How to Effectively Find Scholarships
Last updated December 2, 2022
Did you know that there are millions - yes, millions - of dollars out there in scholarships? With so many scholarships out there, the key is knowing where and how exactly to find high-quality ones that match your interests, experience, and goals. Here’s how to effectively find and apply for scholarships to get that extra 💰 to pay for college!
Think about your interests, background, and goal
Because there are so many scholarships out there, it’s likely that many will align with your interests, background, and goals. Before you start your search, think about what matters to you. What do you want to study in college? What causes do you believe in? What are your academic and career goals? No matter your answer, there’s a scholarship out there for you! Knowing what you’re passionate about will make your scholarship search easier - you can search from the heart and weed out scholarships that don’t align with who you are.
Use trustworthy scholarship websites and databases
There are a ton of trustworthy scholarship websites and databases out there, but unfortunately, many share or sell student data (names, emails, addresses) to third parties. To make your scholarship search easier and safer, we made a list of the best scholarship websites for finding money, categorized into those that don’t sell data, those that do, and those that might if you don’t specifically request that they don’t. We recommend starting your scholarship search on one of these websites to find legitimate scholarships.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when applying for scholarships:
- Many scholarships will ask for a lot of the same information so having a brag sheet and personal statement is a great jumpstart to applying for scholarships. You will be able to recycle some of your personal statements to fit the essay questions on a scholarship application.
- Get letters of recommendations early in the school year, before all your classmates put in requests! Many scholarships will ask for a letter of recommendation, so asking a core content teacher (like math or English) to write a letter that you can reuse for multiple applications will make the application process seamless. Club advisors, supervisors, teachers, counselors, mentors are also great people to ask for a second letter of recommendation.
- You should never be asked to pay to apply for a scholarship. If you’re asked to submit payment when applying for a scholarship, don’t apply to it! It’s a scam.
- Be mindful of sharing sensitive information with scholarship organizations. While they do need some information from you (like whether or not you’ve filed your FAFSA or where you live), don’t apply for a scholarship if they ask for information that you feel uncomfortable sharing, like citizenship/DACA status, sexual orientation, etc. If you’re not sure, review the application with your school counselor to ensure the scholarship is credible.
- Always check to see if an organization or company giving scholarships list previous winners of the scholarship on their website. If you can’t find this information easily when applying to their scholarship, it’s not worth applying to.
Stay on top of deadlines and application requirements
If you’ve found multiple scholarships you’re interested in applying for, you might be wondering how to stay organized with different application requirements, essays, and due dates. That’s where we can help! We created a free scholarship application requirements tracker, both on Google Docs and Sheets, to help you stay organized during your scholarship search. Apply early! Staying on top of your deadlines will help you ensure you submit quality applications.
While you can find great national scholarships on an online database, don’t sleep on local scholarships! There might be some community foundations, organizations, or churches in your area that give scholarships to students. To find these scholarships, research on your city or county’s website to find these organizations, or check in with your school counselor. While local scholarships might offer less money than bigger name scholarships, they still matter! Whether it’s $500 or $20,000 - the more money you’re able to receive for college, the better!
Use Get Schooled’s free scholarship resources
Our scholarship lists
We know applying to scholarships can be a long, stressful process - but we’re here to help! Check out our scholarship lists - they’re categorized by interest, dollar amount, and even state - to connect you to even more college money. We thoroughly vet the scholarships we include on these lists, and update them regularly to ensure that you’re receiving the best scholarship information possible.
Need someone to review your scholarship application essay? We’re here for you! Submit it to us for free review here - we’ll have your essay back to you within a week with personalized, actionable feedback.
Remember: applying for scholarships is a marathon
Most scholarships offer fewer awards than the amount of qualified applicants they get, so rejection is unfortunately a part of the process. Don’t be discouraged! Because there are so many scholarships out there, you can find great ones that you have a solid chance of receiving! Applying to scholarships is a marathon, and the more you apply to, the higher your chances are of receiving money for college.
We’re here to help you with all things scholarships! Text #Scholarships to 33-55-77 to speak with one of our virtual college advisors about all things scholarships, college applications, and more.