The Best Scholarship Search Sites, Books, and More

by
Freelance Writer

Wondering where you can find college scholarships? Well, lucky for you, there are tons of resources with literally billions of dollars in awards out there. Sure, finding and winning those scholarships will take some work. But don’t worry—you’ve got this. And these scholarship sites, books, and other resources will help.

Scholarship search sites

You’re probably going to do most (if not all) of your scholarship searching online. Use these sites—and, yes, use more than one. Scholarship databases can vary a lot from site to site!

  • College Board. AKA Big Future. Ah, the people who brought you the SAT, PSAT, AP tests, and the most popular college search tool (even we can admit that) can hook you up with scholarships too! They conduct their own scholarship survey, and they’ve collected $6 billion in awards from 2,200 scholarship providers.
  • CollegeXpress. A great place to start your scholarship search is the site you’re on. Sure, we’re a little biased, but CollegeXpress has $7 billion in scholarships. And all you have to do is enter a little bit of info to get a list of awards that fit you. (Plus, you can enter our $10,000 scholarship giveaway just for registering—for free!)
  • Fastweb. Once you sign up with this free site, you can access info on scholarships worth more than $3.4 billion. The site allows you to develop matches between your own interests and abilities and possibilities drawn from 1.5 million scholarships. Along with guidelines and application details, there are specially featured scholarships, application tips and even helpful videos.
  • Peterson's. Peterson’s has a simple and straightforward scholarship search tool, with links to 5,000 scholarship providers and 1.5 million awards. These include scholarships, grants, fellowships, sweepstakes/prizes, and even some favorable loans. They also have a bunch of easy-to-win featured awards.
  • Scholarships.com. It may come as no surprise that the scholarship search service that managed to nab the best site name also happens to be on top of the scholarship search game. They have 3.7 million awards totaling around $19 billion. That’s billion with a B. Dang.
  • StudentScholarships.org. Along with providing scholarship management services for companies, the site maintains an extensive database of scholarship opportunities, which anyone can search for free. You can also sign up for updates on new awards that become available during the year.
  • And if these aren’t enough, other scholarship search sites worth checking out include Cappex, CollegeNET, Scholarship Monkey, and Unigo.

Scholarship guide books

While you can’t beat the convenience of scholarship search websites, printed directories can also be great for browsing, getting ideas, and making notes. Several publishers produce annual editions offering 600–800 pages packed with scholarship listings. These are some of the best for 2017:

  • The Ultimate Scholarship Book (published by SuperCollege). The 2017 edition of this guide somehow managed to squeeze in 1.5 million scholarship profiles. (Of course, the book is massive, but still.) The awards are organized by pretty standard scholarship search criteria: majors and academics, jobs, artistic talent, sports, religion, ethnicity, and more. They also offer some helpful advice for searching and applying to awards.
  • Scholarships, Grants & Prizes (published by Peterson's). This collection of “privately funded awards” provides details on hundreds of scholarships. They too are categorized by common search criteria, like academics, career interests, athletic and other talents, military experience, and more. They also have a “quick-reference chart” with awards over $2,000, as well as general scholarship search advice.
  • Scholarship Handbook (published by College Board). With “the most complete and authoritative facts about more than 1.7 million awards” (according to their Amazon listing, at least) and every entry verified to be accurate and viable at multiple colleges, this book is a great addition to your scholarship library. It also includes internships and loan programs, as well as a scholarship search planning calendar and worksheet you can fill out.

Local scholarship resources

In addition to scholarships listed in online or print directories, don’t overlook those offered on a local basis. If you’re still in high school, you may be eligible to apply for a wide range of scholarships that are available only to students from your school district or town/city. Regional companies, credit unions, and civic organizations (Rotary Club, Lions Club, American Legion, etc.) are among many other possibilities. Be sure to ask your high school guidance counselor for more info on these scholarships; your local library might have a list of awards too.

College/university scholarships

Before you get caught up in finding and applying to every national award out there, remember: your college or university will also offer its own scholarships, just for students attending the school. Many of these awards will be broken down by academic major, so look for scholarships related to your academic major if you have one. Be sure to research and apply (if necessary) for awards available at any college you’re considering. Basic information will be available on the school’s website, but it’s a good idea to check with the financial aid office for more details.

Where else can you find scholarships?

Finally, don’t limit your thinking. When it comes to hunting down scholarships, cast a wide net, says Sarah Seitz, an independent college counselor based in Houston, Texas. “Don’t just apply for the big money scholarships, as they tend to be far more competitive,” she says. “Seek out smaller ones that will attract fewer applicants. They add up!” 

Scholarship search advice

Because using websites, books, and local resources to find scholarships is just the beginning. You’ll need to review the various guidelines and determine first if you are eligible to apply (many have very specific eligibility limits), and second whether your background provides enough of a potential match that it is worth your time to apply. Next, you’ll need to put in the effort to complete application forms in a complete and competitive way.

This advice can help you send in the best, most winningest scholarship applications possible:

What resources are your using in your scholarship search? (Please say CollegeXpress!) Did we miss any good ones? Leave a comment and let us know.

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

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