5 Tips to Scholarship Savings


The Ultimate Scholarship Book is a reliable, comprehensive resource for the scholarship search.

Daniel Porotov, Co-editor-in-Chief

College is expensive. That’s no secret. However, rising tuition costs should not be a discouragement. Aside from the need-based financial aid and merit scholarships that colleges offer as part of their admissions packages, there exist countless scholarships offered by independent donors, societies, and companies. Applying for scholarships while in high school and beyond can make a significant dent in your college tuition. While the majority of high school scholarships are open only to seniors, many allow juniors, sophomores, or even freshmen to apply. Here are several tips to make the scholarship search and application process as efficient and successful as possible. 


Look Local

  • While it can be easy to get carried away by grand scholarships sponsored by corporations which offer tens of thousands of dollars to winners, it is crucial to remember that these scholarships often have thousands of applicants as well. A way to greatly increase the odds of winning a scholarship is to apply to local scholarship offerings instead. Local scholarships have much smaller applicant pools, and are often sponsored by community institutions looking to support local students. Many of these institutions even advertise their need for more applicants, as they often have reserves of monetary awards which go unclaimed. The counseling department routinely posts local scholarship opportunities to Google Classroom, and a search tool is also available in Naviance.

Look Personal

  • Are you a future lawyer or actor? Adhere to a certain faith? Like to play an instrument? Scholarship opportunities abound for specific niches that applicants fill. Just like with local scholarships, applying to a scholarship for which you are the target demographic raises the odds of being considered significantly. 

Shop Small

  • It is important to remember that small scholarships add up. Just like with local scholarships, don’t get carried away by promises of huge cash rewards. Instead, apply for the $500 and $1000 awards, and boost your chances greatly. Remember: each award counts. 

Reuse Essays

  • Many scholarships require students to write essays, but just like with college applications, the essay prompts are often very similar. A helpful time-saving organization tip is to keep a Google Doc purely for scholarship applications, in which to keep all of the essays. Essays can be cut and shifted around, Frankenstein-style, to fit prompts for future scholarship applications.  

Verify Credibility 

  • Many no-essay scholarships and sweepstakes can be found online, promising a minutes-long application with a chance for big rewards. While some of these sites may be credible, the vast majority are created to harvest student data. Remember: If a scholarship seems too good to be true, it probably is. Good places to find credible scholarships are the Ultimate Scholarship Book, Naviance, and search engines like GoingMerry, Bold.org, and Scholarships.com.