If you didn't secure enough funding for college in your high school years, it's not too late. You can apply for scholarships while in college to help fund your undergraduate education and give you an edge in post-grad applications. The first step is finding scholarships to apply for.
Where to Find Scholarships in College
- Your School: The first place to look for scholarships is with your university. The financial aid office should have postings about widely available scholarships, as well as scholarships specific to your school. An adviser within your major should also be able to direct you to scholarships intended for students in your field of study and will likely be a valuable resource on how to win one.
- Large Companies: Many large companies — like Walmart, Apple and McDonald's — provide scholarships to their employees or their children, so it's always a good idea to check with your employer or your parents' employers about what they may offer. If your company doesn't give scholarships, inquire about tuition reimbursement programs.
- Online search tools: A free online search engine, like the Discover Student Loans Free Scholarship Search, can also be helpful. Just make sure you filter the results for your current year in college to save time. And while this can be a good way to learn about scholarships, it's important to understand that those found online are easily accessible, making them more competitive to win.
Increase Your Odds of Winning a Scholarship in College
To increase your odds of winning, you should consider the following:
- Continue applying: You can apply for most scholarships as many times as you want as long as you remain eligible. Pay close attention to the eligibility criteria and set reminders for yourself when it is time to apply each year.
- Learn from past winners: Use your resources to learn what you can about previous winners. Often scholarship websites will list their winner's bios. Read those and try to discern what made the winners stand out, such as their extracurricular activities. If you notice, for example, that several of the winners regularly volunteer, try upping your service hours.
- Secure references: In college, your professors can be an incredible resource for references. Impress them with your class performance and let them know you'd like a reference for a particular scholarship. If you broach the subject, you might discover that your professor can give you suggestions to help you stand out in your scholarship or contest application, and even write you an excellent recommendation letter if applicable to the scholarship.
Winning scholarships while in college can help you pay for your expenses and even boost your post-grad connections. Apply for scholarships each year, even if you don't win money the first time you apply. Don't ignore scholarships with smaller award amounts either, since every bit will help.
For help finding scholarships to apply for, visit our scholarship directory.