The more time I spend in college, the more I realize how expensive it is. The cost of supplies in my major (Interior Design) is particularly pricey, and when added to what I’m being charged in tuition, meal plans, parking, and other fees, it’s enough to make me wish that I had taken a gap year to prepare myself financially.
In order to offset the exorbitant costs of college, I have begun to rely on scholarships as my means of funding my education, and although they are a very time-consuming venture, I’m glad I’ve spent as much time on them as I have. Over time, I have found an efficient way to organize my scholarship binder, created a scholarship application routine and portfolio, and have even mastered what to do after winning the scholarship. In fact, these have become some of my most popular posts.
Then something happened: when I was looking back on these, I realized that I never explained where I find my scholarships; at least, not in full. Oops.
Better late than never, I suppose, and that’s why I have created an 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 as a mean of locating scholarships for me to apply to, so I can vouch for each of them!
Your school should always be the first place that you look for scholarships, no matter whether you are a high school student or a college student. There are often scholarships limited to students attending a certain school, which limits the competition field by quite a lot. In fact, scholarships with such a small competition field should always be your first priority, because those are the ones you are most likely to win.
At my high school, we had a room dedicated completely for college resources, which was filled with pamphlets and booklets about different colleges across the United States, standardized test prep resources, and (most importantly) applications for scholarships being given out by local businesses. Even if your school doesn’t have a room like this that the applications would be located in, it’s important to 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 then go to your school’s website. Sometimes, the website will list external scholarships that you may not even hear about during your visit at the scholarship office.
Additionally, you should also talk with your professors and academic adviser to see whether there are any scholarships offered by your major’s department.
One common method of paying for college is by working. After all, many students have jobs, but when students also have necessities like insurance and food to pay for, we know that not every penny can go towards a student’s college tuition.
In order to help their student workers out, many businesses offer scholarships or tuition reimbursement! This aid can range in value, from small amounts 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 out for.
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 opportunities for college funding 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 a local scholarship has less competition.
For this one, ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to help keep an eye out for these announcements with you, as they can be overlooked very easily!
5. College Websites
The other place to find scholarships is through local/state college’s websites, even if it’s not the school you’re attending. This is because many of the external scholarships that they may list will also be available to you, even if your college doesn’t announce it! In fact, looking at another school’s scholarship website is where I found a scholarship that I ended up winning, even though I never heard from my own school about it!
6. State Website
As a high schooler, you may have been given the link to your state’s college prep website (if your state had one), so now is the time to use it! This website will not only provide you with some great information on getting ready for college (if you are not a college student already), but it might also give you some information on scholarships eligible for students in your state, as well as some other financial aid resources!
I’ll admit it: I love Pinterest. I’ve used Pinterest from everything from bucket lists to college prep, and finding scholarships and scholarship resources is no exception. In fact, I have found several great scholarship resources that I had never heard of before until I found them on Pinterest. That being said, Pinterest is a great resource to use to find scholarships for you!
8. Scholarship Search Engines
One of the most common methods to find scholarships is through scholarship search engines and apps. There are lots of these out there, and you may want to sign up for a few to see which one you like best, as you may find some easier to use than others.
I recommend only using 1-2 on a regular basis, as any more than that is a bit overkill; you would be spending more time searching for eligible scholarships than you would actually applying to them.
Additionally, when looking for a good scholarship search engine to use, it’s best to find one that will sort them into groups based on odds or interest in the competition. My personal favorites are Scholly and Fastweb!
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. 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.
Sometimes 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, and I’ve even been awarded a few that I wouldn’t have known about by using other resources. Hopefully these resources will help, and let me know if you’ve heard of any other scholarship resources that I didn’t list here!