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College Scholarships

With millions of scholarships in our database that are tailored to applicants based on criteria ranging from GPA to specific special interests, the easiest way to see what you qualify for is to conduct a free college scholarship search. For scholarships, contests, and sweepstakes you can apply in a matter of minutes, explore these offers:

Check Out the Scholarships Scholarships.com Offers

We do more than just help you find scholarships from other providers - we offer several of our own, and it couldn't be quicker or easier to apply.

Alternative Scholarship Search Methods

Search Scholarships by Grade Level

Most college scholarships target incoming freshmen and undergraduates, so the sooner you start searching for awards and applying for them, the better. If you are a high school student, adding scholarship applications to your list of things to do alongside college applications and standardized tests is extremely important. Undergraduates that have received generous scholarships to pay for their freshman year should continue their hard work and good academic standing throughout college, because many scholarships must be renewed and are open to upper classmen as well. While scholarships for graduate students are less common, they are often very generous, as many target particular fields of study, or are awarded by potential employers who want better-educated employees. Conduct a college scholarships search or browse through our site to see the scholarships by grade level that you may qualify for, because no matter your year, you could be missing out on dozens of opportunities to fund your education.

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Featured Scholarships

Scholarships by Major

For incoming college students who know what they want to do post-graduation or have experience in a field they would like to explore more, college scholarships geared toward particular majors and fields of study are an excellent option. Awards in high demand areas such as nursing and education are plentiful, especially when working in low-income communities or high-demand regions. Look outside your college for scholarships by major, as many outside organizations will have private scholarship funds established to recruit college students into a particular field. Conduct a college scholarship search or browse through our site to see college scholarships by major that you qualify for.

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Sports Scholarships

While sports scholarships are more competitive, you do not have to be a star athlete to land a generous award. Most sports scholarships will come directly from your college if you intend to play on their team, but if you are more interested in playing a club or intramural sport, you could qualify for scholarships from local groups and outside organizations that award sports-related scholarships. Many of those awards will look at criteria such as need, community service and your academic record. So if you enjoy golf but aren’t destined to play in the PGA, do not assume you can’t land a college scholarship. Browse through our suggestions for scholarships by sport, or conduct a free scholarship search to find awards you may be eligible for based on other criteria.

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Scholarships by State

One of the best places to begin researching scholarships is looking at those provided by your home state. Some of the most generous financial aid awards will come directly from your college, and your base tuition will undoubtedly be much less at an in-state public institution. If staying in your home state is an option, include that in your criteria when you are doing your scholarship search. Look at what your local college could offer you, especially if you’re entering into a high-demand field like education or nursing. Contact local organizations for private college scholarships that may be set aside for incoming students who are staying in-state. Browse through our suggestions for scholarships by state, for tips on how state assistance will help you start your career.

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Scholarships by Type

Chances are that whatever makes you unique, whether it be talent or personal characteristics can land you a scholarship. Whether you’re a star athlete on your high school ice hockey team, a returning adult student, getting an advanced degree, speak another language, or have survived a rare disease, you will find an award to fit your specific profile. Scholarships by type are often much less competitive than awards based on need or academics. Make a list of what makes you stand out, and conduct a scholarships search or browse through our site to see many of the scholarships you could be eligible for.

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Scholarship Application Strategies

The college scholarship application process can be time-consuming and stress-inducing if you already have a stack of standardized test prep material and college applications to get through. But with a few tips and strategies you’ll feel much more prepared to send in a winning, organized scholarship application. When you’re tired of filling out applications, remember that the time you put in now could lead to funding that doesn't require repayment. Browse through our site to learn about scholarship application strategies that could bump you to the top of that very competitive pile and maximize your financial aid package.

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Scholarship Information

Do not let popular misconceptions or scholarship myths scare you out of applying for awards. Landing an award is highly possible, especially if your scholarship search is focused on specific criteria linked to your profile. It is never too late to make yourself a more attractive scholarship applicant in the eyes of the judges who will be distributing the awards. If you do your research now and learn about what it takes to win a college scholarship, you’ll improve your chances of being awarded even the most competitive scholarships. Browse through our site to see what you should watch out for before submitting applications, and remember that any scholarship search engines that ask you to pay a fee are trying to sell a product or service. Why pay for a scholarship search when we offer it at no cost to you? Start with our free college scholarship search to find legitimate, generous awards to fund your education, and don’t forget to let us know when you land that first prize.

