Finding and applying for scholarships is a vital part of college preparation—free money never hurts! Scholarships are like gifts; they don’t have to be repaid. Follow this scholarship application guideline to ensure you can afford the college of your dreams:  

What kind of scholarships are available?  

There are thousands of scholarships to choose from, offered by schools, employers, private companies, individuals, nonprofits, churches, communities, and professional and social organizations. Whether you’re looking for merit-based scholarships, scholarships geared towards particular groups of people, or both, there is a scholarship(s) for you.  

Scholarships may cover the entirety of your college tuition or be a one-time payment of a few hundred dollars. Either way, applying for scholarships helps reduce the cost of your education, making applying extremely worth it.  

How do I find scholarships?  

There are several ways to find scholarships, including talking to the financial aid office at the college of your choosing or talking with college counselors at your high school. Some helpful resources for finding scholarships include:  

  • Office of financial assistance at college or career school 
  • High school college advisor/counselor  
  • Foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups 
  • Organizations related to fields that interest you 
  • Ethnicity-based organizations 
  • Your employer or your parents’ employers 
  • Visit for more scholarship resources 

When should I apply for scholarships?  

Every scholarship deadline is different, so it is best to jump on applying early. Some may require applicants to apply a year in advance, so for high schoolers, it is best to start looking as early as junior year. However, if you have already missed this window, don’t give up! Find scholarships that are still taking applicants and apply as soon as possible.  

How do I apply?  

Application processes may vary between scholarships, so visit the website of the scholarship you are applying for instruction. Read the instructions thoroughly, fill out the application completely, and make sure you submit it before the deadline. Once you’ve applied, stay on top of checking for a response from the scholarship-giver to be informed of your next steps.  

Does accepting a scholarship affect my other student aid?  

Yes, accepting a scholarship will affect other student aid because the total of your student aid added together cannot exceed the cost of attendance at your college or career school. So, if you do receive a scholarship, make sure and let your financial aid office know so they can apply that to your financial aid and figure the correct award amount. After subtracting your scholarship money from your financial aid, the financial aid office can determine how much money is needed to cover the rest of your tuition. Don’t hesitate to call your college’s financial aid office with any questions!