Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finding Scholarships and Grants

If you are looking for sources to help you finance your education, knowing how and where to search can be crucially important. Many scholarships and grants aren’t well advertised, so it will be up to you to do the work and find the opportunities. If you are already enrolled at a college or university, start with the professional services available, such as financial aid or career services. If you are not yet enrolled, contact college or university admissions offices directly and ask them about the opportunities and support they provide for international students - a number of them offer discounted tuition and scholarships. These opportunities are increasing, as universities see the value of having a diverse population of students.

When searching on your own, there are a number of free scholarship search sites/databases on the Web (also referred to as “multiple-source” sites, some are listed below). Profile-based scholarship searches allow you to register an account, have you fill out a student profile that includes your education history, intended major, group memberships, awards, test scores, and so on. Based on the answers in your profile, the website software will direct you toward scholarships and contests that you’re eligible for. Be sure to fill out the profiles with as much information as possible, for more search matches.

You can also search for scholarships on the Web yourself, using search engines. Knowing the right tips and tricks can help you find more relevant results for your scholarship search. First, don’t limit yourself to using one search engine – try several, including Google, Bing, Cuil, and Yahoo for example; the results and the methods will differ. Next, know how to search. If you want to find scholarships in your chosen field of study – Computer Science for example, typing "Computer Science scholarships" will return a number of relevant results. To see the latest CS scholarships that are being offered (this works only for Google), type in and enter your keywords "CS scholarships". Once you get to the results page, you now paste this string of words: &as_qdr=m at the end of the URL and press enter. Doing this will give you only the web pages on CS scholarships that have been published in the last month. You can also filter results in the last 24 hours (&as_qdr=d), the last week (&as_qdr=w), or the past year (&as_qdr=y1).

To get specific search results using any search engine, you have to add other relevant words to your keywords when you make your query. In scholarship searches, relevant words include "deadline (insert month)", "study in (insert location)", and "for (insert nationality, country of origin)". In our example, specific keywords could be "CS scholarships for Indians deadline December 2009", "CS scholarships for Indians in US" or any combination of keywords and modifiers that would best define your search. The key here is to be specific. Put the keyword/s inside quotation marks ("") only when you want exact search results for that keyword.

Aside from Google and other engines, you can search for scholarships in different platforms like Blog or Blog Networks (using Google Blog Search), Twitter (using, LinkedIn (joining groups) and even Facebook (search for scholarship groups). Once you find a source that you think is helpful, you can follow many of them on Twitter or RRS feeds to keep up with current information.

Also consider contacting organizations, associations, foundations, or government agencies. For example, contact the local Rotary International Organization to ask about their Ambassadorial Scholarships; or if you are a student member of an organization, ASME, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (for example), many have scholarship opportunities for international students. P.E.O. International provides a number of scholarships for international women students to study in the US or Canada. Google and Microsoft have tech-related scholarships, with some specifically for women. Ask your professors what professional organizations they belong to, and contact the national headquarters, or look them up on the Web.

Many of the sites listed below also have links to other important and useful information, including blogs, forums, discussion boards, etc. You can follow many of them on Twitter or RRS feeds to keep up with current information.

Scholarships for International Students would greatly appreciate your recommendations of websites with useful information regarding scholarships or internships. SIS would also appreciate guest blog postings from students, or university professionals who would like to share ideas, information, or suggestions! Please feel free to leave comments below.

Sampling of a few Scholarship and Financial Aid Sites:

• International Education Financial Aid:
• FastWeb:
• International Scholarships:
• Careers and Colleges
• FinAid:
• Scholarship
• Hispanic College Fund:
• CHCI - Developing the next generation of Latino Leaders:
• The Gates Millennium Scholars:
• ScholarshipsCanada:
• eduPass:
• Scholarship Monkey:
• P.E.O. International:
• Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation:
• Google Scholarships:
• The Foundation Center:

These are just a sampling of different kinds of sources you can use to find funding – there are so many more! Watch for a tab in the Facebook Page where I will list more sites. Follow me, IntStudentCon, on Twitter for posts on individual scholarships, or join the Facebook Page for postings (click on the icons on this blog site to access both).

Next up: Creating your Brand Statement (A follow up on the “Creating your personal brand” series). How to write cover letters and Resumes that stand out in a sea of competition! Valuable information from leading personal branding expert and career advancement coach, Robert Allen Paul. Don’t miss this series!!

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