Scholarships refer to a gift of money that does not have to be repaid and are offered to students to help defray the cost of attending college. Scholarships are typically awarded outside of the college’s financial aid awarding process and require students to actively research and find them. Scholarships are usually awarded to students who meet certain requirements – it could be based on academic performance, athletic skills or other factors. There are scholarships given out for almost anything you can imagine! Did you know that there is a scholarship given out to left-handed people?



1. Be careful of scholarship scams. No real scholarship will ask you to pay any money to receive the scholarship. If someone calls or emails you offering a scholarship be very careful. Real scholarships are awarded after an application process and are not just given out over the phone. Click here for more information about scams.
2. Keep track of deadlines. Make sure to enter dates into your calendar and give yourself enough time to write essays and complete the application.
3. Make sure you’re actually eligible. A lot of scholarships have very specific criteria for who’s eligible to apply, so double check before you spend time on a application.
4. Don’t fall into the raffle trap and just enter every email-based scholarship that comes. Find a few that you are uniquely eligible for and spend the time to complete a high quality application.
5. There are scholarships for everyone , even undocumented students, so ask your Coach or your college/guidance counselor if you’re not finding any scholarships you feel you are eligible for.
6. Note the scholarship application deadline. It helps to start your search and applications early, but don’t worry if you missed out on some of the earliest scholarship deadlines – there are lots of scholarships all with different deadlines. There are also many scholarships available to college students so be sure to apply for scholarships every year you’re in college too!


Finding scholarships takes a lot of research and patience but the payoff can be totally worth it. Here are some places you can research scholarships:

● Your guidance or college counselor will have lists of many scholarships (including local scholarships)
● Your local library may have scholarship search resources
● Ask the school you’re applying to if there are additional scholarship resources available – most schools will automatically put your name in for these scholarships when you apply for financial aid but it’s worth checking to see if there’s any other college scholarships that you’ll eligible for.
● There are many scholarship search websites out there – we’ve listed a few in the table below. Remember you should never have to pay to to search for or receive a scholarship.

Start with these websites to begin a scholarship search that’s tailored to you:

Peterson’s: This website boasts over $10 billion in scholarship awards that are easily searchable and filtered using a quick survey. Unigo: Offers a very comprehensive scholarship search and on a very user-friendly site, including profile-based matching and easy-to-browse categories.
Fastweb: This website’s filters make it easy to find what you’re looking for. One downside is that you need to fill out a fairly extensive profile to get started, but that profile will help match you to scholarships to suit your needs. Niche: One of the easiest sites to navigate and it makes it simple to start finding and applying to scholarships. No required sign up.
College Board Big Futures Scholarship Search: Find scholarships and other financial aid. Enter as much information as possible to find the best matches. College Greenlight: An awesome scholarship resource aimed at first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students. Fully searchable and will email you “match” scholarships.
Scholarships.com: One of the largest databases of scholarships an updated daily. You can browse by category but the most effective way of finding what you’re looking for is to make a profile. US Dept of Labor careeronestop: Search over 7,500 grants and scholarships. Look through the whole list of scholarships arranged in order of closest deadline, search by keyword or use the filters to see only awards for certain award types, locations, level of study, and more
Scholarsnapp: A new platform by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation that increases efficiency by allowing students to sync up their data and use it across multiple scholarship applications.


Your college/guidance counselor can help you learn about scholarships for students from your high school or town. Often these scholarships are given by:

● Local churches, mosques, synagogues or other religious communities
● Local branches of organizations like the Rotary Club or Kiwanis
● Your or your parents’ employers
New York:
NY scholarship search @ unigo.com
NY scholarship search @scholarships.com
PA scholarship search @ scholarships.com
PA scholarship search @ unigo.com
ME scholarship search @ scholarships.com
ME scholarship search @ famemaine.com
New Jersey:
NJ scholarship search @ scholarships.com
NJ scholarship search @ unigo.com
Rhode Island:
RI scholarship search @ unigo.com
RI scholarship search @ rischolarships.org
CT scholarship search @ scholarships.com
CT scholarship search @ unigo.com
MA scholarship search @ scholarships.com
MA scholarship search @ unigo.com
Other States:
Scholarships.com: scholarships listed by state

National scholarships are open to people all over the country, so expect more competition for these scholarships. Deadlines for these scholarships can be quite early but the scholarship sizes can be large. Some national scholarships are:

Scholarships for Black/African-American Students:
Black Excel’s list of 100 Minority Scholarships
UNCF’s Scholarship List
Scholarships for Latino/a/x Students:
Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholarship List
USHLI Hispanic Scholarship Directory
Adelante Fund Scholarships
Scholarships for Asian Students:
Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund
Search results from Scholarships.com
Scholarships for American Indian/Native American Students:
Summary of many federal and state scholarship programs for Native American students
Scholarships for Undocumented Students:
Let’s Get Ready’s list of Scholarships for undocumented students.
USHLI Hispanic Scholarship Directory (Click on the link for Non-Citizen Scholarship Directory)
MALDEF Scholarship Guide
Scholarships for LGBTQ Students:
Summary from Fastweb.com
Scholarships for First-Generation or First In Family Students:
Scholarship.com search results
Unigo search results


Scholarship: ​This general term refers to monetary grants and awards that do not have to be repaid and are offered to
students to help defray the costs of attending college. Scholarships​ may be based on financial need, merit, or a
combination of the two.

Gap: ​The difference between the financial aid package offered to a student and the student’s actual need is often
referred to as the gap.

Grant​: A type of financial aid based on financial need, this money does not need to be repaid.
Merit-Based Aid: ​Scholarships based on academic achievement or in recognition of talents/accomplishments, such as
musical ability or community service, and not on financial need, these awards are generally institution-specific and may
require separate applications.

Outside Scholarships: ​These scholarships can also be called “private scholarships” and are funded by sources other than
a college or university.

Modified from Collegistics “Financial Aid and Scholarships: Frequently Used Terms”