Featured Image

6 Quick Tips to Follow During National Scholarship Month

It's National Scholarship Month! Hopefully you're knee deep in applications, but if you need some quick advice to stay on track, consider these six tips.

Like many things with the college admission process, searching for scholarships can be overwhelming. However, if you start early and stay organized, you can obtain the money you need to close the gap between your college savings and educational expenses. What does that mean? It means you can get closer to graduating from college debt-free. So where do you start? Well, November is National Scholarship Month, so hopefully you already have. But whether you’re just beginning or you’re already in the thick of your search, if you follow these six steps, you’ll find the scholarship money you need to reach your educational goals.

1. Get organized

The scholarship search process may have you feeling overwhelmed with emails. A good place to start getting organized is to create a new email account to use exclusively for your scholarship search. Then you can keep yourself on track by setting a reminder in your calendar to check it at least once a week. You should also organize the scholarships you intend to apply for by using a spreadsheet. Be sure to note important things like the link to the scholarship application, requirements, and the deadline. Then put reminders in your calendar so you know when to start working on that application.

2. Think about you

The next step to generating a list of scholarships to apply to is to think about all the things that make you unique. Make a list of the following:

  • Extracurricular activities: Volunteering, editor of the school newspaper, Scout member, leader in religious youth groups, etc.
  • Personal interests: Animal rights, engineering, entrepreneurship, future teacher, beekeeper, etc.
  • Personal talents: Art, music, dance, glassblowing, running, public speaking, etc.
  • Personal characteristics: Red hair, tall, short, left-handed, etc.

Next, use a search engine to see what’s out there. Are you an only child? Google “only child + scholarships.” Are you a female interested in engineering? Google “female engineering + scholarships.” There’s a plethora of criteria combinations that could lead you to finding great opportunities, so be sure to search anything you can think of.

Related: Scholarship Criteria That Can Increase Your Opportunities

3. Look locally

The next step is to generate a list of available local scholarships you may not be able to easily find on the internet. Ask your school counselor what scholarships are available through your city, county, state, and high school. Also ask if any local organizations offer scholarships (e.g., Knights of Columbus, American Legion, etc.). Check with your parents and ask if they’re affiliated with potential scholarship-awarding sources or have connections with people who are. For example, their employer, military status, first-responder status, group membership, church or religious affiliation, or college alumni association may all offer scholarship opportunities for their children.

4. Find major corporation scholarships

Another source for outside scholarships is major corporations. Most big companies offer scholarships (often with high-value awards) that students can apply for, but be aware these can be competitive since they’re usually more widely known. You should also ask your parents and relatives if the companies they work for offer scholarships, especially if they work for a reputable organization. 

Related: 3 Smart and Easy Strategies to Win More Scholarships

5. Use scholarship search engines

There are hundreds of scholarship search engines out there. You’ll need to create a profile on each website then keep track of which scholarships are designated as “matches.” The #1 rule for using a scholarship search engine is that you should never have to enter credit card information or pay a fee to use it. If you do, step away. Also, be sure to only sign up for a few accounts so you’re not overwhelmed with options. (Plus, many of the search engines will list the same scholarships.)

6. Start early and keep looking

Most students don’t begin looking for scholarships until their senior year of high school, but I find most seniors are too overwhelmed with the college application process to begin this type of search. You can start looking (and in some cases, even applying) for scholarships as early as freshman year of high school. You should also continue to look for scholarships while you’re a college student. After you get to college, head to the financial aid office and ask about scholarships available to current students. Once you declare a major, you may also be eligible to receive scholarships from your academic department.

Related: When Can I Start Applying for Scholarships?

Remember, every penny for college counts, and looking for scholarships is a lot of work—but it’s all worth it in the end. I challenge you to have at least 15–20 scholarships you want to apply for by the time you begin your senior year of high school. Take the time to set yourself up for success, and your future self will thank you!

Ready to start your search right now? You can find a ton of scholarships right here on CollegeXpress using our Scholarship Search tool.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
college costs financial aid money for college paying for college scholarship search scholarships

About Katherine Price

Katherine Price

Katherine Price is the founder of College Mindset, a company in which Katherine uses her experiences as a former admission officer and student affairs professional to develop a student-centered approach to college counseling. Katherine also helps students develop valuable life skills while navigating the college application process. When she isn’t working with students, she mentors new Independent Educational Consultants to help them build a college counseling curriculum that provides the right amount of challenge and support for students. 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Rana Slosberg

Rana Slosberg

Slosberg College Solutions LLC

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is the 800+ lists which have all kinds of hard-to-find information. These lists are helpful when I’m creating college lists, and I also use them to give students a feel for a particular college or university.

Michael

Michael

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress showed me that Western New England University was a great match for me both with curriculum and location. CollegeXpress is an excellent resource both future and current college students.

Lydia Huth

Lydia Huth

Student, Campbell University; CollegeXpress Student Writer

I discovered CollegeXpress while embarking on my college search journey as an excited—but scared and way confused—high schooler without a counselor or college-bound sibling to give me advice. Let me tell you, I’m so glad that I stumbled on this community! CollegeXpress helped me find potential colleges and keep application deadlines straight. It gave me a great list of scholarships, and the blogs and emails made me feel like I wasn’t going it alone. Almost three years later and with freshman year of college down, I still love the CollegeXpress vibe so much that I’m writing for them. I’d recommend this site to anyone!

Kelly Nogueiro

Kelly Nogueiro

Counselor

For me, CollegeXpress has given me a valuable tool to use with my students to explore colleges easily beyond objective data. It helps me find colleges for students that fit their needs and wants that aren’t quite so black and white. It's a wealth of knowledge, and the Type-A side of me loves all the lists and the fact that I know they're coming from folks who know what they're talking about. I share it with colleagues and students alike, and it's always well received.

Kamal

Kamal

University of People Student

I registered with CollegeXpress, filled all my necessary and relevant information and the course I wished to study. Few days later an email was sent to me with the list of schools offering the course, amongst them was the University of People, the school I got admitted to.

College Matches