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College Scholarship FAQ

Have questions about college scholarships? We have answers. Check out our list below but if you have any additional queries, don't hesitate to contact us.

What is a scholarship?

Scholarships are funds used to pay for higher education that do not have to be repaid to the provider. Scholarships may be awarded based on any number of criteria including academics, achievements, hobbies, talents, affiliations with various groups, or career aspirations. They are available from the federal and state government, large corporations, local businesses, professional organizations, universities and individuals. Each scholarship has its own requirements which must be met. Our scholarship search can match you with the scholarships you qualify for and have the best chance of winning.

How is a scholarship different from a grant?

Though the terms "scholarship" and "grant" are often used interchangeably, there are a few differences between the two. They are both considered "free money", but in the majority of cases scholarships are awarded to students who are planning to attend or are already enrolled in some form of postsecondary education. Awardees are often required to maintain specific grade point averages, participate in certain activities, or take a certain amount of credits per semester to remain eligible for the scholarships they earned initially. Failure to adhere to these guidelines results in suspension or cancellation of the funding. Grant recipients, however, don't necessarily have to attend or plan to attend college: Grant applicatns/recipients often need the funds to finance research projects (recipients are expected to create proposals and update the donors regularly to maintain funding) or, in the case for entrepreneurs or natural disaster victims, require capital to help start or rebuild their lives.

How is a scholarship different from a fellowship?

Like scholarships, fellowships are considered gift aid and do not have to be repaid but they are typically only available for graduate students. Some fellowships include tuition waivers or payments to universities in lieu of tuition but most include a stipend to cover reasonable living expenses.

How do scholarships differ from loans?

The main difference between scholarships and loans is that while scholarships do not require repayment, loans do, with added interest. Loans are awarded federally (Stafford, Perkins and PLUS) as well as privately (through banks and other lenders like Sallie Mae) and can be either subsidized (no payments must be made while in school) or unsubsidized (payments must be made while in school).

Will winning a scholarship impact my Financial Aid package?

It may. The government takes student awards into consideration when offering aid. However, students should not be deterred by this. The effects are not likely to be great. Many schools use student money to offset loan eligibility, not grant awards. Students who receive little aid can benefit greatly from scholarships.

Can I still receive a scholarship, even if I do not qualify for financial aid?

Yes, there are plenty of scholarships that aren’t based on financial need. Play to your strengths: If you have a high GPA, apply for academic scholarships, if you’re a great writer, apply for essay and poetry scholarships. If you're creative, apply for art and design scholarships and so forth. You could have your entire tuition covered by scholarships if you do your due diligence, which means you'll graduate with zero student loan debt.

Why should I apply for scholarships?

Why would't you apply for scholarships? A scholarship is free money for college, that you don't have to worry about paying back, so you can spend more time focusing on classes. Whether it's grades, athleticism, creativity, or being tech savvy you are being rewarded for something you are good at, so why not take advantage of it? Many students don't want to apply for scholarships because they fear they will not win. But applying for the scholarships in our scholarship search will increase your chances of winning exponentially, because we match our scholarships based on applicants' specific qualities and interests. Scholarships can paired with financial aid to cover the cost of books, supplies, room and board, and even entire tuitions but you will never know if that's possible unless you apply.

What are the odds of winning a scholarship?

It depends on the scholarship you're applying for. National scholarships will have larger applicant pools than state - or major-specific scholarships but they are all judged on specific sets of requirements. If you follow the criteria, you will have a better chance of winning than someone who doesn't; the same goes for students who observe deadlines versus students who submit their applications late. You won't win a scholarship because of who you know; you'll earn it based on how well you follow directions, meet deadlines, and the caliber of your responses.

Can I win multiple scholarships?

Yes, but typically not from the same scholarship provider during the same award year. If you're applying to more than one scholarship, be sure to keep your applications organized. Sending the wrong materials to the wrong scholarship committee can guarantee you won't be receiving those funds for college.

