A Student’s Guide to College Scholarships

Going to college is an expensive undertaking that many cannot afford to pay for outright. Financing options such as student loans can put young people in debt and make it more difficult to achieve a high standard of living in the future, especially if you encounter a financial hardship and can’t get a deferment or find a refinancing option. But another common way to get money for college is through scholarships. Scholarships are a form of financial aid that does not need to be paid back, and these are of significant help for those who otherwise cannot afford to go to college.

Scholarships are typically awarded based on merit and/or need, and only a limited number of students can receive each scholarship. The exact eligibility requirements vary from one scholarship to another. For example, some require that the student be a military veteran, while others serve students who pursue certain majors, such as engineering or medicine. In general, students will typically need to meet income limit or academic performance requirements in order to receive a scholarship. In order to get a scholarship, a qualifying student will need to apply. Upon finding a desirable scholarship, the student will need to learn about the application process, starting with its deadline and eligibility requirements. The application process often includes writing an essay, acquiring letters of recommendation, submitting proof of eligibility, and providing test scores and school transcripts, and in some cases, an interview may be required as well.

What Is a Scholarship?

Learn about the nature and importance of scholarships with this article on the University of Northern Texas website.

Road Map to Success (PDF)

Portland State University explains what scholarships are and how they work in this resource. It also talks about the application process, eligibility, the evaluation process, writing high-quality essays, and how to stand out from the competition.

Scholarship Myths (PDF)

There are plenty of misconceptions about scholarships, and this document explains what they are and why they’re wrong.

Scholarships by Type

On Scholarships.com’s financial aid page, they explain the different types of scholarships that are available to college students. The list includes scholarships based on military service, unique and unusual topics, and community service.

Types of Scholarships

There are a wide variety of scholarships available for students who need financial aid. School Guides explains some of the different types that are regularly offered to those looking for money for college.

Scholarships to Help You Pay for College

Sallie Mae is a company that specializes in student loans. On this page, they explain how minorities, high school seniors, and current college students can all get financial help for college. They also include a link to helpful resources for finding scholarships.

Undergraduate Student Scholarships

CollegeScholarships.org offers information about loans, grants, and scholarships for undergraduate students on their website.

Finding and Applying for Scholarships

The federal student aid website has an in-depth article about scholarships that explains what scholarships are available, how and when to find and apply for them, how to get the money once it’s awarded, and how it affects other student aid.

CSU Chico: Types of Scholarships

California State University at Chico lists university-specific and external scholarships on their financial aid page. They offer aid packages for athletes, academic high performers, and middle-class undergrads. Furthermore, they include advice on how to avoid scholarship scams.

International Scholarships

Students from other countries can receive financial aid for college, too. This page on the University of Houston-Victoria website explains some of the scholarships available for F-1 and J-1 foreign students.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students With Disabilities

AffordableColleges.com provides information on this page about financial aid for disabled students. It lists and includes details about selected disability-related scholarships along with the amount of money that they award.

How to Apply for a Scholarship

Obtaining a scholarship for college is an involved and competitive process. CollegeBoard.com briefly explains the steps involved on this page.

International Program Scholarships

American students can seek financial aid for studying at colleges in other countries. The Diversity Abroad website provides details about scholarships dedicated to students looking for money to go to college abroad.

VA Scholarships and Grants

Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website for information about scholarships for military veterans and their dependents.

Gamers Helping Gamers Scholarships

Students who play Magic: The Gathering can apply for need-based scholarships from this nonprofit organization.

Access College Early (ACE) Scholarship Program

Click this link to read about a scholarship program for low-income high school students.

Competitive Skills Scholarship Program

The state of Maine offers scholarships for students who are looking for a degree in a field where workers are in demand and wages are high.

The Impact of a Scholarship

Visit the University of Hawaii website for an article about why scholarships are of significant benefit to students.

Paying for College Student Resource Guide (PDF)

Click this link to read a comprehensive guide to a wide variety of scholarships. It not only covers details about each scholarship but also deadlines by month, and at the end, it includes a list of suggested books and websites.

Sample Scholarship Interview Questions

The scholarship application process often includes interview questions that students will need to answer. This list of sample questions on the Brigham Young University website can help students get prepared.

Scholarship Application Essay Example

The scholarship application process often includes essay topics and essay questions. Phoenix College lists some common questions that scholarship essays ask and ideas for sample responses that students may give.

Your Scholarship Application Guide

Learn about the process of applying for scholarships on the financial aid section of Portland Community College’s website.

Hints and Tips for Writing a Good Scholarship Application

Applying for a scholarship is a highly competitive process. This article by The Aspiration Initiative explains to students how to improve their scholarship application skills.

Scholarship Essay (PDF)

General essay-writing tips are the subject of this Estrella Mountain Community College document. It covers preparations to write an essay, drafting, revising the essay, and proofreading before publishing.

Five Tips for Completing More Scholarship Applications

Students may feel overwhelmed by the scholarship application process, especially when they are applying for several at once. This article explains the steps students can take to better organize their efforts and reduce procrastination.

Flowchart of Scholarship Application Process for Students and Faculty (PDF)

Visit the National Press Photographers Foundation website for a flowchart for students navigating the scholarship application process.

Top Ten Tips for Winning Scholarship Applications

Moorpark College offers students some tips in this article about how to get ahead in the competition for college scholarships.

13 Best Tips for Winning College Scholarships

Time magazine offers advice to students on how to win the competition for college scholarships.

Ten Great Ways to Win a College Scholarship

Click this link to read a CBS MoneyWatch article about winning strategies for scholarship applications.