Laura Berlinsky-Schine 4 min read Scholarships

Best Places to Find College Scholarships

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Given the high ticket price of attending top colleges, it’s a smart idea to look into securing scholarships to help pay for your education. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay these awards back.

 

This post will share strategies for finding and applying for scholarships. Hopefully this will be a good place for you to start your scholarship hunt!

 

Types of Scholarships

 

The two main categories of scholarships are need-based and merit-based. Need-based scholarships are granted based on the student’s financial means. Sometimes, they’re awarded automatically as part of a financial aid package.

 

Merit-based scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded because of the student’s accomplishments and achievements — academic, athletic, artistic, or otherwise. They don’t depend on the student’s financial situation. 

 

When you’re searching for a scholarship, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here’s your complete guide to the best places to look, plus tips on applying for and securing an award.

 

Strategies for Finding College Scholarships

 

Ask your network.

 

Networking will serve you well in many aspects of your life, from your education to your career. Start your scholarship search by asking teachers, guidance counselors, and older students if they have resources or know of scholarships. Don’t limit your conversations to school, either. Some businesses and organizations grant scholarships, so be sure to check with family, friends, and neighbors, as well.

 

Tap into your niches.

 

Many scholarships are slated for specific communities — ethnicities, career interests, religious affiliations, gender identities, and so on. Often, students have an easier time winning these awards because they’re competing against a much smaller pool of candidates. So, when you’re looking for scholarships, make sure you look into resources available to the communities with which you identify.

 

Look online.

 

Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to find scholarships online, as long as you’re specific in your searches. The number of options can be overwhelming and finding a scholarship you would actually qualify for is challenging. That’s why we’ve created a list of websites to start your search. 

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Where to Find College Scholarships

 

CollegeVine

 

Did you know we offer scholarships to students who create a free CollegeVine account? These awards of up to $500 are open to high school students every week! Once you’ve signed up, increase your odds of winning by creating a school list, trying out our financial aid tool, or checking out our peer essay review platform.

 

CollegeVine has also compiled lists of best scholarships for specific groups. Take a look below if any of these apply to you:

 

 

We also have a whole blog category dedicated to scholarships where you can find more opportunities.

 

College Board

 

The College Board is well known as the administrator of the SAT and AP program, but it also provides plenty of resources to students. Scholarships, along with financial aid resources and internships, total almost $6 billion across thousands of opportunities. There are also filters available to help you narrow down your search.

 

Scholarships.com

 

As you can tell from the name, this site is all about scholarships, with more than 3.7 million college scholarships and grants totaling roughly $19 billion. Users can browse lists of the site’s most popular awards, with themes like major, artistic ability, ethnicity, military affiliation, and more, or you can search for specific opportunities.

 

Fastweb

 

One of the most famous scholarship and financial aid databases, Fastweb boasts a collection of more than 1.5 million awards. You’ll find plenty of opportunities based on criteria like your interests and skills, and you’ll have access to resources and financial aid guidance. Users can also make lists to help them organize their scholarship search.

 

Strategies for Applying to Scholarships

 

So, how do you increase your chances of winning scholarships to help you pay for college? Try these strategies.

 

Cast a wide net.

 

True, some scholarship applications take a fair amount of time and effort. But this is definitely a case where it will translate into results. There’s no limit to how many scholarships you can apply for (although the awards may impact your financial aid package), so it’s a good idea to apply for as many as you can while still giving them each enough care and attention.

 

Start early.

 

You don’t have to wait until senior year to start applying. In fact, you shouldn’t. Some scholarships have earlier deadlines, even in junior year or before. Plus, you won’t have as much time to complete scholarship applications when you’re also working on college applications, and you’ll be less stressed the earlier you do it.

 

Gear your application to your audience.

 

If you’ve ever applied for a job or internship, you know that you have to alter your resume and cover letter depending on the specific position. The same goes for college applications and scholarship applications. While it’s not out of the question that you’ll be able to repurpose essays, you should aim to customize each application as much as possible to the topic or administering organization.

 

Proofread.

 

Proofread. Proofread again. Ask someone else to give it a once over, too. This takes time, so be sure you plan for many rounds of revisions. 

 

Stay organized.

 

Ensure you stay on top of deadlines and requirements for different scholarships by creating a system for organizing applications. It’s even as easy as creating an Excel doc or Google spreadsheet or setting up alerts on your phone. This will help you avoid missing deadlines or failing to send necessary materials.

 

Scholarships can help ease the burden of paying for college and are an important resource you shouldn’t overlook. For more guidance on winning these awards, check out CollegeVine’s resources.

 

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.