Your grades, achievements, and activities during high school typically determine the scholarships for which you are eligible. Often, the organization or individual donor providing the scholarship wishes to reward or encourage certain characteristics or behaviors such as strong academic credentials, leadership or community service activities, or plans to enter a certain profession.
Scholarships come from a variety of sources. Some are available through Illinois State University. Our ScholarshipFinder can also help you find awards within the University. Professional organizations, social clubs, employers, community organizations, and individual donors provide many more. Each scholarship provider determines when and how they will select the recipient, whether or not the award is renewable year after year, when the money will be awarded, and how it should be used. The more often you are searching and applying for scholarships, the less likely it is you will miss something for which you could have qualified.
Most scholarships are awarded on an annual basis. Usually that means applications are accepted in the fall or spring, winners are notified a few weeks to a few months later, and the actual awards are made the next fall. Unfortunately, because of this timing, if you are trying to cover an outstanding bill you have right now, scholarships are unlikely to help. Find out how the process works when you receive a scholarship.
Our blog can help you:
Federal Student Aid also provides a good explanation of how scholarships work.