We have talked a lot about how to apply for college scholarships, so now it is time to think about where to find them in the first place. Right now, some of you are probably thinking to yourself, “I have looked everywhere and I just can’t find any scholarships!” Really, are you sure you have looked everywhere? It might seem like you have really tried, but it’s possible you might have left a few stones unturned.
While it might feel like you are spinning your wheels in an unproductive pursuit, the problem may be rooted in your basic approach to searching for scholarships. Students need to have an organized strategy which allows them to efficiently apply to scholarships they have a realistic chance of receiving. In some cases, it is also a numbers game in that your odds of success increase with the number of scholarship applications. To help narrow down the elusive search, here are some great starting points:
- Look at scholarships last year’s class won: Take a lesson from your school colleagues and pull out a copy of last year’s graduation program. Look at the scholarships your classmates won, and think about whether they fit your abilities. If you know the student, ask what they put into the application that might have put them over the top.
- Think about your interests: Many organizations want to encourage students interested in their particular field, so they will offer scholarships based on that pursuit. List out what your interests are, and then search for scholarships with that keyword. You might be surprised at what you find. There are scholarships for everything from gamers and athletes to artists and history buffs.
- Have others help you look: It can be hard to complete the scholarship search on your own. Make it easier and ask parents, family, friends and neighbors to keep an eye out for you as well. They might hear of local, charitable, business or trade association scholarships you would never find out about otherwise.
- Online resources: There are plenty of online resources which can help in the scholarship search. Some will even offer free searches of their database. You will still need to click through to individual pages to confirm your eligibility and check their application deadlines, but it might not be a bad place to start.
The truth is that you will never find scholarships if you do not look for them, so set aside time every week for this specific purpose. You can search early in your high school career for those you want to apply to as you get closer to college, and also look for those that want you to already be in college. Once you’ve found a target list, start applying!
Another great way to start the scholarship search is with the three-month CFAA Scholarship Program. We assess your unique background and capabilities, point out up to 60 potential scholarship opportunities that fit your abilities, and organize your application approach.