So ask away! Some of the best scholarships come from the most unexpected places. When I applied for the scholarship, my sister worked at Kaiser – the company offered the scholarship to parents of Kaiser employees. My mom is a teacher and knew about the scholarship from the California Teachers Union. Almost no one applies for these scholarships because many high school students just don’t know how to apply, and the number of people who qualify is relatively small. If your school doesn’t have a career center, your guidance counselor can help you find similar opportunities online or in your area. Most high school career centers keep an up-to-date list of scholarships, sorted by date. However, there is a simpler way that won’t require you to write more than 60 essays. Don’t get me wrong: Every scholarship application takes time and a little talent to create a compelling argument that will convince the reader to award you a scholarship. But you can make the process much more efficient and convenient by simply reviewing letters of recommendation and essays. Once you have found all possible scholarships using the above sources, you can turn to various search engines and websites to help you find scholarships. Tip: You may be tempted to start working online. Think about other people applying for the same scholarship – what will you write about? What is the simple answer to that question and how can you demystify it? When I applied, the question was, “If you could have dinner with someone, dead or alive, who would you have dinner with and why? Classic question. If the list of college scholarships is exhausted, call other high schools and ask if you can stop by and talk to them about scholarships you might qualify for. Right. What’s so unique about these things? Not really. And if you’ve fallen into the same trap as everyone else, it’s safe to say that your application doesn’t even deserve a second look. However, by turning the expectations of scholarship committees upside down, you will attract and hold their attention, allowing you to present your case well. To do this, follow the two steps described above. Talk to your friends, family, and friends of your parents to see if they know about the scholarship. There are many companies that offer scholarships – companies that employ people you know. Asking a teacher or other trusted adult to write a glowing recommendation for you is a no-brainer. But if you’ve been a good student and have developed a good relationship with your teachers, they’ll be happy to help you write a letter of recommendation. In fact, they’ll love it, because no high school student ever worries about getting scholarships. If you show a little initiative about your academic future, most guidance counselors will be happy to help. And frankly, dinner with Mandela wouldn’t be the most exciting experience for a 17-year-old student. Maybe President Clinton? It would be great to brag about it, but what would we talk about? I could have written some nonsense about Mandela or the president to that question, but it would have been the same as with any other scholarship applicant. When I was in high school, I applied to my school’s career center for 60 scholarships that earned me thousands of dollars for college.