Finding free money for college takes a lot of time, but hard cold cash is better than taking out loans no matter how low the interest rate. So, searching for scholarships and grants is well worth the effort.
It’s easy to become completely overwhelmed when you first start your scholarship search. One way to stay on top of your progress is to record every site or organization offering a scholarship on the same spreadsheet. At the end of this post, you can grab our sample Google Sheet to get you started.
Organize scholarships by category or make it simple and enter them in alphabetical order or by their application deadline. Just keep it consistent and you won’t wind up applying for the same scholarship three times and you won’t miss a deadline.
There are a lot of sites out there with scholarship databases. Not all of the information is accurate and we don’t all share the same database. That means you really shouldn’t limit yourself to just one source. Think of each of these sites - Tuition Assist included - as one way for you to search for money to pay tuition, fees, and living expenses.
New scholarships are constantly being created by national organizations and local businesses. Even private citizens create local scholarships to reward students in their communities. When these scholarships are one-time awards, you may never find them in a database online.
Don’t limit your scholarship search to websites, Internet searches, or directories. Check with your guidance counselor if you are in high school and check the websites for the colleges you wish to attend. They often have information on scholarships and grants available to their students.
Once you find something you are interested in, your best bet is to research that scholarship directly and go to the official website or to the organization that manages it. You are much more likely to find accurate information about the scholarship, its requirements, and its deadline if you go directly to the source.
This is especially important for scholarships that require projects or essays. You don’t want to waste time writing an essay on last year’s topic or pulling together a complete scholarship package this month for a scholarship that had a deadline last month or that no longer exists.