Student Life

Navigating the Scholarship Search in College

The scholarship search doesn't end once you graduate from high school -- make time in college.

Student Contributor, Mary Bellm

April 15, 2021

Navigating the Scholarship Search in College
Don't limit your scholarship search to high school: find awards in college too.
Scholarships are not just for high school students heading into college, despite what you may think! The college scholarship search is definitely defined by how much time you have. If you’re super busy during the week, the weekend might be your only time to look for and apply to awards around catching up with schoolwork. This is even more important when looking for Graduate School scholarships due to the work-life-school balance most college students have to juggle. If you’re a weekend scholarship searcher, you can’t go wrong with opening up a separate window or tab for each award, narrowing it down to what opportunities you will apply for versus the ones you find, and accomplishing those applications in-between your other tasks for the weekend
I frequently use Fastweb’s personalized matches on my account to figure out what legitimate scholarships I can apply to, and which ones are most popular. I also keep my eye on the wonderful articles that the Fastweb team puts together where they pull some great (and current!) scholarships together into easy to read lists, including ones for each year in school like this one for the Class of 2021, special ones with different requirements like this one for Military Spouses and Children, and collections of awards that are easy to apply to! These articles help you save time, since someone at Fastweb took the time to compile a list for you! Going into the college scholarship search, it’s important to not think of money first and foremost! If that is your main thought when you are looking to apply, then that will influence what you apply to. My main focuses are what scholarships can I put forth my best effort on, and which awards are pretty easy to apply to.
I really take into consideration how much time I have when I look at a scholarship, and if I don’t have the time at that moment, I set a reminder in my phone for when I will have a chunk of time to apply. Its a good strategy that reminds me to apply for it, otherwise it would get lost amongst all the schoolwork. If you don’t know when you will have time to apply, don’t worry too much about it - write down the deadline, and put the reminder somewhere you will see it, add it to your calendar, or ask someone to remind you closer to the due date. Prioritize which scholarships you think will benefit you the most if you get them, not how much they could pay for. Another easy tip? If you haven’t kept track of scholarships in the past that you can apply for multiple years in a row, start making a list as you apply this year for next year, and you can save yourself some much needed time hunting for future opportunities!
Some of the requirements might change, or they might have a different essay topic, but this will be super helpful in the future. You could even go as far as writing yourself a note to remember how easy it was to apply and what you used for application materials if you want to get organized. Most scholarships for college students are broken down by year in school, major, GPA, and sometimes specific colleges. I often find myself forgetting one of these requirements, so it’s all the more helpful that if you’re looking at scholarships outside of Fastweb, double check these so you don’t waste any of your valuable time. Outside of Fastweb, I usually apply to scholarships I find on Niche. Whether they require an essay or not is a big factor in deciding how much time I will set out for them, and which ones I will prioritize. The $2,000 Niche No Essay Scholarship is one of the few from Niche I frequently apply to. I love it since all I have to do is log in, find the scholarship, and hit submit! Easy peasy. I’ve also had my eye on this scholarship from from Apartment Guide that extended their deadline to April 12th that I will apply to. This one is short and sweet when it comes to writing, which means I can get it done fairly quickly and move on to looking for other scholarships. I also apply to Truman’s Foundational Scholarships every semester, which is a really great resource that Truman offers for students. General scholarships and major specific awards are listed, and you get the chance to write why you think you are eligible in about 2000 characters. It’s a unique tool that I hope your colleges have, or if they don’t, that your financial aid office has a similar place you can look for scholarships! If you turn to Google to look for scholarships, make sure that the website copy has very few, if any, grammatical errors, has information about previous scholarships, has reviews from reputable sources if they are a business, or ways to contact the scholarship provider - if none of these apply, I personally wouldn’t pick that scholarship to apply to. It could be a scholarship scam. Good luck with your college scholarship search!

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