How To Find College Scholarships

How To Find College Scholarships

It takes time to find the right scholarship for your educational goals. The first step is to become familiar with your basic options. What types of scholarships do you qualify for (military, identity-based, etc.)?

Is a scholarship the best type of financial aid for your situation? You can then use scholarship search engines to cast a wide net. The more specific you are about what you want, the more options you will have.

How To Find College Scholarships

College scholarships are forms of financial aid for college that can be obtained through organizations, websites, scholarship tools, and other means. Scholarships can be need-based, merit-based, or based on factors such as your hobbies, field of study, ethnicity, religion, and other characteristics. You don’t have to be the top of your class or an all-star athlete to get free college money. Most importantly, all scholarships are free, which means they will help you pay for college.

Millions of students attend college each year to pursue their interests or lay the groundwork for their future careers. However, higher education has a cost. According to Next Gen Personal Finance, approximately 63% of undergraduates received at least one grant or scholarship to help them cover tuition costs as of 2021.

College scholarships can help students afford the rising cost of higher education. Finding scholarships and grants doesn’t have to be difficult if you know where to look.


1. Federal Student Aid

All students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The federal government evaluates your financial need and tells you what financial aid you are eligible for using this application. Keep in mind that most federal awards are based on need rather than merit.

2. BestColleges

We’ve compiled extensive scholarship guides at BestColleges to help you research financial aid options in one place. 
Our scholarship pages provide scholarship lists for students of various demographics and majors. 
Scholarships for HBCU students, for example, and scholarships for undocumented students are available.

3. College Board

The College Board maintains college scholarship search service with over 2,200 programs, in addition to providing college admissions advice and many test-prep resources, such as SAT and ACT books. 
Students can refine their searches by providing more specific demographic and/or academic information. 
This enables students to find scholarships that are good fit for their qualifications and interests.

4. Fastweb

Fastweb has been providing free database of financial aid and scholarships for college students since 1995. 
Students can benefit from personalized scholarship matching as well as FAFSA and federal assistance advice. 
Fastweb also offers internship search assistance and publishes career planning articles.

5. CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop, sponsored by the United States Department of Labor, aims to provide people with the resources, assessments, and advice they need to find work. There is also database of over 8,000 scholarships for undergraduate, graduate, vocational, and professional development programs on the website.  Scholarships, fellowships, grants, prizes, and loans can all be found.

6. Scholarship America

Scholarship America strives to break down the barriers that keep students from accessing the financial aid they need to be able to afford higher education. To date, the organization has provided $4.5 billion in scholarships to 2.8 million recipients. Students can browse available scholarships, filtering the results by state.

7. Peterson’s

Peterson’s offers college and test prep for students hoping to further their postsecondary education. Visitors to Peterson’s website can search through a directory of scholarships for college students from over 4,000 providers.

In addition, the company offers its scholarship. Called the “World’s Easiest Scholarship,” the $2,500 award only requires interested students to enter basic information to apply.

8. Unigo

Unigo aims to connect students to financial aid, running a database of millions of college scholarships and grants. You simply create an account and fill out a personal profile, which will enable you to browse scholarships that match your demographic and academic information.

The site also offers helpful categories like “easy scholarships” and “$10,000 scholarships.”

9. Chegg

Described as a student-first learning platform, Chegg focuses on improving the return on investment for education. Part of that mission includes providing a scholarship database with over 25,000 opportunities. High school and college students alike can search for scholarships and find matches based on their personal and academic profiles.

10. Cappex

A platform that connects students to colleges, Cappex helps students find colleges and search for scholarships and financial aid opportunities. On this site, you can search for scholarships by demographic. These include scholarships for women, Black students, Hispanic students, LGBTQ+ students, and first-generation students.


This site has been helping students search for college scholarships since 1998. With millions of scholarships in the database, students can find scholarships that fit their specific circumstances. This resource also breaks down scholarships by type, such as awards for athletes, veterans, and Hispanic students.

12. Niche

Niche isn’t just an educational resource — it also aims to help people find out where they belong, whether that’s a school or neighborhood. The site provides several tools to help students discover their place in higher education. One such tool is a college scholarship search, which allows you to search for awards by major or demographic information.


If you don’t have a 4.0 GPA or an impressive extracurricular record, applying for scholarships may seem pointless. However, winning scholarships is determined by your attitude rather than your achievements. You’ll have a much better chance if you’re persistent and apply to scholarships for which you qualify.

Set aside time each week to search these resources for scholarships that you might be eligible for. Every dollar you earn in scholarships is one less dollar you’ll have to borrow in student loans.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I find scholarships?

There are many resources available to help you find scholarships. Some popular options include:

  • Online scholarship databases:
    • College Board’s BigFuture
    • Fastweb
    • Cappex
  • Your school’s financial aid office: They often have information about scholarships specific to your school and major.
  • Local organizations: Libraries, community centers, and religious groups often offer scholarships to local students.
  • Professional organizations: If you are planning to pursue a particular career, there may be scholarships offered by related organizations.
  • Federal and state government websites: The Department of Education and your state’s higher education agency may offer scholarship resources.

2. What are some tips for finding scholarships?

  • Start early: The earlier you start looking for scholarships, the more time you will have to apply.
  • Be specific: When searching for scholarships, use specific keywords that describe your background and academic interests.
  • Read the eligibility requirements carefully: Make sure you meet all of the requirements before applying for a scholarship.
  • Apply to as many scholarships as possible: The more scholarships you apply to, the better your chances of receiving one.
  • Proofread your applications carefully: Make sure your applications are free of errors.
  • Follow up with scholarship providers: If you don’t hear back from a scholarship provider after a few weeks, send them a polite email to follow up.

3. What are some common scholarship scams?

  • Scholarships that require you to pay a fee to apply: Legitimate scholarships never require an application fee.
  • Scholarships that guarantee you will receive money: There is no such thing as a guaranteed scholarship.
  • Scholarships that ask for your personal information before you have been awarded the scholarship: Be cautious about providing your personal information to anyone you don’t know and trust.
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