I’m going to gamble and say that many of you are familiar with Google. You’ve used it to find information on things like Thomas Edison’s inventions, creepy stalkers, and the occasional cat meme.
But did you know that you could also use Google to find scholarships?
Google is a giant search engine of everything—including scholarships. When scholarship providers post information about their awards, Google categorizes it like anything else online. So, if you want to find a scholarship for minority women, just Google that!
Using Google to find free money is an advanced search technique. Meaning, you should first complete a scholarship search using a scholarship search engine (such as the one on saltmoney.org) and be comfortable with scholarship lingo. Once you master this technique, you will literally have an endless supply of scholarships at your disposal.
Step 1: Use the Right Keywords
Over the years, I’ve learned what words produce the best results when punched into Google. Here are some of my favorites, but definitely try your own too!
- Undergraduate scholarship in [your state] .pdf
- [your state] scholarship application .pdf
- Minority scholarship application .pdf
- [enter your race] scholarship application .pdf
- 2013 scholarship application form .pdf
- [enter your major] scholarship 2013
- Scholarship form .pdf
- Download here scholarship application
- Download here scholarship form
- 2013 scholarship form download
- Scholarship application women application
By including “.pdf” in your search, your results will link to actual documents. That means you’ll see more actual scholarship applications in your results. (You can do the same thing with Word documents by using “.doc” instead of the “.pdf” abbreviation)
Step 2: Ignore “.edu” links.
These links are most likely colleges and universities promoting their own scholarships. Unless you are from that school, chances are you are not eligible for their scholarships. Here is an example:
As you can see, this search result has a .edu Web address. Don’t bother clicking on those links for now.
Step 3: Get Ready to Hunt
Once you click on a result, don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately find the applications or eligibility requirements … scholarship providers have notoriously bad websites! This is a classic “it’s not me, it’s them” situation. Keep looking until you find the information you need.
Step 4: Go Well Beyond the First Page of Google
In fact, go past page 10 on each search if possible. This will take some time, but the more you search, the better you will get at eliminating scholarships that you’ve seen before or are irrelevant.
Step 5: Avoid Scams
If the website you are on looks fishy or uses words like “contest,” “drawing,” or anything else that leads you to believe something weird is going on, skip it. There are plenty of scholarship opportunities out there—don’t risk your personal information on a scholarship that looks suspicious.
See my previous post on 4 Ways to Spot a Bad Scholarship for more information.
Step 6: Check the Deadlines
Some scholarship applications may still have 2012 deadline on them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the scholarship deadline has passed.
Scholarships usually renew their application process each year. If you find a scholarship with a 2012 deadline, look on the scholarship provider’s website for news about the 2013 deadline.
And Finally, Use Common Sense and Be Scrappy
There are no rules with this step. I can’t promise that all of the information you’ll find will be helpful, but I can promise that if you dedicate some time and effort to this process, you’ll find the scholarships you are looking for.