This is part II in our series on finding scholarships. In part I, Diane discussed how to use a scholarship search engine to your advantage. Now, in part II, she’ll cover a few other tricks to finding scholarships.
One thing that I want to share is how annoying the whole search process is. You probably have felt a little annoyed by now. If you haven’t, please ignore this next paragraph and continue on your way.
Honestly, finding a scholarship is the hardest part of the whole process. The applications can be a piece of cake. So, if you can hustle through this search process and come out on the other side with a few scholarships to apply for, then you’re better off than most students.
I know it’s not fun, but stick with it. It’s totally worth the effort.
FINDING HIDDEN SCHOLARSHIPS
When I was using scholarship search engines, I couldn’t help but feel like there were more scholarships out there that I just couldn’t find. I had an account on just about every scholarship search engine, but something was missing.
Are there scholarships that are not listed on scholarship lists and search engines? Yes—and that’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is… you’ll have to dig to find them.
The good news is that very few people take the time to do this and you’ll be one of the few to apply. That’s actually very good news.
Here are a few underutilized ways to find scholarships on the Web.
After a couple of months of using scholarship search engines, I made a switch over to Google to see if I could find any “hidden” scholarships there that were not publicized on scholarship search engines. I did find them, a lot of them.
I did this by playing around with search terms that related to me. You can do the same with searches like:
- “Undergraduate scholarship for minority students”
- “College scholarships for veterans”
- “Florida scholarship application 2012”
- “Minority scholarship application.pdf”
- “College scholarship for biology major”
- “Scholarship Foundation Massachusetts”
- “Community Foundations in Florida”
I like using search terms like “.pdf” or “.doc” because Google will just start showing me scholarship applications. Almost every link you click will be a scholarship application that you can review to see if you are eligible. It can also help a lot to include the following items in your search:
- The year, e.g., “2012” or “2013”
- Geography, e.g., “Florida”
- The type of scholarship, e.g., “undergraduate” or “college”
Searching for “scholarship foundation” or “community foundation” plus your state will bring up links to scholarship organizations that are local to you. Chances are, these organizations offer scholarships to students within that state. Feel free to mix it up and try different search terms that relate to you.
Browse as many pages on Google as you can. The first page will be littered with scholarships you’ve probably already seen in your scholarship search engine results. Digging beyond page 5 will start to show a few of the smaller scholarships you’ve never seen before.
THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE
Depending on your school, your financial aid office may or may not be a helpful resource for scholarships.
Email your financial aid counselor and ask if he/she has received any information on “outside scholarship opportunities” and ask that he/she keep you in mind if they do receive any information. It’s worth a shot because scholarship providers will often send their applications to schools in their area hoping for applicants.
That’s it for part II! In part III of this series, I’ll talk about eligibility and knowing what makes you eligible. A close friend of mine won a scholarship for his balloon animal making abilities… seriously. You may be ignoring something about yourself that makes you eligible for a scholarship as well.
Have a question about talking to your financial aid office about scholarships or Googling them? Post it in the comments or contact us.