Contrary to popular belief, college scholarships are readily available. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly half of all students attending private colleges and one-fifth of students at a public college receive scholarships. The numbers don’t lie, but the key to winning available scholarships is to think strategically about why colleges offer students money. The list of colleges you choose to apply to is the most effective tool at your disposal to maximize your chances of earning a college scholarship. Make sure you are considering colleges across the spectrum and not just applying to all “the usual suspects” that your friends are applying to. Schools may not have much incentive to award scholarship dollars to you if they see a lot of applicants just like you.