Finished applying to colleges? Worried about the expense? Thankfully there are numerous scholarship opportunities that can help pay for college. Here is a list of ways to find out about available scholarships:
*FastWeb: This database contains more than 1.5 million scholarships to choose from; it provides you with scholarships geared toward your strengths. If you are having trouble writing a scholarship essay, this website also provides ways to create a winning scholarship essay as well as many other helpful hints. The website, www.fastweb.com, is a great place to start when searching for scholarships.
*Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: The Gates Millennium Program offers scholarships to African-Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan natives, Asian Pacific Islanders and Hispanic Americans who show leadership and engage in community service. But hurry, the deadline is Wednesday. Go to gmsp.org for further details.
*Buffalo Urban League: Fill out the application found on the website, buffalourbanleague.org/scholarships.html. Apply before March 16.
*Lowe's: $2,500 scholarships are given to 140 students actively engaged in community service. Lowes.com further elaborates on this scholarship.
*Vegetarian Resource Group: For all vegetarians, this scholarship is for you. Two $5,000 scholarships are awarded to those who have "shown compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle." The application, found on www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm, is due Feb. 20.
*Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition: Calling all fashionistas. This option can provide you with a half-tuition scholarship for a fashion degree program at any of the 45 Art Institutes schools. The application is found at http://www.artinstitutes.edu/competitions/fashion-design-passion-fo -fashion.aspx. Entries must be submitted by Jan. 20, 2012.
*Duct Tape Competition: $5,000 scholarships are awarded to couples who creatively create the best prom attire -- out of Duct Tape. For more information visit the website stuckatprom.com.
*Tall Clubs International Scholarship: Yes, there is even a scholarship for tall people. The qualification for this award is simply the height requirement of being at least 5-foot-10 for women and 6-foot-2 for men. Tall.org provides the details on this scholarship.
Many scholarships are available through your school; ask a guidance counselor for information on how to apply for these scholarships. It is highly advantageous to apply for these scholarships because you have an increased chance of winning these scholarships due to fewer applicants than a national scholarship.
Also, admissions counselors recommend applying for financial aid even if you think you do not qualify. Apply before March 1. The application can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
If you want to know more about financial aid, visit www.finaid.org.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for scholarship information that may come from the schools you applied to. Many times applying by the priority deadline qualifies you for numerous merit scholarships. Some of these scholarships may require additional recommendation letters and essays.
Aman Shamaa is a senior at Clarence High School.