preparations for test day, what you need to bring, what you should know and other useful information about the test. If you typically panic when it comes to testing time, you can even find tip sheets that help you learn to deal with test-taking anxiety so you can do the best you are capable of doing.

If you are struggling in specific areas covered on the tests, you can utilize different online tools, such as games and study guides. These tools help you prepare for the SAT and the various subjects covered within the test. Choose tools in the areas in which you often struggle so you can improve your chances of doing well in all of the areas of the test. While colleges will look at your individual scores from the test, having a strong overall score will help ensure that you can get into the college you want to go to.

While it may seem like a lot of work just to prepare for the SAT, the SAT is important to your future. Without it, you may not get into the school of your choice.
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Topics: SAT & ACT

Narrowing your College List: Tips & Strategies

Nov 14, 2011 9:00:00 AM

Choosing the right colleges to apply to can be a multi-year, multi-step decision involving parents, friends, counselors and more. And, it's often a process that starts with a large number of universities on a your college list that gets narrowed down over time. But how, exactly, should you as a prospective student go about narrowing your extensive list of schools? What criteria should you use to make sure you end up in the best college for you the first time?

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Topics: College Planning