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How to Start Looking for Grants

Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 04:27 PM

Finding the best grants and scholarships can be confusing because of the abundance of choices. When looking for grants and scholarships to finance your education, you should adopt a systematic approach to identify the best grants. This article will guide you on how to start looking for the grants best suited to your needs.
1. Start the process of looking for grants as early as possible
Searching for grants is a time-consuming process and you need sufficient time to carefully study various aspects of the different scholarships available. You also need time to get the best possible advice and guidance from family members, teachers, and student counselors. You can also discuss with other students who need financial aid and are looking for grants and scholarships, or with those who have already obtained grants.
2. Make a list of the educational institutions you would like to join
Many scholarships are available only to local residents, so you may want to consider colleges in state. Take time to find out every possible grant and scholarship available at these institutions. You should also prepare a list of courses you intend to pursue. Focus on the financial aid offered for these courses when you start looking for grants.  
3. Select the best grants and scholarships for you
First, choose scholarships and grants offering financial aid to the specific categories and subgroups you belong to. Grants in a general category will attract the largest number of applicants. Specific classifications are based on courses, locality, college, ethnicity, gender, special interests, physical disability, etc.
4.  Make a strong grant application
Your applications for scholarships and grants should be attractive and imaginative. All government grants (and most other scholarships) look into the applicant’s need for financial aid. Generally, FAFSA and SAR applications have to be submitted online. The essay submitted along with the application for grants should be comprehensive yet precise. Prepare a certified record of academic and extracurricular achievements. Certificates in leadership qualities and community service are also very valuable.
5. Use the Internet to search for grants
The Internet is a very fast and convenient way to search for grants. But you should be careful not to be taken in by the various scholarship scams that are being promoted. While some scams cheat applicants of their money, others misuse the personal and confidential information collected. Do not submit applications, pay fees, or reveal personal information without verifying the credentials of concerned persons.

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