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6 Quick and Easy Ways to Find More Scholarships

With a little smart thinking, you can get more scholarships to pay for college than you think! Here are six simple ways to find more awards you're eligible for.

Simply put, college is getting more expensive. According to U.S. News & World Report, tuition at a public university on average was $10,388 for the 2021–2022 academic year, compared to $38,185 for a private college. For an out-of-state student at a public university, the tuition averaged $22,698 per year. For many students, scholarships are essential to help offset the costs of education—and you can (and should!) search and apply for them throughout high school and college. Here are six simple steps to start your search and find more awards to apply to.

1. Start with small scholarships

Start by applying for scholarships with the least amount of competition. You can check your school’s counseling website for scholarships posted and recommended by your counselors. These scholarships will often only be open to students in your area, which means you have a greater chance of winning them. They may be relatively small award amounts, but everything counts when it comes to paying for college. Winning several smaller scholarships can really add up the more you try.

2. Talk to your high school counselor

Ask your counselor for past graduation commencement programs to see what local scholarships were awarded to graduates from your school. Any scholarship posted there means the scholarship committee is already familiar with your area, school, and the quality of students who attend. To take it a step further, contact the scholarship committee to express your interest. See what they look for in an ideal applicant, and ask any other questions you may have that you can’t find the answers to online.

Related: Connect With School Counselors During COVID–19

3. Check websites of other schools in your region

Small businesses or individuals who offer private scholarships tend to only contact the high schools they attended to post and advertise their awards, but these scholarships might be open to students from other schools as well. Research these and carefully check the wording to see if you’re eligible so you don’t miss out on a great opportunity! It’s important to note that some local scholarships prefer their money to stay in state and may stipulate that the recipient attends a local college, so be sure to read all the rules and requirements before you apply.

4. Research local organizations offering scholarships

Again, this is a great way to find scholarships with less competition and a higher chance of winning. Organizations like Boy Scouts, Elks Club, Rotary clubs, Toastmasters, 4-H, churches, and local nonprofits can be great resources for students. Nonprofits often offer dozens of scholarships per year but lack an advertising budget to draw in a large pool of applicants, which means less competition for you.

Related: 3 Smart and Easy Strategies to Win More Scholarships

5. Search with keywords

Searching for the keyword “scholarships” on the websites of every local radio and TV station could reveal some surprising hidden gems. Many radio stations promote local scholarships on the air, but unless you listen to their show, you may not learn about the award. You should also try searching with multiple combinations of keywords to find awards specifically for your interests, characteristics, location, and more.

6. Broaden your search

Create accounts on FastWeb, Scholarships.com, ScholarshipOwl, and—of course—CollegeXpress (assuming you haven’t already). All these websites post and share scholarships open to students of certain majors or those who meet specific criteria. Search to see what scholarships you might have the best chance of winning and apply to every award you’re eligible for—you can’t win if you don’t try!

Related: Easy No–Essay Scholarships You Need to Know About

Applications for local scholarships typically ask for an activities résumé, general information about what high school you attend, an essay, and/or a teacher recommendation. So come prepared with all these materials so you can expedite your applications as you find scholarships you’re eligible for. There’s a plethora of opportunities out there; you just have to know the tricks to finding them!

To learn more about the entire scholarship process, check out Moon Prep’s free 9-Day Crash Course: The Search for Scholarships, or read more blogs and articles in our Financial Aid section.

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About Lindsey Conger

Lindsey Conger

Lindsey Conger is a college counselor and tutor at Moon Prep.

 

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Melanie Kajy

Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

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President and Founder, College Connections

I frequently visit CollegeXpress to answer questions from students and parents. There are countless hot topics in admissions that need to be addressed. I enjoy reading what my colleagues post and gain additional insight from different perspectives.

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September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

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Throughout my search for colleges I was afraid and timid, but I finally found the college that was fit for me, and luckily, I got accepted. One of the most influential things that’s helped me a lot was the articles and advice on CollegeXpress. It’s helped me a lot and benefited me as a senior to make the right choices in life. Thank you!

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Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.

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