Check with your state’s higher education authority to see what kind of assistance is available. Many states provide excellent scholarships and grants and often have special categories of award for women going back to school, minorities, and people with disabilities. Be sure to follow all application procedures and deadlines. Many colleges will not make up for state grants lost to students though late applications. Additionally, many states and private colleges administer need-based institutional funds that help round out financial aid awards.
If you're a good writer who is able to come up with essays on a variety of topics, a scholarship essay contest could be a natural option for you. While some scholarship essay contests will still ask you to describe those qualities mentioned above as part of the application process, even if they're not weighted heavily among the judges of that award, many more only ask that you produce a thoughtful, well-crafted essay based on a topic of that scholarship provider’s choice. Some will ask you to get political, some will challenge you to come up with workable solutions to problems facing the country, and some will ask you to describe your passion for a particular field of study or potential career. Luckily for you, even if you're struggling to get going on a topic, we have a number of resources to help you come up with a winning, effective scholarship essay .