Now is the perfect time to make your scholarship plan. You may be able to apply for some scholarships as a junior, or you can scout out good opportunities and keep track of deadlines for your senior year.
A scholarship is free money for college that usually doesn’t need to be paid back. Often students will need to demonstrate that they deserve the money—either because they earn good grades, get involved in community service, are a member of a specific group (such as being of a particular ethnicity or being economically disadvantaged) or meet other criteria. Scholarships are sponsored by large and small organizations, the government and colleges. No matter who you are, there is a scholarship for you!
Scholarship search websites
- National scholarships: Create an account at FastWeb.com to receive free email alerts about scholarships that fit your characteristics and to browse thousands of scholarships. Scholarships.com offers similar opportunities, and StudentAid.ed.gov is the federal government’s scholarship search tool.
- Local scholarships: Scout out the Indiana College Costs Estimator resources to find local scholarships in Indiana. Don’t forget that you can also use the Indiana College Costs Estimator (or the mobile app) to compare the estimated financial aid you will receive from Indiana colleges.
- Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship: Are you considering graduating from high school early and starting college? If so, you may qualify for this scholarship.
- More state aid options: The state of Indiana offers other grant opportunities as well. You may qualify for aid by being the child of a veteran, for example. For some of the opportunities, you are eligible simply by filing the FAFSA. For others, you’ll need to fill out a form and meet deadlines.
Scholarship tips & tricks
View our Scholarships webinar to get the most up-to-date information from scholarship experts. A few more tricks to keep in mind:
- Practice your writing skills. Because an essay is so often part of the scholarship process, it’s important that you have strong writing skills. It’s never too early to work on your grammar, spelling and vocabulary.
- Be aware of scams. Never pay for a scholarship search. There are plenty of free, legitimate search sites. Don’t give out your bank information to a scholarship search site.
- Apply, apply, apply. The only way you are going to be awarded a scholarship (other than those in your financial aid package) is if you apply! Don’t be discouraged by the time it takes to compile a strong application. The investment is worth it. You can get thousands of dollars in scholarships, and you won’t have to pay it back.
- Keep track of deadlines. You won’t want to miss an opportunity just because you forgot a key date. Use your planner to mark important deadlines, including FAFSA deadlines.