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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,, 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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Sonny Harris

Sonny Harris

College Student

For the entire year before college, I spent a lot of time deeply considering what major I wanted to go into and how to fund my higher education. After a lot of research, I came across CollegeXpress, which helped me ultimately find a ton of scholarships for which I could apply—and some of which I received! If it weren’t for CollegeXpress, I may not have found those scholarships as they didn't appear on any other scholarship search forum. Additionally, I learned more about the options I had been considering for my major through CollegeXpress’s resources. In the end, I chose to major in Computer Science, as it seemed best suited to me and the careers in the field seemed enjoyable, and I've never been more excited to move into my future! Ultimately, I want to thank CollegeXpress for offering their services. I received enough financial aid in scholarships to fund my entire freshman year of college and even got some money refunded which I used to purchase a new laptop, and I bought all of the books I needed for the semester!

Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

Towards the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and I needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. . . . CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.

Nazira Abdelkhalek

Nazira Abdelkhalek

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2014

I am very honored to be this year’s recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship! This scholarship is vital to helping me achieve and fulfill my dreams, and gives me confidence and motivation as I begin my college career. The CollegeXpress website has been invaluable over the past year as I planned my educational and professional goals. I highly recommend it to all students as they begin to focus on their college and career interests. The website is a wonderful guide to schools and scholarships.

Farrah Macci

Farrah Macci

High School Class of 2016

CollegeXpress has helped me in many ways. For one, online searches are more organized and refined by filtering scholarships through by my personal and academic interests. Due to this, it has made searching for colleges and scholarships significantly less stressful. As a student, life can already get stressful pretty quickly. For me, it’s been helpful to utilize CollegeXpress since it keeps all of my searches and likes together, so I don’t have to branch out on multiple websites just to explore scholarship options.

Tinuola Dada

Tinuola Dada

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2015

I am very excited to be this year's recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship. This scholarship will bring me ever closer to my academic and professional goals. CollegeXpress has been an exceptional resource to me, and I recommend it to all rising seniors as they begin to navigate the college application process.

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