How to Find College Scholarships

Students should find college scholarships that help them afford their tuition fees and other costs before they apply to colleges. However, a long list of college scholarships may require students to sort through hundreds of scholarships.

Usually, students will need to sort through dozens of scholarships that do not apply to them before they find the ones that best suit their needs. To limit the time it takes students to find and apply for invaluable scholarships, students are encouraged to utilize websites, apps and other sources of information.

The following sections explain how students may find the best scholarship sites and where students may go to learn more about the application process for financial aid in the form of scholarships. Though, prior to applying for college scholarships, students must be prepared and understand how to avoid scams. Therefore, students must review all the requirements of potential scholarships and reference multiple sources to ensure the scholarship is legitimate. By reading the information provided below, students can better prepare themselves for the process of applying for scholarships.

Where to Find College Scholarships

Most students begin their search for scholarships on scholarship websites such as the Federal Student Aid (FSA)’s site or other reliable sources, but students are reminded that various other resources are available to them that can provide complimentary, personalized scholarship information. For instance, college scholarship apps may be useful to some students with access to mobile internet devices. However, the FSA highly recommends the following free sources of scholarship information to students as a means of finding and securing scholarships:

  • Financial aid office. At every college, university or career school, financial aid offices are responsible for helping students find financial support via scholarships, employment, loans or grants. Because of their duties, workers in the office are often familiar with numerous scholarships throughout the country and can match students to the right scholarships.
  • School counselor. Especially in high school, school counselors can help students create financial plans to prepare for college expenses and show them how to find college scholarships by assisting with the application process.
  • Federal agencies. These agencies may direct eligible students to grants, work-study opportunities and scholarships through the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • State agencies. Agencies for higher education, special education and adult education may be able to help students find suitable grants and scholarships.
  • Local libraries store scholarship information in their reference section and may offer students unique scholarship information.
  • Community organizations. Religious organizations, foundations, civic groups and businesses may have scholarship information for students including local scholarship opportunities and sponsored scholarships.
  • Trusted professionals. Professionals such as employers may be great resources for students. Students should talk to their teachers, professors, parents and other authority figures to ask about possible scholarships.

Related Articles: Federal Student Grants

In addition to the resources listed above, students can use the college scholarship finder provided by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Almost 8,000 scholarships are listed with their deadlines and requirements, making it the best way to get scholarships online with little effort. Though, the best place to find scholarships may depend on students’ schedules and current level of study as some resources may only be available to students in certain grades or at specific times. When searching for scholarships, students should be sure to identify the following types of information, as they are essential for determining eligibility:

  • The name of the scholarship or award
  • The level of study required
  • The scholarship value
  • The deadline

Once students have identified this information and check to see if they qualify for a college scholarship, they may continue to review its regulations.

When to Start Searching for Scholarships

Students should find college scholarships before they search for potential colleges or universities to attend. Because college scholarships may have early deadlines or involved application processes, students should be prepared to apply for promising scholarships immediately. Consequently, students can use the following tips to aid in their search for scholarships:

  • Create a list of college scholarships and prioritize it. Students do not have to apply for the scholarships the find right away and, instead, may create a detailed list of scholarships that may be applicable to them. Once they are accepted to colleges, they may adjust their list as necessary.
  • Just apply. Even if students do not think they may receive a scholarship, they should apply. However, students should pay attention to application fees and avoid paying large fees for all scholarships.
  • It is never too late. While most scholarships have strict deadlines, some have no deadlines. Students are encouraged to continue searching for scholarships regardless of their enrollment status as many scholarships may pertain to freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors in undergraduate or graduate programs.

Whenever students choose to find college scholarships, they are sure to find thousands of unique and interesting scholarship opportunities.

College Scholarship Apps and Websites

Apps and websites have special features to help students find college scholarships with a few simple clicks. Types of applications designed to find scholarships for students of varying ages are listed below:

  • Scholly
  • Cappex
  • Chegg
  • Niche

Some applications may allow students to enter the total cost of their tuition to ensure they do not exceed it in scholarship funds, and other apps may help students narrow down scholarships based on their application requirements. For example, students may eliminate college scholarships that require them to successfully write an essay, meet GPA guidelines or mail print applications only. These easy-to-use apps can be accessed anywhere and enable students to read college reviews and other information about the college application process.

While scholarship websites are constantly advertised and promoted to students online, some may be more beneficial than others. A list of some of the best scholarship sites is as follows:

  • Scholarships.com
  • CollegeNet.com
  • Fastweb
  • FinAid.com
  • The College Board
  • SallieMae

These sites offer students the ability to search for scholarships based on their area of study, location and preferred scholarship amount. Additionally, students may add information such as their GPAs and email addresses to receive updates about new scholarships that may pertain to them. Although some sites allow students to apply for scholarships on the site, students should mainly use these to narrow their preferred list of scholarships before applying for scholarships.

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