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A quick guide to four of the main types of college scholarships available

When it comes to applying for college scholarships, you might think you’re only eligible if you have the best grades in your class or are playing football at a near-professional standard. Luckily, this isn’t entirely accurate. Although performing at that standard academically or athletically will definitely help your chances, there are a far wider variety of awards available—and for a far wider variety of people.

Here’s a quick overview of four of the main types of college scholarships you can apply for, to help you narrow down which are the most relevant for you or your child.

Academic scholarships

College is primarily an academic venture, so it’s no surprise that a large proportion of scholarships are reserved for those who excel in this area. If you have an exceptional GPA, these are the most promising awards to apply for. Remember that it’s not all about grades though—the committee will also be looking at factors such as extracurricular activities and public service, so the more well-rounded you are as a student the better chance you have. Additionally, it’s worth bearing in mind that you could search for academic scholarships in a particular subject, rather than having to be good at everything.

Sports scholarships

Scholarships awarded to athletes can be among some of the most generous and prestigious, so it’s well worth looking into them if you have a sporting talent. It’s not just football either—there are all sorts of awards available, from college field hockey scholarships to those for swimming, tennis, and golf. Sports scholarships are also amongst the most competitive however, so it’s a good idea to speak to your coach for advice if you’re hoping to apply for one. It’s a good idea to start putting together a portfolio of your athletic achievements now, to make sure you’re ready.

Arts scholarships

If your talents lie in more of a creative field, an arts scholarship might be more applicable to you. There are a number of different awards available to people who show a particular talent in music, drama, dance, writing, and other art forms, so take some time to search what’s out there. There’s bound to be one that aligns with your passion. You’ll probably have to put together a portfolio of your creative work, and you may also need to have an audition if your art is performance based (or send in an audition tape).

Need-based scholarships

There are many different scholarships that are awarded to those who can demonstrate genuine financial need, so if you come from a low-income background these might be worth looking into. In addition to being able to prove that your need is genuine, which usually involves supplying a number of different official documents, you may also have to live in a certain area or be intending to study a particular subject. Some scholarships might only be available to women or those from an ethnic minority background, so take some time to research what’s available and what you’re eligible for.


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