What are the Most Common Scholarships?

There are a number of different scholarships available to students – these are the ones most likely to help you pay your way through college.

When dealing with an extreme expense like a college education, there’s no doubt – every little bit helps.

And few things help more than a scholarship. With rare exceptions, a scholarship is a total gift – you aren’t expected to pay it back, there often are no future requirements, and many allow you to spend your money on anything school-related, not just tuition.

Before we take a look at the most common scholarships, a word of caution: There are a number of scams out there as well. Remember the following rules.

  • You should never pay an ‘application fee,’ or any other sort of money. Scholarships give you money, not take it from you.
  • Beware of data mining traps. If the questions seem off, they probably are.
  • No scholarship will come looking for you.
  • Any scholarship that claims to be guaranteed is something else entirely.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at the most common scholarship types.


This is exactly what it sounds like – scholarships based on accomplishments in academics or other fields. These are amongst the most competitive scholarships, but also some of the most beneficial.


Whatever your race, gender, or belief system, there is probably a scholarship out there for you. Everything from Irish-Americans to students with disabilities can receive scholarships. One nice point about lesser-known scholarships is you’re competing against a smaller pool of candidates. However, awards are often lower than other types of scholarships.


You’ve probably heard of these – if a student wants to enter a specific high-need, career, they might have their entire ride paid for. A city in dire need of teachers might have a program for students – the city pays for your education, and you agree to teach at area schools a set number of years. Nursing – another field with more need than talent – is another great example.

Be aware – you may be required to work later in locations where need is greatest. But, if you know what you want to do and can handle – for example – a few years teaching in extreme remote locations or tending the ills found in an inner-city hospital, there is no better deal out there.



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These are the scholarships you’ll get through your regular FAFSA application. While the federal government hands them out on a general basis, every school will handle their end differently.


Some places have scholarship funds available for area students. For instance, in Maryland, every State Delegate gets a set amount to endow to students.

Do your research here. Not only will every state and city have different rules, but each politician may as well. Again, in Maryland, Delegates can distribute their money however they see fit. Some give a few hundred dollars to every applicant; others give several thousand to only a few selected.

Between all these options, you should be able to find at least one scholarship you qualify for. Apply early and often – the sooner you get your application in, the higher on the pile you sit.

To your successful college pursuits…

Scott Weingold
Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com


Related Articles:

When, How and Where to Apply for Scholarships?

6 Heinous Scholarship Scams

What Scholarships Can I Apply for as a Junior?

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IrwinMarch 26th, 2011 at 7:44 pm


Sandra DewarMarch 27th, 2011 at 9:16 am

I am struggling to find college funding opportunities for my son. He has done extremely well both in academics ( senior GPA 4.8 and overall 4.5) and sports (2010/11 basket ball team captain and MVP). We have two good incomes and are deemed ineligble for any need based assistance. What do you suggest

Cathy EbenMarch 28th, 2011 at 11:38 am

This is a very common concern among families with a high EFC. You would want to speak to your financial representative to find out the best way to position your assets and also start to search for merit-based aid at various colleges. It sounds like your son would be a good candidate for scholarships.

Zella SimpsonApril 2nd, 2011 at 12:52 pm

My daughter has had a 4.0 her entire time in high school also class president last 2 years student body president this year played 3 sports captian of girls basketball team last years and took state in basketball last 2 years yearbook editer and homecoming queen this year we can only get loan from fafsa really cant afford what college is has gotten some scholarships but not enough really need some help.

KiOctober 31st, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I have just recieved a scholarship from “Scholarships4moms” is anyone familar with them. Could it be a scam. I am doing all I can to find out, but I feel like I am getting nowhere.

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.