Outside Scholarship Search Strategies

While there are numerous outside scholarships available, finding those scholarships takes time and effort. The search strategies below can help.

Use Free Scholarship Searches Online

Fastweb is a free financial aid and scholarship search engine for parents, students, and providers. Search for scholarships based on many criteria.

Sponsored by U.S.News & World Report, EDU provides an article index, best values schools, scholarship search, award comparisons, college cost prediction, loan repayment calculator, deciphering your award letter, ask advisers, federal aid, and newsletter.

Sponsored by the College Board Association, Expan helps locate scholarships, loans, internships, and other financial aid programs from non-college sources that match education level, talents, and background. A student-provided profile is compared against a database of 2,000 financial aid opportunities.

Research Local Opportunities

Small, local organizations usually do not publicize their scholarships on the Internet. The competition for their scholarship dollars is often less vigorous. Finding local organizations that offer scholarships can take a lot of work, but the effort usually pays off.

  • Check with your high school guidance counselor and the college financial aid office. Both offices are often familiar with local agencies that have awarded scholarships to students in the past and these offices can give you contact information for local scholarship providers.
  • Contact local service clubs, such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Women's Leagues, Elks, etc., to see if they offer scholarships for college.
  • If you have a special talent, check with organizations related to that talent. For example, students who excel in public speaking may want to check with local Toastmaster clubs to see if scholarships are offered.
  • If you plan to major in a certain field of study, check with professional organizations related to that field of study. Many professional organizations offer scholarships to assist students with earning degrees. To find professional organizations, students could check the local phone directory, check with the college academic department, or do a general web search.

Important Points to Remember
Do not waste money on scholarship searches that charge a fee. Often these searches use the same Internet databases students may use without charge. If a scholarship seems too good to be true, it probably is! Learn to recognize and avoid common scholarship scams. Remember, you should not have to pay money to win a scholarship!