How to Get College Scholarships

If you are a high school student about to enter college or an adult considering going back to school, you can benefit from applying for scholarships to pay your tuition. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the requirements for applying to college and financial aid. 

Filling out the FAFSA is a great way to determine your eligibility for certain help. You can learn what common scholarships an student loans you might qualify for. Before you agree to taking out numerous student loans, make sure you have checked into as many scholarship options as possible. 

Many people don’t realize that scholarships aren’t just handed out. You have to do the legwork to find them and apply for them. Be prepare to apply for multiple scholarships, and don’t get discouraged if you are denied for some. Keep applying, and keep researching. Many organizations and colleges are eager to help students advance their educations. 

Guaranteed Scholarships provides a comprehensive list of scholarships provided around the United States by various colleges. 

School Counselors

High school guidance counselors have access to a wide range of financial aid resources, including scholarship options. If you are in high school, check with your school’s guidance counselor and schedule a meeting to go over your options. If you are an adult returning to school, you can still contact a local high school and speak with the counselor to point you in the right direction. They might even be able to point you toward specific colleges that are more likely to offer scholarships suited to your experience and field of study.

College Scholarship Offices

Contact the colleges you intend to apply to and speak with their scholarship offices. They can provide you with information about general scholarships and scholarships specific to their programs. Many colleges will offer scholarships based on academic or athletic performance. Some will even offer scholarships to students whose parents have certain religious or community affiliations.

Fraternal/Civic Organizations

Check with your local volunteer organizations about qualifying for possible scholarships. Even better if you are already a member of a fraternity, sorority, or local community benefit organization. Many of these are eager to help young students go to college or help adults and working parents make a career change and advance their education. Find out if these organizations have low-income or single parent scholarships for people returning to school.

Employee Scholarships 

Many employers offer scholarships to employees interested in using their education to advance their careers. Some of these scholarships have stipulations that you will continue to work for the company upon graduation for a certain amount of time. Others have no such requirements. Check with your employer to find out if they offer scholarships for your field of study. 

Veteran Scholarships 

There are several state and national scholarships available to veterans who have served their country. This is in addition to any assistance you may have already received after completing service. If you are retired from military service, inquire about potential financial aid that you can use to attend college. Some colleges will even offer scholarships to ROTC students and graduates.

Minority Scholarships 


There are many scholarships available through government and private organizations for gender and racial minorities. If you are a minority in the United States, check government scholarships and local programs to find out what they have available. Don’t forget to inquire with the college you wish to attend about their minority scholarship options.

Religious Scholarships

If you plan to attend a church-based school or are a member of a church, check with the school’s affiliated denomination or your church’s board to find out if they have small or large scholarships available that you might qualify for. Some colleges also offer religious scholarships. For instance, Concordia University in Illinois offers a scholarship for graduates of a Lutheran high school.

Local Business Scholarships 

Local businesses often love to support advancing education. Some will advertise essay contests for general education scholarships. Others, you will need to ask what they might have available. Even if a business does not currently offer a scholarship, they might be interested in starting one if they are approached with the idea. Depending on the business, scholarships can range from $500 to $5000 or more.

Professional Association Scholarships

If you know exactly what you plan to study, check for professional association scholarships. Many professionals and businesses in particular fields offer scholarships to draw interest to their field and encourage more participation. A good way to increase your chances of qualification for one of these scholarships is to participate in a paid or unpaid internship in the field or volunteer where positions are available.

State Grant Agency 

Many states will offer grants based on education and work experience. Check with your state’s grant agency to find out what they have available that might benefit you. A grant works in the same way as a scholarship meaning that it is a gift that you will not have to repay after completing your education.

Athletic Scholarships 

Many athletes are approached with scholarship offers from various small and large schools. However, this is not always the case. If you are an athlete and intend to continue in your sport while also advancing your education, inquire about potential athletic scholarships at your schools of choice. 

Scholarships can be found in many places if you put in the work to find them. Online tools such as Online College Scholarships can help you search for the scholarships that will fit your particular needs. With all of the available financial aid assistance in the United States, there is no reason to rack up massive amounts of debt just to further your education. 

Keep in mind that a scholarship will not simply fall into your lap just because you’ve decided to attend college. But if you are willing to put in the work to find scholarships, you might very well find yourself with minimal student debt upon graduation. When you do obtain scholarships, don’t forget to thank the source for their generosity.

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