Going to college can be incredibly scary. Now of course there’s the whole moving away to another state or city, having to make new friends and taking college level classes. But scarier than all of that? Paying for it all. Education is no joke for your wallet and paying for it yourself can be incredibly intimidating. With the use of scholarships however, it is possible.
For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite college scholarship websites to help you get the most aid you possibly can!
And this list doesn’t just apply to high school seniors. There are a lot of scholarships that you can begin to apply for as early as freshman year of high school. Many scholarship programs will hold the funds for around four years if you apply and receive the scholarship.
Many scholarships on these websites are offered for those in high school but also extend to those completing their undergraduate degree. If you really narrow down your search there’s a whole category for those of you completing your master’s or higher!
It is important to note that many of these scholarships require you to fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which you can fill out here.
If you don’t know what the FAFSA is, it is essentially the government asking for documents like your parents taxes to determine how much federal aid (that’s money you don’t have to pay back!) that you should be given for school.
By using your FAFSA many scholarships will determine how much financial aid you are requiring and consider that in their application process. In non-need based scholarships the FAFSA is still usually required in order to submit your application.
One of my favorite scholarship sites is UNIGO. UNIGO is a great website to head to when you’re tired of writing professional personal essays. This website is a portal to lead you to many scholarships being offered online as well as a fun monthly scholarship that is offered by them.
Their college scholarship topics range from “What ice cream flavor do you think you’d be and why?” to how you personally would try to survive a zombie apocalypse. At $1500 a piece, if selected, how could you not write a short essay on these topics?
They also offer a yearly $10,000 scholarship and get this: it’s still a super fun topic! For the Unigo $10K Scholarship the topic is this: “Imagine a historical figure is brought back to life. Who is it? What’s their favorite mobile app?”
One of the best parts about Unigo is that you don’t have to be a phenomenal and verbose writer because all of your essay submissions must be 250 words or less.
Get Schooled is one of the most unique websites I’ve ever been on. They have a scholarship portal with hundreds of scholarships, and they also have articles, quizzes, games, polls, videos, discussions and tools to help you become college ready. This website isn’t only a wonderful tool for before college, I am a sophomore in college right now and I still like to use the site.
For their scholarship portal, much like other services, you can filter them so that your not rifling through a bunch of scholarships you’re not qualified for. Once you find a scholarship that you like through their portal, you can apply for it, save it, or share it on social media.
Not only can you be making serious bank in scholarship money, with almost every activity you complete on the website, you earn points. These points can be redeemed in their online store with prizes ranging form brand new Nike gear, to Play Station Vitas, to stickers and so much more.
But wait, there’s more! All of this, plus super cool social media engagement (they gave out scholarships over Twitter once!) and an endorsement by the DJ Khaled. Get Schooled is the place to go if you’re looking for a good time while still applying for that fin-aid.
Finally, a staple in the college scholarship community is scholarships.com. While not as flashy or fun as the previous two, the real goal when applying for aid in school is exactly that, to get aid in school. Their website boasts of having over 3.7 million different scholarships and grants totaling out to about $19 billion in aid to help you pay for college.
Let me say that one more time. 3.7 million different scholarships and grants. There is something on this website for everyone.
You must make an account before you begin your free search into all of these scholarships. The account is there so that you can save scholarships you’re not quite ready to apply for yet, and also so that they can help refine your specific search for you.
Don’t for get about your school’s scholarships!
Towards the end of your senior year, your high school may have their own scholarships to give out based on how involved you are in your high school community. These are great to apply for as there is often a lot less competition for a school based scholarship rather than say, a national scholarship.
If you high school doesn’t have any scholarships, look into your future college! Most colleges should have a scholarship portal on their website for students just like you, looking for more aid. Most of these are major based, but there are always a few that anyone in the school is eligible for.
Scholarship hunting can be stressful, but paying for college doesn’t have to be. Good luck on those applications!
Also published on Medium.