Am I still eligible for scholarships if I am not a full-time student?

This varies from scholarship to scholarship. Some awards require students to be full-time students, others are valid for students attending part-time, and some are offered specifically to individuals who aren’t currently enrolled but plan to return to school during the next semester.

Can I win scholarships if I attend an online school?

This depends on the school and scholarship provider. A great place to start your search is Scholarships.com, where our scholarship search presents awards meeting your exact criteria. Contact your school directly and ask about scholarship opportunities available exclusively for enrolled students.

Where can I find scholarships?

You already have! Here on Scholarships.com, you can fill out a profile granting access to the 2.7 million scholarship awards in our database. For additional awards, speak to your guidance counselor, financial aid officer, volunteer coordinator, coach, employer or parents’ employers. Scholarships are also distributed by large corporations, such as Google, and local businesses alike. The winners of business and corporation scholarhips will be drawn from a smaller applicant pool.

I'm not a strong writer. Will I have to write an essay for every scholarship I'm applying for?

While the majority of application processes entail some kind of essay to assess applicants' writing skills, not all providers require one. Keep in mind that scholarships that do not require essays can be more competitive. or have additional guidelines to ensure the right students apply. If you're having difficulty finding an essay-free scholarship, check out our "Scholarships by Type" section for easy scholarships or video scholarships, where applicants produce short multimedia pieces instead of writing traditional essays.

Who should I ask to write me a letter of recommendation, and when should I ask them?

Teachers, coaches, employers or volunteer supervisors are all excellent choices for letters of recommendation because they can detail your strengths and achievements in ways that appeal to scholarship committees. Do not ask parents, relatives or your peers, because their references carry less weight than a professional reference. Request their assistance at least 2-3 weeks before the application deadline. Professors typically write more than one, so asking in a timely manner is not only appreciated but will likely yield a more thoughtful letter.

When should I start applying for scholarships?

The sooner the better. Eligibility requirements such as "you must be a high school senior", "you must be a college sophomore majoring in computer science", "you must be under the age of 30, etc." vary. Regardless of the requirements, if you miss the deadline you will not receive a scholarship. For percaution, make sure your application packet is complete at least two weeks before the deadline; in case you have to resubmit due to a mailing/emailing error.

Can my parents apply for scholarships on my behalf?

Your parents can certainly help you throughout the process, however you must be the one to fill out the application, write the essay, complete necessary supplements and sign the appropriate forms. Your parents can assist you in securing your transcripts and even stamping your envelope but if it is determined that they did the bulk of the work, you will be ineligible to receive the award.

I have a question about the scholarship, can I contact the scholarship provider directly?

This should be detailed in the scholarship's regulations and guidelines. The scholarship provider may have the answer to your question but if they have a strict "no call" or "no e-mail" policy, DO NOT call or e-mail. Instead, speak to your guidance counselor or financial aid officer; they've probably encountered the same questions in past years and will be able to point you in the right direction.

Will I have to pay an Application Fee?

Scholarships.com does not list any scholarships that require application fees but there are some scholarships out there that might. It's ultimately your decision whether or not you want to apply for a scholarship that has an application fee.

How do I know if I've won a scholarship?

Someone from the scholarship committee should contact you directly via phone or email by a specific date so it's essential to make yourself as available as possible as that time draws closer. The funds will then be sent to you or the school you will be attending during the next semester. If someone from a third-party organization claims they need personal information (Social Security number, bank account numbers, and so forth) to complete the award process, it could be a scam; get as much information about the solicitor as possible without divulging your details and contact the scholarship provider directly to determine your next step.

Will I have to reapply each year, such as required for FAFSA?

Scholarships generally come in three varieties: one-time, renewable, or renewable with stipulations. One-time awards are granted only once, while renewable scholarships are granted each year. Some are dispensed automatically each year after the initial award but most renewable awards call for the recipient to reapply or provide transcripts and progress reports to ensure they are still meeting the guidelines set by the scholarship committee. If you were awarded for your stellar grades or athletic achievement, a low GPA or nonparticipation on a university team could discontinue your award so check with your scholarship provider to determine what is required for continued funding.

Last Edited: October 2015

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