Looking for Outside Scholarships?
Helpful tips to demystify an often tiresome search.
It’s no hidden fact that a college education often comes with a hefty price tag and, if you’re like us when we were applying to colleges, affordability is a key factor in the final decision. “Apply for outside scholarships”—which is distinct from institutional scholarships—can feel like an insurmountable piece of advice, but here are a few tips to demystify the process.
- Start with your story
Make applying to scholarships manageable by first identifying what makes you unique. Are you into _____? There’s a scholarship for that! Jot down your interests and hobbies. Make a list of clubs or activities you’re a part of. Add any Honors Societies or awards you’ve earned.
Not only can you find scholarships based on interests, but if it’s through a national organization, like DECA or Phi Theta Kappa, they may also offer scholarships directly or through their affiliations. Include areas of study you’re considering or are already pursuing (that’s right–there are scholarships for current college students, too). If you’re interested in it, there is most likely a scholarship for it.
- Treat it like a part-time job
Bi-weekly or monthly, choose one or two unique scholarship categories to focus on and commit to applying to 1-3 scholarships weekly in those categories. For example: I will apply to 1-3 theater scholarships weekly in the month of December.
- Narrow your options using a scholarship search engine
There are literally thousands of scholarships available, but are you eligible to apply for every single one? Probably not. Many scholarship search engines use the profile you create to curate scholarships you’re eligible to apply for which helps streamline your scholarship application process. Here are the top scholarship search engines we’d recommend:
- College Board
- Going Merry
- Career One Stop
- Check out your library
There are excellent scholarship books out there, too. The Ultimate Scholarship Book is a wonderful resource with ways to search for scholarships based on your background, interests, and possible major–your local library may have copies that you can check out. Many scholarships are offered annually, so if it’s an older published version of the book, just hop online and find the new deadlines. Additionally, many local libraries have community boards that list scholarship opportunities. If not, maybe you can ask your local librarian for resources in the community.
- Ask around!
See if your parents’ or guardians’ employers offer any scholarships to family members–many do! You can also ask your youth group leader or pastor if your church offers any help to students attending college. Here at King’s we offer a Church Matching scholarship and will match contributions from a church or ministry for their King’s student, up to $1,500 per year. If you’re a high school student with a Guidance Counselor, ask him or her if they have resources for outside scholarships.
Pro Tip: You can often recycle a single essay with a few tweaks and apply to several scholarships.
Applying to outside scholarships may feel like a waste of time—until you win that $1,000 because of a 500-word essay you submitted. Utilizing these simple tips in your outside scholarship search is a proactive way to help fund your college education.
The hard work and sacrifice is totally worth it! If you have financial aid questions for us, you can email financialservices[at]tkc[dot]edu.
// Photo by Micheile Henderson //