Colleges and universities are great places to look for scholarship resources. Some schools are very good about giving internal scholarships through their development and financial aid departments. Other schools offer fewer internal scholarships, but can be very valuable in locating scholarships from outside sources. Here are some things you can do to use your school as a resource in the search for scholarships for college.
This may seem like an obvious one, but the financial aid office is honestly so useful for these things. A lot of financial aid offices have advisors who you can discuss your options with over the phone, since many students may not live in the city where the school is located. There is a pretty high chance they know about opportunities that you don’t. Make an appointment with a financial aid advisor and talk about your options!
My university’s financial aid site also has links to some great scholarship-searching websites. It also lists every departmental, merit-based, and need-based scholarship that the university offers internally for students. Definitely do some browsing on your school’s financial aid site and see if your circumstances and qualifications match-up with any of the opportunities.
Departmental scholarships are great if you know what you’ll be studying or doing post-grad. A lot of departments have scholarships that are specific to students in their areas of study. For example, your university may have a scholarship available only to English majors entering their senior year.
Some are even specific to your career goals (e.g., social work in underserved areas, working as a lawyer for a non-profit law office, researching a specific disease, etc.). These scholarships and grants can be a bit less competitive as well, since they are so precisely defined. Talk to the department head for insight into current and upcoming opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to ask around to find all of the scholarship resources that your college or university has available to you. Getting scholarships for college takes effort, but can pay off in a big way.