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The Private Scholarships Dilemma

Private scholarships are certainly an attractive option for the motivated student. After all, who would not want to receive free money for college for just sending in an application and an essay?

Here are some key facts to know about private scholarship searches:

  • Most are small dollar awards, typically $250, $500 and up to $1,000 each.
  • The success criteria for winning is often generic. For example, "HS seniors from Ohio with a B average or better."
  • Most private scholarships are widely known and experience heavy application demand.
Simple supply and demand creates the dilemma. Just like a lottery, the awards sound so appealing but there just far more losers than winners. The most precious asset the student invested was their time with very little return to show for it.

private scholarships

What is the Best Use of My Time?

When students begin to think how much college costs and how much their own time is worth, they often become self motivated to focus on areas that have the most attractive returns on their time.

Here's my recommended short list in highest priority order:

  1. Colleges have the largest source of free money. Find out how to position your search for the most college grants and scholarships. This is by far the most effective use of your time. Learn more at my free webinar.
  2. Look for the most attractive local and regional private scholarships through your local HS guidance office, your parents employer and larger community employers and area foundations. There are typically awards that are above the national average and the number of students applying far less. Be sure to jump on these early and pay attention to the deadlines.
  3. Consider attractive national private scholarships that you can distinguish yourself. See my featured links below.
  4. Prioritize generic national searches last. Look for high award amounts and criteria where you have strengths. See recommended private scholarship search links at the bottom of this page to save yourself time.
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    Private Scholarships Worth Considering

    private scholarships - pepsi logo

    Pepsi Scholarship

    Private scholarships - tylenol logo

    Tylenol Scholarship

    Private scholarships - bill and Melinda Gates

    Gates Millenium Scholarship

    Private scholarships - walmart logo

    Walmart Scholarships

    Private scholarships - target logo

    Target Scholarship
    Private scholarships - coca-cola logo

    Coco Cola Scholarship

    Private scholarships - Best Buy logo

    Best Buy Scholarship


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    Recommended Search Links

    Private Scholarships through U. of Michigan
    Private scholarships - U. of Alaska
    Private scholarships - Fast Web

    Return to Free Scholarships Page
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What Clients Are Saying



“…without your involvement, we never would have thought to approach the college directly…. We got the documentation together to obtain residency, created letters to send and were granted residency which translated to $20,000 in savings.

THEN we went back and said, 'don’t take away her out-of-state scholarship just because she is now a resident' and got OSU to maintain the $7,000 scholarship".

"We would like to express our appreciation for the service that our daughter received.

She is our first child to go through the college application process, and it was very intimidating for our whole family. You were able to create a clear, understandable path for our daughter.

As a result of all of this hard work, our daughter was offered three presidential scholarships at various colleges, including a full tuition scholarship to a private college.

Thanks again, and we look forward to working with you on our son's upcoming college search."

"HWS presented an above average financial aid award, however, it included some work study. With your guidance, I went back and asked that the work study be converted to either grant or scholarship to relieve the financial burden while allowing my daughter to focus on academics.

They came back with the conversion AND continued to keep her eligible for an equal amount of money through work study."