Tips for Scholarship Searching
- To apply for federal financial aid (grants, work-study and
loans) and some state programs, you must complete a form called the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during your senior
year of high school. The FAFSA is available online at FAFSA.gov
(step-by-step instructions are provided on this site) or by calling
toll-free 800-4-FED-AID. That's (800) 433-3243.
- Talk with your counselor about local and/or college and
university sources of financial aid.
- Contact the admissions or financial aid offices at the schools
you are interested in attending.
- Research scholarship and grant opportunities at your local
library as well as online. A list of online scholarship resources
and general financial aid information is provided under Scholarship
Links. The Internet can be a powerful tool to find funding for
college! Don't forget to use the same caution on scholarship sites
that you would with any other site on the Internet, especially if
you are asked to provide personal information.
In performing your own Internet search, use keywords that apply to
your situation, including:
- The field you want to study. Look for professional
organizations in that field. For example, a search for "engineering
scholarships" results in several links from groups like the SAE, an
association of professional engineers. Try keywords like "history,"
"science," "dentist," "music," etc.
- The region of the country/world you're from, including high
school, city, county, state, country, etc.
- The region of the country/world where you'd like to study.
- Your gender (some private scholarships are awarded only to
males or only to females).
- Your age, especially if you are a "non-traditional" student.
Students are considered non-traditional if they are returning to
college after spending some time away from education or are
attending college for the first time. Typically, non-traditional
students are 25 or older.
- Your ethnicity/minority status.
- Any disability you or your parents have.
- Veteran status of yourself or parents.
- A skill or activity you enjoy; an achievement you're proud of
or interesting facts about yourself. There are scholarships for
everything from knitting to wearing duct tape clothing to being
- Student organizations you are involved with (FFA, FHA, DECA,
VICA, Key Club, etc.).
- Community organizations, especially those in which you or your
parents participate, such as religious organizations and civic
organizations like Rotary or Lions Club, etc.
- Your parent's or your employer, especially if it is a large
company or corporation.
- An employer you'd like to work for in the future.
Sample searches: scholarship sociology, scholarship Oklahoma City,
scholarship Methodist, scholarship Oklahoma City corporation,
scholarship Walmart, scholarship Murray County, scholarship
knitting, scholarship Pawhuska High School, scholarship Hispanic
female, scholarship rural student
Try searching both "scholarship" and "scholarships," as you will
get different results. Also try multiple forms of other words, for
example, dentist/dentistry and
Be sure you note the eligibility requirements, instructions and
deadlines for scholarships. Follow them carefully! Don't give them
a reason not to consider you for the award.
Some of these hints can also be useful in searching for pre-college
or summer opportunities, like camps and academies, for younger
students. Examples: summer science academy Oklahoma, music camp
Oklahoma, etc. Website addresses can change, so if you have
problems accessing a site, try these suggestions:
- Try the link in a shortened form. For example, if
www.coca-colascholars.org/programs.html wasn't working, you could
try www.coca-colascholars.org and look for the scholarship
information from the home page. Look for such keywords as
"scholarship programs," "education," "students," "community,"
"philanthropy," "fellowships," etc.
- Search for the name of the scholarship or keywords in an
Internet search engine. For example, a search for "Coca-Cola two
year college scholarships" in Google will lead you to the link to
the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.