The Basics: Scholarship Applications
Starting the scholarship process can be overwhelming for students! Here, we’ve organized our tips into four simple steps to get students started on their application process, with downloadable resources for students, parents, and educators.
1. Visit the school counselor.
Your high school’s top resource for students managing their college finances is the college and career counselor or adviser. Not only will they be able to walk you through the rest of these tips, they will likely have information on regional and school-specific scholarships, such as the Rotary Club, churches, banks, and others that may be hard to find on scholarship websites.
2. Use free resources available to students.
There are all sorts of free websites that help you sort through and find thousands of scholarships. (Our friends at PrepScholar have put together a whole list with their own opinions on pros and cons!) Here are just a few of our favorites:
- The College Board provides a great scholarship search function that helps you draw up personalized results.
Cappex is a handy resource of quality scholarships, and it allows you to save scholarships as “will apply” to reach them later on.
- CareerOneStop is the scholarship site put together by the US government, with over 7,500 scholarships listed.
3. Think outside the box.
Scholarships are available for all sorts of things: your interests, your background, your parents’ field of work, and much more. Some don’t even require a certain GPA or test score, such as those listed on CollegeXpress’s 60 of the Weirdest College Scholarships. Take a look at this handy chart for ideas on what sorts of scholarship categories you can search for online. (PDF for download)
4. Start sending off those applications!
Be sure to request any transcripts or letters of recommendation ahead of the deadline so you can get them in on time. This handy chart can help walk you through the steps to hit Submit on your scholarship applications! (PDF for download)