How to Find Outside Scholarships to Help Pay for College

Paying for college is a big concern for many families, but fear not: as you may have heard, there’s lots of free money out there to help you pay for college. You just need to know where to look and then make the time to go after it!

If you’re a high school junior or younger, this is the prime time for tracking down outside scholarships. Let’s get to it.

Start at Your Counseling Office

First things first — drop in or make an appointment at your high school’s counseling or guidance office to ask about local scholarships. You can also check for a directory of local awards in the guidance section of your school’s website. These awards are typically sponsored by local businesses, community foundations, or area chapters of groups like the Lions Club, Rotary International and others. Maybe your school even holds an awards ceremony in the spring where these scholarships are doled out to the senior class. Don’t miss these!

Yes, Check the Internet

By far the largest source of information about outside scholarships is, you guessed it, online. Scholarship and college search sites like FastwebCappex (one of Hope’s partners) and FinAid.org make it easy to find scholarships for which you might qualify. You can even filter for opportunities that match your demographic and academic background.

As with anything online, be vigilant — make sure you’re only taking the time to pursue scholarship opportunities from reputable companies and organizations. And don’t spend any money to access scholarship directories or hire a company to do the search for you, either. There are plenty of reputable (and free!) resources out there.

Now, Get to Work!

Of course, it’s not enough to simply find these outside scholarships. No, you actually have to apply for them, and this is where my best advice comes in. If you can, make searching and applying for outside scholarships your part-time job (or one of them!) during your junior and senior years.

It seems like every year there’s an inspiring story about some high school senior who applied for hundreds of outside scholarships. Sure she got turned down for most of them, but she was awarded the other 20, and they added up quickly. What if you spent 30 minutes a day working on scholarship stuff? You might be surprised at what you can earn by investing the time and showing up every day.

Getting Paid

So you’ve received some outside scholarships! That’s awesome. Most organizations will want to be in touch with your college or university of choice to find out where to send the award money. Others will write a check made out to you that you can use for books, tuition, or even a new computer for school.

Leave No Stone Unturned

And finally, make sure you’ve maximized all of the internal scholarship opportunities available at your schools of choice. Have you applied for academic scholarships? What about auditioning for an artistic award? Lastly, be sure you’ve filed for need-based aid.


So there you have it! Some quick ideas on finding outside scholarships to pay for college. As with anything, what you get out of this has much to do with the time you spend doing it. Good luck!

Job or No Job?

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about getting jobs on campus, so I thought it would be very beneficial if I posted about it and shared it with everyone! So here’s the question:

Should I get a job in college?

You have several options which is the great thing. When I was a freshman, I decided NOT to get a job. Why? I truly wanted to transition into college and did not want to worry about other commitments. I wanted to make sure I could handle managing my time as well. All in all, I am happy I didn’t have a job, I just focused on making the first year a great experience!

But when it came to sophomore year, I not only wanted a job, but needed one. In the beginning of every academic year, Hope hosts a “Work Fair.” There, you can apply for on-campus jobs, including being office assistants, mailroom workers, or library workers. Don’t worry, though, there are many more jobs than that. It’s really a great opportunity to be able to communicate with on-campus employers! It is important to note that for the Work Fair, work-awarded students through the Financial Aid office will have priorities on those jobs. Once those jobs are filled, they are distributed to everyone else.

There are other awesome opportunities for jobs. Hope has a job posting site called JobStop where they list on and off campus jobs which is very beneficial. For some jobs on campus, professors or faculty will ask you to do a job, or apply for one! An example is a TA (teaching assistant) position. I had the opportunity to apply for a TA position my sophomore and have been one ever since! And I also applied through JobStop to this position of a student blogger!

Ultimately, jobs during school are beneficial. It’s really up to you when you want to start. There are plenty of jobs available too. Some people have jobs so they can pay their tuition money, some have them for spending money, and there are some folks who do both! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Hope this helps!

FINANCIAL TIPS FOR STUDENTS!!!!

Hello Hello Helloooo!

I am Forrest, the newest Blogger and I’d like to share with everyone what I have been working on during these cold, icy days.

Budgetting! Woooooo. NO MORE IMPULSE BUYING.big_9424e990d16d234fe3c61b02c4a3fc4a6471a006

It is important to always remember to be proactive about your bank accounts everyone.

I would like to spend a few moments and confess that shopping therapy is my favorite kind of therapy during weeks when exams and papers dominate my life.  My philosophy is: “TREAT YO SELF” moments are important to remaining healthy and motivated.  Going out occasionally for an ice cream or a dinner at the CityVu Bistro (such a nice view of Holland) can really make a rough day more relaxing.  However, I am often prone to making these special nights on my own or with my girlfriend the new standard and am tempted, making every night possible a “TREAT YO SELF” moment therefore destroying the special value behind the experience.  So here are some tips on how I analyze my spending habits and not have to worry about paying for emergency laptop repairs.

1. USE CASH.

Yeah, simple right? I am pretty lazy and I personally do not like having to go to the ATM to withdraw cash, but I have found that if I leave my debit/credit card(s) at home, I’m forced into a position where I must count the pennies leaving my pocket rather than just swiping the card. You feel the weight of your wallet lighten with each day and it forces you to reconsider whether that 4-dollar coffee from your local coffee shop is really worth 4 dollars (buy a coffee machine, you save so much after the initial cost of purchase). By limiting yourself to a certain amount of cash per ATM visit, you can successfully save 70% of your paycheck for something bigger than coffee and before you know it, you’ll have the purchasing power to pay off student debts, fix your car, buy books, or invest in a personal hobby.

2. CREDIT CARDS.

So, now you are a student, but it is never too early to build your FICO score. Credit cards may have a bad rap, but keep in mind the people that are giving credit cards a hard time probably don’t know how to use one. Credit cards have many benefits to college students, “Discover” often do not require a FICO score and will give 5% cashback opportunities on purchases for gas or office supplies. The only time credit companies will charge you is if you are late on your monthly statement. These “APR Fees” are usually slapped on top of the amount owed and can range between 16-24% so pay those bills on time to avoid the late fee! Keep in mind some credit cards will require annual fees, do not get those. You’re a student; bootstrap your capital, there are plenty of credit companies that do not require you to pay a fee.

Here are some nice tips:

  • Don’t get too many credit cards, just stick to one, maybe two as credit companies will become wary about your intentions and it could hurt your FICO score in the long run.
  • PAY YO STATEMENTS OFF ASAP
  • Do not spend more than 20% of your credit limit within a month
  • Just use your credit card to build credit score, it will pay off if there is ever a day you wake up in Botswana and your bank account is frozen and you need to pay for an emergency plane ticket back.

Nerdwallet is a nice website to learn more about credit cards.

3. ANALYZE PURCHASES MADE ON YOUR CARDS

Mint.com is my best friend. I have it on my phone and I check on it every evening before I sleep to make sure I have not overspent during the day. Go ahead and take a look, it’s slim UI helps you budget your spending and attach your debit/credit accounts for free. It also has a cool pie graph to show where your money went.