By tamaraMany people assume that only the best and the brightest students in high school walk away with free money for college. While many students who rank at the top of the class do qualify and receive scholarships, there are still scholarships out there for those who may not exactly have the same academic profile as the class valedictorian. Check out the various free online scholarship resources, such as ScholarshipExperts.com, to see if any of the following scholarships may be available for you. Merit Scholarships This is the most common type of scholarship offered by colleges. This free college money is awarded based upon your academic standing, classroom accomplishments and/or grade point average. However, this does not necessarily mean you have to hold a 4.0 G.P.A. to qualify. There are often merit awards for those earning a 3.0 and higher, or for those majoring in specific fields of study. Talent Scholarships Do you sing or play an instrument? Are you a skilled painter or poet? Do you shine on the field or dazzle on the court? There are a variety of talent awards and grants available through colleges and private scholarship programs. Many talent scholarships require the submission of a portfolio, or include an audition, but if you have a passion for athletics, music, art or literature, this may be your time to shine. All those years of practice may translate into free college money. Diversity Scholarships There are several scholarship programs available for students from diverse backgrounds. Whether you are from a minority ethnic group, identify yourself as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered, or have a learning difference, chances are good that there’s a college scholarship program out there that matches your affiliation, background or lifestyle. To find diversity scholarships, start with the financial aid offices at the colleges you are considering, and search online as well. Other Scholarships You may not be the class valedictorian, or have a special talent, but that does not leave you empty-handed. There are many other college scholarships available. Students have received free money for college because they are left-handed or speak Vulcan. In addition to the unusual awards, there are many programs for students who love to read and write. If you already enjoy a good book every now and then, why not incorporate that love of reading into a great scholarship essay and earn some free money for college? For students who donate time volunteering, there are hundreds of community service scholarships at the local, state and national levels, as well. So, no more excuses about why you can’t find or don’t qualify for free college money. Scholarships are out there, and they are awarded based on a wide variety of eligibility factors. Put forth a little effort and start your search. The Internet is a great resource for several free scholarship tools and scholarship programs, but you can’t win if you don’t apply. Get started with your scholarship search today!