College is expensive, and after factoring in the cost of tuition, a meal plan, parking permit, class fees, housing, and other miscellaneous expenses, it’s no wonder the student debt crisis is growing.
In order to offset the exorbitant costs of college, many students turn to scholarships as a means of funding their education. So after learning how to organize your scholarship binder, create a scholarship application routine and portfolio, and what to do after winning a scholarship, it all comes down to where to find scholarships.
Luckily, this entire post that is dedicated to the diverse set of resources you can utilize to find scholarships. In fact, I have used all of these personally, so I can vouch for each of them!
1. Financial Aid Office/College Resource Room
No matter whether you’re a high school student or a college student, your school should be the first place that you look for scholarships. Why? These scholarships are often only available to students in that school/area, which limits the competition field. In fact, scholarships with such a small competition field should always be your first priority, as they are the ones you are most likely to win.
For high school students, see whether your school has a college-resource room, or something similar. This is often where the applications for local scholarships will be kept and possibly even scholarships hosted by the school’s extracurricular activities.
If your school doesn’t have a room like this (where the applications would be located in), check with your school’s guidance counselors and website to see if there are any applications available, and where they might be located.
For college students, the locations of scholarship applications will be much more spread out. You should first meet with the scholarship/financial aid office to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and pick up an application. Afterwards, visit your school’s website for additional scholarship information; the website may list external scholarships that you didn’t hear about during your visit.
Additionally, you should also talk with your professors and academic adviser to see whether there are any scholarships offered by your major’s department.
Many students hold a job while in college, but between other necessities like food and insurance to pay for, not every penny can go towards their tuition.
To help their students out, many businesses offer scholarships or tuition reimbursement! This aid can range in value, but can go all the way up to a full-ride! If you’re looking or a job that can help you with your school costs, this is definitely something you’ll want to look into.
However, I should also note that you don’t necessarily need to be the employee to benefit from these scholarships. Some businesses extend this educational aid to their workers’ children, so you may have even more scholarship opportunities then you thought!
3. Work Union
Your workplace is not the only place to find scholarships…your work union is, too!
To find out if a scholarship is available, talk to your union representative, look at the union website, and read the union newsletters and message boards at your workplace!
Finding a scholarship announcement in a newspaper isn’t a guarantee, but it can be worth it since local scholarships have less competition.
In addition to regularly checking both their website and in-print newspaper, ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to help keep an eye out for them, as they can be overlooked very easily!
5. College Websites
In addition to checking your own college’s website for scholarships (like mentioned in #1), you should also check the websites of other local/state colleges.
Why? Many of the external scholarships they list will be available to students in the entire area/state, so you can take advantage of applying to these as well. In fact, this is something that I did and ended up winning!
6. State Website
Does your state have a financial aid or college prep website? Use it! This website will not only provide you with some great information on getting ready for college (if you’re not a college student already), but it might also give you some information on scholarships for students in your state, in addition to other financial aid resources that you may not have known about.
Pinterest can be great for planning your dream dorm room or putting together your dream outfit, but have you ever tried using it for college prep?
There are tons of great boards that can get you ready for college (you can check out mine here) and they can also help you find new scholarships and scholarship resources! Even better, Pinterest makes them so easy to organize with their Boards and Sections feature, so utilize the platform to your advantage!
8. Scholarship Search Engines
Scholarship search engines and apps are one of the most common scholarship search tools. I recommend signing up for only 2, as any more would be overkill and you would spend more time searching for them than actually applying. I personally recommend Scholly and Fastweb, but you can try a few out and then settle on the ones you like best.
When looking for a good scholarship search engine to use, look one that will sort them into groups based on odds or interests so that you can apply to the ones you have a better chance for!
9. Local Businesses
Local businesses love to support their communities and one of the ways that they do that is by offering scholarships!
To find out about whether a scholarship is available, check out their website, social media pages, or see if they’ve given any applications to your school (which is what many of them do). The best time to look for these scholarships is early spring, when they’re offering them for the upcoming school year!
10. State Funds
Another way to find scholarships is to see if any state funds are available! You may have to apply for some, while others may be automatically earned through your high school classes classes and test scores, such as through Kentucky’s KEES program and Georgia’s HOPE program. Either way, it’s important to see what funds (if any) are available, how they are earned, and if there are any requirements/restrictions on their use.
It can seem hard to find scholarships, but it doesn’t have to be! I’ve used all of these resources over the years, and they have made my search for scholarships much easier. Hopefully these resources will help, and let me know if you’ve heard of any other scholarship resources that I didn’t list here!