By Unigo If you have a strong academic record, play a sport or instrument, or otherwise bring something to the collegiate table, you may be competitive for scholarships devoted to helping Hispanic and Latino students attend school. (This means, of course, that you must also be Hispanic or Latino!) Schools have initiatives to diversify classrooms and campuses, and organizations now make efforts to make college education more accessible to Hispanics and Latinos, meaning scholarships of various amounts are at your fingertips. Scholarship awards are offered to applicants by a variety of sources: governmental agencies, memorial and legacy foundations, professional and social associations, nonprofits, schools, and others; and they’re available to high school graduates, undergraduate students, and graduate students. How Can I Qualify for a Latino or Hispanic Scholarship? The eligibility requirements vary across the spectrum of Latino and Hispanic scholarships. First and foremost, you must meet the qualifications of being Latino or Hispanic outlined by the awarding agency. In some cases, you might need to have immigrated from a certain country or region; in others, you may need to be a first generation American, or someone who descended from parents from a certain country or region; in yet other cases, you may simply need to be ancestors of people from a particular country or region. It simply depends. Otherwise, here are some potential qualifying factors: You are the first in your family to pursue a college education. You’re interested in a specific field of study, such as a STEM field, medicine, or law. You have a particular talent of interest to a school—the ability to play a musical instrument or sport, for example. You’re multi-lingual. Note that in all of the cases mentioned above, you’ll also need to demonstrate academic promise. Your GPA, test scores, extracurricular activities, and other markers of maturity and success may impact your competitiveness. Securing Award Money Is a Full-Time Job Applying for scholarships is a competitive process. For every one you apply to, imagine there are potentially hundreds (or thousands) of other equally qualified students applying for the same one. This means that when filling out your application, you’ll need to capture what makes you unique. You’ll also need to apply for lots of scholarships. Devote as much time as you can to this process, because doing so now may mean that you’ll have to work less (for wages!) later. And, obviously, the more scholarships you apply for, the more chance you have of receiving one or some. Honor the Scholarship Cycle Scholarship money is typically offered in cycles, meaning that you’ll need to apply by deadlines for each one. As you search for scholarships, note which ones are due soonest and finish those first, even if they’re for smaller amounts of money. Then tackle the ones with later due dates Always remember: Time moves fast and due dates can easily creep up on you! (Try not to procrastinate!). Finally, know that many scholarships are offered year after year. Plan on applying for scholarships throughout your academic career.