ST. LOUIS — As the youngest of six children, Christopher Vuturo knew he needed some serious financial help with college. So he started exploring every possible avenue.
When the Kentucky high-schooler's scholarship and financial-aid offers were tallied up, they totaled $885,782. Of course, he couldn't use it all at one school.
"The actual amount of money that you get to use at any one place is a fraction of the total," says Mr. Vuturo, who chose to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and has now written a book about applying for scholarships.
When he was in high school, he discovered several scholarship directories in bookstores. But he found nothing about how to actually apply for scholarships.
So "The Scholarship Advisor," which will be published next month by Random House, is a "how to" book of advice for students and a directory of more than 500,000 scholarships.
"When people go to look for scholarships, they often think their grades aren't good enough or they aren't a great enough athlete," Vuturo says. "That's not necessarily the most important thing."
There are plenty of scholarships out there for "average" people, Vuturo says. What students need is a "process" to help identify the scholarships they are eligible for and help maximize their ability to earn them.
While there was very little information about scholarships when Vuturo was in high school about six years ago, things are different today. "It's gone from being too little information when there were just a few books on scholarships to being too much information through the Internet," he says.
Vuturo advises students not to use online services that charge a fee for doing scholarship searches. He used one himself as a high-schooler and says: "The list of scholarships they sent back was basically the same I generated on my own through the books."
He calls the Internet a "great resource tool" as long as it's free. "It's a lot like panning for gold," Vuturo says.
"There's often a lot of dirt you have to sort through to find a few nuggets," he says, "But if you get that, you've helped yourself out."