It’s spring, which means scholarship season is upon us. Sure, you may be groaning with the thought of more applications to come after your actual college applications, but working hard on scholarship applications can save you thousands of dollars.

There are a number of different sites, specific scholarships, and resources to help you get on the right track for your scholarships. This post is divided into four sections: Helpful Scholarship Sites, How to Search for Scholarships, Partial List of Popular Scholarships and Sponsors, and Other Resources & Tips. With all these resources at your fingertips, your scholarship search will be a breeze!

Helpful Scholarship Sites:

  • Cappex.com –This site has more than $11 billion in scholarships, and it provides a personalized set of scholarships for students. All you have to do is create a free account.
  • finaid.org/scholarships/ — This website offers students insightful advice, links, and other resources to help students find the scholarships that will maximize their monetary gain.
  • fastweb.org — Similar to cappex.com, this site provides over $3 billion in scholarships and suggests scholarships to you based on your profile.
  • {Your school’s website} — Many school websites offer students an informative page or even an Excel document of popular scholarships, so be sure to check your school’s site.

How to Search for Scholarships:

  • List all your qualities, academic activities, extracurricular activities, and interests.—For example, say the following qualities apply to you: “Loves to run, cares about the environment, A+ in English class, accomplished debater.” In this case, it’d help to look up athletic or running scholarships; environmental projects, competitions, or essay applications; essay competitions; debate competitions; and, overall, more well-known scholarships that apply to well-rounded and accomplished students in general. Don’t be afraid to get a little silly with your profile as well, since some scholarships out there are a little unique—some even award scholarships based on height.
  • Conduct a search online and at your school.—Find the scholarships that are pertinent to the list you created in step 1 (and remember that you can constantly revise this list, adding to or deleting from it). Be exhaustive in your search—check out your school website, your college resource center, online through a search engine, etc. Write all the scholarships down that you’ve found, or save them as bookmarks on your computer.
  • Once you’ve found scholarships that are relevant to your interests, begin to narrow them down. Take the time to sit down and narrow down the scholarships that you find. Look to see which scholarships’ criteria you fit. If there’s one you don’t qualify for, scratch that scholarship from your list and continue onto the next one you’ve found.
  • Record deadlines and browse through the application processes. Make sure you’ve recorded the deadlines of the scholarships you’re planning on applying to. It may be helpful to create an Excel document so that you may organize the scholarships by type, date, and other criteria. Be especially wary of deadlines if you may need to get recommendations for these particular scholarships.
  • The previous bullet brings us into the next point: Take a look at all the components that are required in each scholarship. This may be anything from two essays and a transcript to just a quick online form. When considering deadlines, also remember that some applications may need to be mailed in or postmarked by a certain date. Be sure to factor this into your deadline notes.
  • Apply! Fill out any applications, essays, or online fields you need to complete. Ask your teachers for recommendations if you need them. The same goes for your high school transcript—be sure to get in contact with your registrar’s office with time to spare. You may need to ask for in advance to ensure you meet any deadlines, as some schools take more time to process and deliver transcripts.

Partial List of Popular Scholarships and Sponsors:

Here is a place to begin your scholarship search, though it is by no means complete. These are merely popular starting points to look for your scholarships, and they can help lead you in the right direction or broaden your knowledge of what’s out there. Check out these scholarships and sponsors! Following each scholarship is its amount, its purpose, and some general requirements; a number of these are taken straight from the sites of the scholarships. Keep in mind that many of these are awarded to students of a variety of interests, though the criteria vary. Here are 20 popular scholarships, listed in no particular order:

  • Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarships—Varying amounts. Honors students with financial need who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement. Must be a high school senior.
  • Coca-Cola Scholars Program—150 Coca-Cola Scholars each receive $20,000. Recognizes students for their leadership and commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. Must be a high school senior with a 3.00 GPA or above; may not be related to a Coca-Cola employee.
  • Dell Scholars Program—300 Scholars receive $20,000 each. Recognizes students for their determination to succeed rather than just academic record and test scores; “Grit, Potential, and Ambition” are recognized. Must be attending an approved college; must have a 2.4 GPA or above; must be eligible to receive a federal Pell grant.
  • Nordstrom Scholarship—Up to $10,000. Recognizes overall student achievement. Must be a high school junior; must live and attend high school in a participating state; must have participated in volunteering or community services; must have at least a 2.7 GPA.
  • Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology—$1,000 to $100,000. Honors students for their accomplishments in math and science—for changing the world for the better. Must be a U.S. citizen and a senior in high school.
  • Bank of America Joe Martin Scholarship—Up to $10,000 ($2,500 for one year with possible 3-year renewal). Awarded based on financial need, academic achievement, leadership, character, and contributions to school and community. Must be a dependent of associates who have been employed by Bank of America for at least one year.
  • Ayn Rand essay contests—Up to $20,000. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of the Ayn Rand work in question. Must not be a past winner or related to employee of the Ayn Rand Institute.
  • Prudential Spirit of Community Awards—Up to $6,000 plus a $5,000 to an organization of your choice. Honors students exclusively on the basis of volunteer community service. Must have engaged in a volunteer activity during the 12 months prior to application.
  • Intel Science Talent Search—Up to $150,000. Honors exceptional students for their scientific research and their potential as future leaders in the scientific community. Must be a high school senior.
  • Gates Millennium Scholars—Enough to fund the college education of 20,000 high-achieving minority students. Honors students who have future potential as leaders of America. Must be a minority with a minimum 3.3 GPA.
  • Poetry Out Loud Scholarship Contest—Up to $500 for nearly 400,000 students representing nearly 10,000 schools. Students are judged on recitation of appropriate poems meeting certain criteria. Open to high school students.
  • org scholarships—Amount varies, often anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Purpose varies based on scholarship; scholarships are seasonal. Student requirements vary based on scholarship.
  • Google Scholarships—Amount varies, often anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. Google education and scholarship programs aim to inspire and help students become future leaders in computing and technology by breaking down the barriers that prevent them from entering these fields. Student requirements vary based on scholarship.
  • National Merit Scholarships—Up to $2,500 (for 2,500 students). Recognizes high-achieving students. Must take the PSAT/NMSQT no later than junior year; must be a U.S. citizen or apply to be a U.S. citizen.
  • Walmart Dependent Scholarships—$13,000. Scholarships are based on academics and financial aid. Must be a dependent of a Walmart employee who is active and has been for at least 6 consecutive months; must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.
  • Best Buy Scholarship Program—Average award is $1,000 to 1,200 students. Honors academic achievement, volunteerism efforts, and work experience. Must be a high school student with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) Foundation Student of Integrity Award Scholarships—$2,000 each to 12 students. Recognize students that personify values, leadership, and integrity. Must be a high school senior residing in the geographic area served by the BBB, which includes the following: Metro Omaha/Southwest Iowa, metro Lincoln/Greater Nebraska, South Dakota, and The Kansas Plains.
  • Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program—Average award is about $20,000 to about 100 students in addition to an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. Recognizes students who have overcome difficult life obstacles and are in financial need. Must be a high school senior; must be a U.S. citizen; must have minimum 2.0 GPA.
  • United Cerebral Palsy Association—$1,000 to $2,500 to 11 students. Awarded based on financial need and overall achievement. Must have a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy; must be a California resident.
  • Moody’s Mega Math Challenge (M3 Challenge)—$5,000 to $20,000 per team of 3-5 junior and/or senior students. Honors teams that have the best solution to the designated problem. Must be a junior or senior in high school; only 2 teams per high school may register.

Other Resources & Tips:

  • Use Scholly and other scholarship apps. Many students forget that in this age of technology, we have more resources available at our fingertips than ever. One such example is Scholly, a popular scholarship search app that can help pinpoint which scholarships apply to your characteristics. For students who are willing, the app costs $2.99 and will help you round out your search. A host of other apps are out there as well, some free as well.
  • Don’t forget to visit your school’s college resource center! We cannot stress enough how often this resource is overlooked. The college resource centers at many high schools provide detailed lists of scholarships, announcements for upcoming scholarships, and personalized help with a counselor. In fact, some students learn here about the majority of scholarships they apply to.
  • Don’t forget about local scholarships! Your high school, community, or state may provide special scholarships for its students. There are many state-specific scholarships that may ask you to compete among students in your area, just as there are many school scholarships that may be in remembrance of a specific alumnus.
  • Remember that not all scholarships are solely achievement-based. Are you looking at the kids in your graduating class and wondering, “How am I supposed to win any kind of scholarship here?” Fear not, because a number of scholarships are offered on the basis of less competitive criteria or even on factors like ambidexterity! It’s important to just search out these scholarships that match a unique quality of yours.
  • Don’t be afraid to apply to a few scholarships that you have doubts about winning…Oftentimes, we at Admissions Hero encounter students who win scholarships despite they themselves thinking that they had no chance. Remember that sponsors for scholarships may be looking for something slightly different every year, and you may be just what they’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and apply to a scholarship you have some doubts about winning.
  • …Unless, of course, you could make better use of your time applying to a lengthier application that you have a better shot at.) Sometimes, there are some scholarships that are just not worth applying to. Trust your gut—if a scholarship is too lengthy and your chances of winning appear low from every angle, or if you’re not sure if you meet the criteria, then it may be better to move onto your next application.
  • Beware of scholarship scams. If you’re browsing for scholarships and come across a scholarship search site asking for money, close your tab or browser. Sites like these are often scams, and you may end up accomplishing the complete opposite of what you’d intended to do; you’ll be tricked out of money instead of gaining funds.
  • Remember that scholarships may not ultimately lower your tuition amount. In fact, most of the Ivy League institutions only allow scholarships to cover the cost of student contribution; once that is covered, the amount of financial grant aid you receive will be reduced by the value of the scholarship. Remember, these schools focus on need-based financial aid. Even so, winning a scholarship can be something that you may choose to add your resume as something indicative of your interests or competence in a certain area.

 

And there you have it, a few suggestions and pointers to get you along your scholarship path. Look everywhere you can for scholarships, as it will save you some money in the long-run. You can do this—just one last round of (scholarship) applications to push through. We wish you luck!

 

 

Ruth Xing

Ruth Xing

Applications Manager at CollegeVine
Ruth is a student at Cornell University studying Math, English, and Music. At CollegeVine, she works primarily as Applications Manager and enjoys helping students achieve their unique ideas of success.
Ruth Xing