Planning on Going to College Next Year? Rev Up Your Search for College Scholarships Now!

Tips for Winning ScholarshipsIf you're planning on starting college in the fall of 2014, you've got lots to do. You've got college fairs to attend, tests to take, essays to write, and applications to fill out.

As you narrow your college search, the hard reality of how much college can cost is probably sinking in. You can and should apply for federal student aid and state grant programs, but you can't file your FAFSA until January 1, 2014. However, you can rev up your search for free money – scholarships provided by local businesses, employers, community foundations, national philanthropic groups, and thousands of other organizations.

Even if you've already applied for a few scholarships, if you need cash for college, you should keep hunting for sources of need- or merit-based aid. With the help of free scholarship search engines, like the ones listed below, you should be able to find at least one scholarship opportunity worth the time and effort to apply.​

These are just a few of the scholarship search tools available to you, so take a little time to find the resources that meet your needs. Check to see whether your state offers scholarship resources. For example, in Washington State, students should visit, which is designed to alert students in Washington to worthwhile scholarship opportunities. Arizona's scholarship search engine can be found here.

Many college and university websites provide detailed lists of scholarship opportunities available to their students. Some schools offer their own online search services. For example, click here to see the search engine offered by the University of Massachusetts.

When searching for scholarships, you need a strategy. For starters, you should consider:  


1. Taking the time to register for one or more free scholarship search engines, which will match opportunities to your “profile.” 


2. Creating more than one profile in each service. Perhaps in one, you emphasize your prowess as a drummer. In your second profile, you check boxes that reflect 10 years of martial arts training. Your third profile might focus on your community service track record. The point is to search DEEPLY (as identifying music-related scholarships, sports-related scholarships, and awards for volunteers) as opposed to BROADLY (searching for a scholarship tailored to a drummer who holds a black belt in karate and who devotes weekends to wielding a hammer at Habitat for Humanity).


3. Pursuing every scholarship that matches your profile. Yes, this is a time-intensive task, but a "brute force" approach can improve your chances of winning a scholarship 


Finding a scholarship opportunity is just the first step. You still have to apply. Read the application instructions carefully and take extra care in preparing and submitting your application.  

Tiffany Reese is National Coordinator for College Goal Sunday USA.


Related posts:


Scholarship Search: A Smart Summertime Investment


Students: Share Your Stories. They May Be Worth $100 Million in Scholarships



Comments for Planning on Going to College Next Year? Rev Up Your Search for College Scholarships Now!

Name: Robert
Time: Monday, November 4, 2013

Your scholarship search tools is very helpful for me.This opportunities helps to improve myself....

Name: Robert
Time: Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Your scholarship search tools is very helpful for me...This opportunities helps to improve myself....
college finder

Name: samantha
Time: Monday, October 5, 2015

Im very interested to be able to get a scholarship.

Name: USA Funds
Time: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Samantha, thank you for your Oct. 5, 2015, comment about scholarships.

A good resource for scholarship searches is the CollegeUp blog post from Oct. 5, 2015, “Tips for a Successful Scholarship Search,” at There you’ll find the latest links to online resources, suggestions for increasing your chances of being selected for a scholarship or grant, and some mistakes to avoid in the scholarship search process.

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