The Complete Guide To Finding The Best College Scholarships – Just For You
Let’s be real, most high school students aren’t properly taught how to find outside scholarships when applying to college. In reality, there’s a plethora of scholarships, especially for Black and Latino students, but you just have to find them first. And we’ve got you!
The burden that comes with paying for college is exasperated for Black and Brown students. Outside of tuition, paying for room and board, meal plans, books, school supplies and anything else you’d need each semester really starts to add up. When I started the application process at 17 years old, I sat in meeting after meeting with my guidance counselor, who walked me through the process of applying for federal loans through FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) while she backhandedly suggested that I also apply for outside scholarships with little to no guidance on how to go about that process. Since scholarships provided by a university are chosen seemingly at random, outside scholarships can greatly alleviate the cost of higher education. Unlike federal or private loans, you don’t have to pay this money back.
Luckily, there are tons of resources that give you scholarships for any interest or characteristic you may have; from wanting to study journalism or become a veterinarian to starting a knitting club at school or being an only child. So where do you start? We’ve provided a breakdown of the best online resources for finding scholarships to either help fund your education or anything else you’ll need!
United Negro College Fund
If you're a Black student in undergrad or grad school, the United Negro College Fund is your best resource to find scholarships catered to you. UNCF is constantly updating their list of scholarships, so you can apply all year round. But, as their website states, UNCF is "the nation’s leading minority education organization and our goal is to help you get to and through college." From scholarships and internships to emergency financial assistance and free textbooks, UNCF is an organization specifically geared towards helping Black students pursuing higher education.
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is the nation's largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community through scholarships, research initiatives, programs, and strategic partnerships. Founded in 1987, the fund has awarded more than $300 million in assistance to its students and member schools and distributes 98 percent of its awards exclusively to historically Black colleges and Universities and PBIs – more than any other organization that supports the Black College Community.
Scholly is a scholarship app made for a Black student for Black students, so this is an obvious choice for your college scholarship needs. Christopher Gray, who recently teamed up with Jesse Williams, literally created Scholly while he was in college himself after receiving a significant amount of scholarship money to fund his education. Not only does Scholly help you find scholarships, there are also opportunities to get funding in order to pay off your student loan debt!
With a name like Scholarships.com, it’s pretty self-explanatory that this website is the perfect source for finding ways to fund your college career. By simply creating an account, this website matches you with any applicable scholarship from different universities, organizations and even the government.
Cappex is definitely a website you should have in your college career toolkit! With profiles for universities across the globe, Cappex will help you find the college that best fits you after you create your unique profile. If you’re unsure of what to study, they even help you find the perfect college major for your interests! This website is the perfect source for finding personalized scholarship and grant matches just for you!
Fastweb is like the lottery for getting some serious cash! According to their website, their targeted scholarships help you by finding “scholarships just for you based on your strengths, interests, and skills.” In creating an account, you can find scholarships based on your achievements in high school, where you’re deciding to go to school or what you hope to do with your degree. They provide you with the name of the scholarship, how much money you can potentially get and when the cutoff is for applying.
Big Future by The College Board
If you took the SAT or any standardized test, you know what the College Board website is. This website is crucial in the start of your college search process, giving you tips, tricks and tests to prepare for the SATs. They also have an entire section dedicated to paying for college, helping students and parents understand financial aid, what costs you’ll face going into college and, most importantly, how to apply for scholarships or grants. In creating a profile, College Board will find which criteria you best fit for a variety of scholarship opportunities depending on your academic achievements or extracurricular activities.
Chegg is the perfect source for basically everything you’ll need throughout your college career. From buying or renting books to studying tools and online tutors, Chegg sets you up with everything you’ll need to be successful. They also have a great resource for finding scholarships once you set up your personalized profile.
It’s in the name! Niche helps you find scholarships by categories or by matching you with them based on your specific qualities and skills. They even help you by ranking colleges, offering no-essay scholarships and helping you calculate the cost of admissions into particular universities you’re interested in.
In three easy steps, Unigo will help you find the perfect scholarships you need in order to fund your education. Just sign up, make your profile, look through your personalized scholarship results, and then you apply! Every month, you’ll find new scholarship opportunities, a.k.a free money!
Alicia Keys Open Door Scholarship
As part of Frum Tha Ground Up, the Alicia Keys Open Door Scholarship was started by road manager D.J. Walton and Grammy-award winner Alicia Keys and offers four scholarships for $5,000 each to students from Jacksonville, New Orleans, Atlanta, and New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. In exchange for the scholarship funds, recipients must represent the organization at various school or public appearances and perform community service acts each semester.
Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Fund
The Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Fund offers students in financial need at Morehouse College to become intellectual, social, and moral leaders in their careers and communities. To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled as a full-time student at Morehouse, be U.S. citizens, maintain satisfactory academic progress, and possess a high school diploma or GED certificate. The fund’s motto is “When you empower a black man, you light up the world.”
Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship
The Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship was founded by Jay-Z and provides grants ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 yearly to cover the expenses of tuition, textbooks, room and board, and educational travel to prospective students. Eligible high school seniors and undergraduate college students must be U.S. citizens, 25 years old or younger, and have a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher. Recipients are required to conduct community service and serve as mentors to younger scholars. The fund’s goal is to remove some of the financial burdens for under-served youth and young adults.