IAMA former scholarship judge. AMA about how to win scholarships no matter who you are!
After seeing a couple of "OMG I'm white and middle class, I will never get scholarships" posts, and hearing it from a lot of friends, I thought this might be valuable. It's not true.
I took a class on getting scholarships at Portland Community College, and got the idea to volunteer for the scholarship selection committee for various non-profits the year before applying, so I could see the kind of people who applied and who generally won.
It worked remarkably well! I've won 3 out of 4 of the scholarships I've applied for, for a total somewhere in the range of $10,000? I'm not sure to be honest, one was a full ride scholarship and I lost count of the amount.
It's easier than most people think! AMA!
Edit: Holy moly! I am amazed at the response here. I need a break, I'll come back and do a few more responses after a little bit here. Thanks for responding!
Edit 2: In case anyone wants to know, I've taken the strategy for scholarship searching from my experience in B2B sales. You can find me on twitter @Jennaathome, if you're inclined. :)
Edit 3: I'll be here for another round in about an hour in case there are a few more lingering questions people have. Thanks everyone for making this an awesome AMA! Great questions! To everyone: Good luck! Every attempt you make is a step towards success! There is no such thing as failure in the scholarship game!
Edit 4: I love the responses! I don't have any more time today to answer questions, but most of the ones I haven't answered, the answer can be found elsewhere in another part of the thread.
International students: I don't know much about scholarships for people from outside the US to come here, or going elsewhere from the US. I wish I did! I'd start by Googling "Scholarships for X students coming to study in US" where X is your nationality. I'm sure you'll find a blog post or even a listing. See where it goes!
Good luck to everyone. Scholarships do take a lot of work to start, but once you get down the general process it only gets easier. It's a shame we have to compete to get to better ourselves, but hopefully I've made competing a little easier for you all. :)