The Ultimate Guide to Finding College Scholarship Opportunities

christ church oxford universityPaying for college is a top concern for many college-bound individuals. When thinking of obtaining money for college, resources that many people shy away from are scholarships. The application and essay process can be a big turnoff for many, but scholarships have completely paid for many winners’ educations, with some receiving as much as $200,000 over the course of their studies, proving that the initial time investment totally pays for itself. So this is definitely a money source you don’t want to turn your back on. New and returning students alike have access to billions of dollars of scholarships. Most scholarships can be found in the usual places online, in books or at your college of choice, while others can be a bit harder to find but are worth the extra research. Here are a few ideas of places to search for scholarships:

Use the Web
The Internet offers a goldmine of free scholarship databases. Check out sites like and, which allow you to search for over $1.6 billion worth of scholarships. You’ll find no end to the possibilities. ┬áMany of the sites out there offer keyword searches if you are looking for a particular type of award and even a profile search that matches scholarships to a personal profile you create. The Web is the easiest way to find the most scholarships in the shortest amount of time.

Buy a Book
There are quite a few authors that have played the scholarship game, won big time awards and have decided to share their secrets with the masses. Gen and Kelly Tanabe were awarded over $100,000 in scholarships and have published The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2010. The book includes over 1.5 million awards and scholarships that can be used at any college and insider advice on how to win scholarships. Be sure to visit their website at to search for more scholarships. Another book that offers a ton of scholarship leads is The Scholarship Book, 13th Edition by Daniel J. Cassidy. The guide gives access to over 4,000 scholarship resources, 400,000 awards worth more than $2 billion, and awards up to $40,000 per year.

Talk to a Financial Aid Officer
These professionals are well-versed in paying for college. They can direct you to the most appropriate scholarships for your situation. Before you give them a call and set an appointment, take an inventory of your skills, talents, interests and hobbies as well as any family situations that might qualify you for an unusual award. A financial aid officer can be found at your local college or university.

Access Professional Associations
What is your future career? For example, are you going into the nursing field? Then you will want to research professional nursing associations to find out what scholarships they award. Most professional associations can guide you to industry specific scholarships if they don’t offer one themselves.

Think Big Business
Many big companies have created foundations that award scholarships. Check out websites for biggies like Pepsi, Quaker and Tropicana who offer scholarships. Many of the big corporations offer scholarships to support the communities that support their businesses. Some scholarships are specifically for certain majors like computer programming or sales and marketing, but many others are for general applicants.

(photo credit: Scr47chy)

  • kt

    when i was in college, i used the internet and while i really did not get the scholarship(partly because i was not so serious in the search) i can attest that this option is more than enough for someone seriously looking for one. i know quite a few people that have gotten scholarships over the internet. big business is also a good idea but the thing with them is that they insist in sterling performance and most make you work for them for a few years after college.

  • David/yourfinances101

    I’d say the web is your best asset here.

    You should be able to do all the comparing you need there.

    Great post

  • Ninta

    I am still in high school and live in Jakarta (Indonesia) and have a dream that some day I could continue my study abroad. I will depend so much on scholarships. Thanks for the information.

  • Micah Wolfe

    I am 22 year old single male with limited income. This article has provided information that I was completely unaware of. Thank you so much Joanna for bringing this to my attention.. Now for some work finding the right scholarships for me.

  • Jnifer

    These experts are well-versed within paying for university. They can immediate you to the best scholarships for the situation. Before you decide to give them the call and hang an appointment, consider an inventory of the skills, abilities, interests as well as hobbies in addition to any loved ones situations that may qualify a person for an uncommon award. An economic aid official can be found at the local university or college.