Indiana College Costs Estimator

Free Scholarship Search

How do wise students start their scholarship search?

First and foremost - start early. Paying close attention to application deadlines, which often come much earlier in the senior year (or even before) than most people think. The high school guidance office can often be a first step in the journey. Most scholarship providers have high school guidance addresses on their mailing lists, and counselors generally have an established way to advertise the available scholarships to students and parents.

Take a look at a copy of the high school awards night at the end of the year. This will generally list names of scholarships that students from that school have received, and these are ones that you can possibly pursue when you are a senior.

Ask the guidance counselor how to find out about a particular scholarship or contact the granting agency itself for additional information.

Some other sources of POSSIBLE SCHOLARSHIPS to investigate include:

  • Community resources (local trust funds, civic associations, community foundations, social and professional clubs, fraternal organizations {e.g., Elks, Moose, Kiwanis, Sertoma}, patriotic and veteran’s organizations)
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Extra-curricular organizations (4-H, Boy Scouts, music organizations, civic theaters, community service organizations, etc.)
  • Hospitals or other health service providers
  • Military (ROTC scholarships for the Army, Navy, and Air Force)
  • Parent’s and student’s employers

Word of Caution

There are many companies who are willing to sell students their scholarship search services, sometimes for hundreds of dollars. Some of these companies are reputable, but many prey on willing students and parents. These companies can find scholarships for students, but enterprising students and parents can find the same scholarships on their own with a little initiative and dedicated time. Also be careful of the “free offers” on some scholarship sites. They typically are set up to attract students as they navigate through the site, but often these “free” offers redirect the user to potentially expensive offers for other products and services.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides the following tips for scholarship search services:

  1. Determine whether the company is actually offering a scholarship or is simply a search service. if the company claims to actually award a scholarship, be aware that most scholarship sponsors do not charge up-front fees to apply for funding, and no legitimate scholarship sponsor can guarantee that you will win an award.
  2. Understand that scholarship search services do not award scholarships. These companies charge a fee to compare your profile with a database of scholarship opportunities and provide a list of awards for which you may qualify. They do not provide awards directly to applicants, nor do they help students apply for the awards. Some will list scholarships even if the application deadlines are past.
  3. Don't give out credit card or bank account information on the phone or over the Internet without getting information in writing first. It may be a set-up for an unauthorized charge or withdrawal.
  4. Don't forget the age-old rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Try any of the great web sites listed below that feature scholarship and financial aid information. Take the time to research scholarships that might be a good match. Also, keep in mind that local scholarships generally will have smaller applicant pools, increasing your chances of receiving an award. Take the time to research local scholarships that might be a match first, then visit the larger national websites.

Free Scholarship Searches


 College Board's Scholarship Search
 School Soup