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6 Tips for Searching for Scholarships

September 16, 2009 By: Category: Aid for College, Scholarships

Today we have a guest post from Brandi Koskie. Koskie is a journalism graduate from the University of Oklahoma and the senior editor at, an educational resource helping students at all stages of the education process find student loans, scholarships, testing advice and more.

Searching for college scholarships can seem daunting and overwhelming. But like other aspects of the college preparation process, if you are organized and have a plan, then you’re sure to find your scholarship search more manageable.


Photo by AMagill

It is a competitive market though, as most graduating high school seniors are trying to score some free cash before fall. So we want to help you maximize your efforts and push beyond the crowd.

  1. Think Different: It’s Apple’s long-time motto and it’s served them well, so it ought to be motivating to you as well. Look where the rest of the herd isn’t. With fewer competitors there is a greater opportunity for standing out.
  2. Look Locally: While your fellow incoming freshmen are all pinning their hopes on the big cash awards at your chosen university, maybe you should look closer to home. There is less competition when looking at local scholarship resources - who are more apt to support local residents and you’re less likely to become a face in a very crowded field. Local banks, car dealers, religious organizations, men’s and women’s fraternities, factories and other business are worth looking in to.
  3. Think Small: It might be more profitable to identify several smaller scholarships (which fewer people will be after) than to go after one or two large awards.
  4. Be Sporty: If you’re an athlete, do not overlook athletic scholarships - at large or small schools. Not only will you gain some cash for school, but you’ll instantly be part of a group on campus and the physical fitness of soccer, volleyball, track or football will keep you in shape and clear of the freshman 15. Get in touch with the athletic department at your potential schools and see what is available.
  5. Be Patriotic: If your parent(s) or grandparent(s) served in the U.S. military, then you might be eligible for dependent grants and scholarships. Visit with your family members to learn more about their service (a good idea anyway), and speak with the financial aid office at your school who can help you gain eligibility.
  6. Search the Web: Being that you live in the digital age, finding scholarships is much easier than it was for students even ten years ago. Spend a little time on the Web and let the search engines do the work for you. Google is bound to help you identify specialty scholarships (left-handed scholarships, Native American history scholarships, etc.) There are also Web sites featuring databases of student scholarships. offers a free scholarship search, and other options like FindTuition and Broke Scholar are available, but require registration.

If you have any other tips for searching for scholarships, leave a comment. Happy Searching!