Apply for Scholarships

Start researching early, and meet deadlines, and you may be on your way to scholarship success. Scholarship can be the best financial assistance to any college going, student. To know more about the scholarships available and what are their various application criteria read this article.

Updated by Shubharthi Dey on 4th February 2019

How to apply for scholarships?

Scholarships are gifts and gifts are not to be returned. There are thousands of scholarships which are offered by various organizations such as schools, employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, professional and social organizations. So when applying for colleges always look out for scholarship opportunities before you look out for federal or private loans. Since there is no limit to apply for scholarships you can apply for as many of them as you can. 

The Search 

The first step in applying for scholarships is to extensively search for them so that you can get a list of all the scholarships for which you can apply easily without a second thought.

Searching for a scholarship can be a very tedious and time-consuming process, as it can be very difficult to find the right one, but it's worth the reward that it comes with. Most of the people don't apply for scholarships as they have a preconceived notion that this race for scholarships is too competitive. But someone has to win it, so why shouldn't it be you?

A popular misconception about scholarships is that if you are good in academics then only you can get a scholarship. That's not how things work, scholarships are not only merit-based, but they can be need-based or even based on your hobbies, ethnicity, the field of study, social work or community service done, religion and many more.

There are free sources where you can find reliable information about scholarships such as:

A high school or TRIO counselor Your State grant agency
Ethnicity-based organizations Your library’s reference section
Federal agencies The U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool
Local businesses, religious, Foundations, community organizations, or civic groups The financial aid office at a college or career school
Organizations related to your field of interest  

List of some well-known Scholarships

Scholarships are broadly divided into merit-based and need-based:

Merit-Based Scholarship Need-Based Scholarship
Army ROTC Scholarship Scholarships for African American
Bright Futures Scholarship Scholarships for LGBT
Coca-Cola Scholarship Scholarships for Single Mothers
Hope Scholarship Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
Fulbright Scholarship Scholarships for Women

Some of these scholarships are explained below 

Bright Futures Scholarship

  • Funded by the State of Florida, to provide academic assistance to students who had a good academic history 

  • Prize money - 100 % tuition fee, activity and service fee, health fee, athletic fee, financial aid fee, capital improvement fee, campus access/transportation fee, and technology fee

  • Eligibility - Must be a US Citizen, have been a Florida Resident for at least a year, should be pursuing a degree course, should have applied for FAFSA, meet certain academic requirements

  • Deadline - August 

Coca-Cola Scholarship

  • Funded by Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

  • Prize money - $20,000

  • Eligibility - Must be a US Citizen or permanent resident, Current high-school student, should not be related to any coca-cola employee

  • GPA - 3.0 or more

  • Deadline - October

Hope Scholarship

  • Funded by the Georgia State Government, it is also known as Lottery Scholarship

  • Prize money - $20,000

  • Eligibility - Must be a US Citizen or permanent resident, Current high-school student

  • GPA - 3.0 or more

  • Deadline - Summer Semester: July, Fall Semester: November, Spring Semester: April

Scholarships for African American

  • These scholarships are for the partial or complete Afro American natives

  • Prize money - Varies

  • Scholarships - Armstrong Scholarship, George Washington Carver Scholarship, The Pearl Scholarship, etc.

  • Eligibility - Must be a US Citizen or permanent resident, who are partial or complete Afro Americans

  • GPA - 3.0 or more

  • Deadline - Varies

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

  • These scholarships are intended as a whole for the set of peoples who face multiple barriers in education due to their disabilities

  • Prize money - Varies

  • Scholarships - Baer Reintegration Scholarship, Graeme Clark Scholarship, Bennett A. Brown Scholarship, National Federation of the Blind, etc.

  • Eligibility - Must be a US Citizen or permanent resident, with disabilities which include visual impairment, a specific learning disability, an orthopedic impairment, hard of hearing/deafness, or speech disability, among others, should have a strong academic background.

  • GPA - 3.0 or more

  • Deadline - Varies

The Application Process

Once you have decided that you are starting to apply for scholarships. The important thing is that you find a scholarship or award that interests you. 

  • When to apply

Start applying early and often, as some scholars have a deadline before the start of the college

Apply for scholarships every year, even when you are in College

  • How to apply

Since each scholarship has it's own requirements go to the scholarship's website. It would give you a fair idea about selection criteria and how to apply for that particular scholarship. 

Make sure you read all the details carefully, then take your time in writing the essay for the scholarship. As, many scholarships require you to write an essay, and meet the application deadline

  • How do you get the scholarship money

This thing depends on the scholarship provider as they might directly send it to your college, where it would be applied to all the required fees. Then the remaining would be given to you, or they might directly send it to you in the form of a cheque and you are expected to submit it to college. 

Scholarship Application Tips

Be Careful

  • You don't need to pay for scholarships

  • College counselors and financial aid offices will recommend reputable options

Be Diligent

  • Pay close attention to close details related to the scholarship

  • Send whats required and do proofreading, as typos and missing material can be the only difference between winning and losing

Be Honest

  • Don't exaggerate your grades, memberships, skills, or qualifications

Be on Time

  • As they are easy and quick to apply, most of the people would apply. So don't be late

Be Proactive

  • Apply for scholarships every year in your college

Be Thorough

  • Even a $100 can make a huge difference as they can help offset the cost of textbooks and supplies

  • Therefore don't overlook smaller scholarships


Scholarships are a very helpful tool as they would reduce a lot of financial burden from you. Since you don't have to return it back that also reduces your worry about returning it back. A scholarship might cover the entire tuition fee or it might be one time gift. Nevertheless, it is very useful and you should try to apply for as much as possible so that you can have more chance to win one.


  1) How many types of scholarships are there for the students? 

There are many different types of scholarships you can apply for depending upon your eligibility. But all these are based in this two following categories:

  • Merit-Based Scholarship - Scholarships are provided to students who have excelled in a respective field like academics, athletics, arts etc. 

  • Need-based Scholarship - Scholarships are provided to students who are financially not stable and need assistance financially. It is basically a scholarship given to the underprivileged to help them get into a college and make a step in creating a better livelihood. 

  2) How can I increase my chances of a successful application?

There are many ways through which you can increase the chances of your scholarship application to be accepted. Some of them are listed below:

  • Provide everything the scholarship application asks for in the application form. 

  • Be socially active and mention that in the application form as well. 

  • You should have a good GPA, that is, a minimum of 3.0 GPA is mandatory. 

  • While writing the essay, you should be brief and precise and should be able to answer the question as properly as possible. 

  • You need to send a letter of recommendation which is to be written by your employer/mentor, teacher coach etc showing that why do you deserve the scholarship.  

   3) Will health problems create an obstacle to be awarded a scholarship?

No, there won't be any obstacles in your scholarship application. In fact, there are many scholarships programs that provide scholarships for the students with disabilities and illness. But, you need to prove your illness and disability to be granted with the scholarship. These scholarship programs help the student with illness and disability to overcome their obstacles, study and pursue a good livelihood.  

  4) Do I have to pay back the scholarship grant amount?

No, You don't have to pay back your scholarship amount awarded to you. Scholarship money is free money, it's a gift which can be used by the needy and pay for their tuition/college fees and other educational related expenses. But if you drop out of college there are chances where you'll have to pay some amount of the scholarship back. 

  5) What if I use the college scholarship amount in other expenses? 

You can use the scholarship amount to pay your college/university tuition fees and if recommended by the scholarship granting committee, you can spend the amount on other educational related expenses too. Some scholarship granting committee directly pay to your college/university, so you won't receive the amount. Give a good research the scholarships providing committee and then apply to the ones in which you are eligible.