College scholarships are everywhere, and they're not just for traditional students. The key is knowing where to look to find the right awards for you.
Unfortunately, no one website, book, or company has a list of every scholarship available. With that said, students who are interested in winning scholarships must be willing to try different strategies and search in many places to find an award for which they are eligible.
To help you do that, we put together a list of 20 strategies you can use to find college scholarships. This list is far from exhaustive, so feel free to get creative and try other scholarship search strategies not listed here.
1. Start With A Scholarship Search Engine
Create an account and enter your academic information with a few online scholarship search engines, such as Scholarships.com, Cappex, and The College Board. These tools are the easiest way for most people to find scholarships, as long as you use them the right way.
2. Check In With Your Financial Office
Ask your college financial aid adviser for any information on institutional and private scholarships.
3. Check The Financial Aid Websites Of Other Local Colleges And Universities
Often, colleges will post a list of "outside scholarship" opportunities on their website that may include scholarship opportunities that your college may have overlooked.
4. Try Searching For An Internship
Internships and fellowships often provide scholarship awards or stipends to selected students.
5. Ask Around At Your Current Job
Employers often award scholarships to their employees or children of their employees.
6. Use Google
Search online for scholarships, and narrow your results with targeted keywords, such as "Undergraduate scholarship in [your state] .pdf," "[enter your major] scholarship 2015," and "Download here scholarship application."
7. Don't Pass Up Missed Deadlines
When you find a scholarship that you like, save its information (name, website, deadline, amount)—even if the deadline has passed. Many awards renew each year, so writing down a scholarship’s details will help you remember to apply for it next year.
8. Don't Skip Future Deadlines
Save scholarships that you will be eligible for in the future. For example, freshman students should save scholarships that are open to sophomores and juniors.
9. Look For Surprising Matches
Everyone is eligible for a scholarship—you just may not realize why. Use our eligibility checklist to see what you qualify for.
10. Look For Local Opportunities
Check with your grocery store, house of worship, city government, and other organizations to see if they offer local scholarships. Local youth fairs and public recreation events may offer scholarships to local college students too.
11. Join A Professional Association
Some professional organizations offer scholarships exclusively to their student members. Try joining an organization related to your future career or current major. For example, future writers could join an organization for journalists.
12. Broaden Your Search Outside Of Your State
Out-of-state college students can search for scholarships offered to students in their home state as well as their college state.
13. Look For Scholarship Foundation Pages On Facebook
Many local scholarship organizations don't set up websites for their awards, but they do have Facebook pages.
14. Avoid Common Scholarship Search Mistakes
If you're struggling to find a scholarship, it may be because you're falling into some common traps: Don't rule yourself out too quickly, feel discouraged, or limit your scholarship search to just a few sources.
15. Search For Scholarships Based On General Eligibility Characteristics
Sometimes, making your search criteria too narrow can cause you to miss scholarships. So, keep things broad too. Search for scholarships for women, scholarships for the blind, scholarships for engineering majors, etc.
16. Go Greek!
College sororities and fraternities often award scholarships to non-members as well as members. Check with these organizations on campus for scholarship opportunities.
17. Participate In Extracurricular Activities
Honor societies, sports teams, and other clubs on campus often offer scholarships.
18. Know What Makes You Eligible
For example, international students and undocumented students should look for scholarships that are available to non-U.S citizens.
19. Research Your Family's Military Service
If you, your parents/guardians, or your grandparents have participated in the United States Armed Forces (Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard), search for scholarships for military students.