The cost of a college education is rising steeply and many students explore options for payment. If you feel that you qualify for a scholarship, it is best to start preparing for it in high school. Here we provide a comprehensive overview of the college scholarship application process in the US and offer tips and advice for increasing your chances of receiving scholarships.
Types of Scholarships For College
Scholarships are a valuable way for students to finance their education, and various types are available to suit different needs and backgrounds. See the list below for the complete list of scholarships available.
Recognizing students who have excelled in academics, athletics, or the arts, these scholarships reward and support those who have achieved a high level. These awards help further the education of talented individuals and are given based on merit.
Offered to students based on their financial needs, these scholarships aim to support those who might not otherwise be able to afford college. Considering a family's income and other financial circumstances, need-based scholarships ensure everyone has a chance to pursue higher education.
Offered by individual colleges and universities, these scholarships may be based on academic merit, financial need, or a combination of both. From specific academic departments to the college as a whole, these scholarships provide students with tailored opportunities for financial support.
Targeted towards students pursuing specific careers, such as education, engineering, or healthcare, these scholarships aim to support individuals interested in fields that serve a critical need in society or are in high demand. By providing financial support, these awards help students achieve their career goals.
These scholarships are designed to provide financial support and encourage underrepresented groups, such as African American, Hispanic, or Native American students, to pursue higher education. By recognizing and supporting these groups, minority scholarships help ensure a more diverse student body.
Community Service Scholarships
Awarded to students who have demonstrated a commitment to community service, these scholarships recognize and reward individuals who have made a positive impact through volunteerism, activism, or other forms of service.
Designed for students with specific backgrounds, such as military veterans, first-generation college students, or single parents, these scholarships acknowledge and support the unique challenges faced by certain groups. By providing financial support, these awards help these students achieve their educational goals.
Offered by corporations and businesses, these scholarships can be based on merit, financial need, or a combination of both. These awards provide companies with an opportunity to invest in the education of future employees or members of their community.
Offered by community organizations, foundations, or local businesses, these scholarships may be awarded through competitions or contests, such as essay contests, or for meeting specific criteria, such as community service or leadership. These awards provide students with opportunities for financial support at the local level.
Sponsored by national organizations or foundations, such as the Department of Education in the US, these scholarships can be based on merit, financial need, or a combination of both. These awards provide students with opportunities for financial support on a larger scale and help further their education on a national level.
At Crimson, we believe every qualified student should have a fair shot at a world-class education — which is why our teams work so hard to help students identify their best fit universities and exceed admissions expectations in application processes they’re often unfamiliar with.
We think expert guidance on the journey to a world-leading university should be available to any student with the passion, ambition and discipline to succeed, regardless of their financial circumstances.
Learn more about how you can benefit from our scholarship opportunities.
Can I afford to study in the US?
How to find scholarships that are right for you?
The most important step of getting a scholarship is researching and finding the right ones. There are many ways to find scholarships that match your interests, skills, and qualifications.
It's essential to thoroughly research and carefully review the requirements for each scholarship you are interested in and to submit a complete and well-written application to increase your chances of being awarded a scholarship. Here are a few places you could search for scholarships:
- College or university financial aid office: Many colleges and universities have a financial aid office that can provide information about scholarships specifically for their students. You can search individual college websites to find out about what they offer, and you can also find department-specific or alumni scholarship information on the college website. Some scholarships are also available to a specific group of universities, e.g., Questbridge, Posse, or Stamps.
- Government websites: Federal Student Aid and the U.S. Department of Labor offer information on government-funded scholarships. If you plan to attend college in-state, you may be eligible for scholarships from the state government that are separate from state grant funding, e.g., Arkansas Challenge or Florida Bright Futures.
- Professional organizations: Many organizations offer scholarships to students pursuing careers in their field.
- Community foundations: Community foundations often have information on local scholarships available in your area.
- Online scholarship search engines: Websites such as Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and CollegeBoard allow you to search for scholarships based on your criteria, such as academic achievements, interests, or financial needs.
- High school guidance counselor: Your high school guidance counselor may have information on local and national scholarships and can help you with the scholarship application process. Also, your counselor can keep you in mind when they have opportunities to nominate students for awards.
- Contests and competitions: If you have a specific interest or skill, you can enter competitions or submit your work to contests for prize money. In addition to earning cash for college, you can include the recognition on your applications to demonstrate your extracurricular strengths, e.g., FIRST Robotics Competition, UnCommon Goods Art Scholarship, Signet Essay Contest, etc.
- Teachers: Your teachers have seen plenty of past students and may be able to give you personalized advice.
- Extracurricular organizations: See if any extracurricular organizations you're a part of offer scholarships to members, either at the local or national level. (e.g., National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta)
- Private Companies: Some private companies offer scholarships to students who meet specific criteria, such as being an employee’s child or pursuing a particular field of study.
How to apply for scholarships?
The process for scholarship application typically involves the following steps:
- Research: Find scholarships that match your eligibility criteria and align with your educational or career goals.
- Prepare required documents: Gather all necessary documents, such as transcripts, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation.
- Complete the application: Fill out the scholarship application form, including personal information and academic background.
- Write an essay: Many scholarships require applicants to write an essay explaining why they are a good fit for the scholarship and how it will help them achieve their goals.
- Submit the application: Submit the completed application form, required documents, and essay before the deadline.
- Wait for a decision: After applying, wait for the scholarship committee to review your application and make a decision.
- Accept or decline the scholarship: If you are selected, you will be notified and given instructions on accepting or rejecting the award. Sometimes, you might need to provide more information after accepting it.
- Follow-up: If your application is rejected and you believe there has been a mistake or would like to appeal the decision, you can follow up with a polite email. However, be aware that scholarship decisions are often final and cannot be changed. In case you want feedback, send a polite email requesting the reason for the rejection.
What documents do you need to provide for scholarship applications?
The required documents for a scholarship application can vary depending on the scholarship provider and the type of scholarship being offered. Here are some standard documents that may be needed for a scholarship application:
- Application form: A scholarship application form is typically the first step in the process. This form may include personal information, academic history, and details about the scholarship.
- Transcripts: Most scholarship providers require official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended.
- Test scores: Some scholarships require standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT.
- Resume or CV: A resume or CV provides information about your work experience, extracurricular activities, and other achievements.
- Recommendation letters: Some scholarships require letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or other professionals who can attest to your academic and personal qualities.
- Essay: Many scholarships require a personal essay, which allows you to demonstrate your writing skills and explain why you are the best candidate for the scholarship. Writing a compelling essay can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection, so prepare accordingly.
- Financial information: Some scholarships require financial information, such as tax returns, to demonstrate financial need.
Tips for Scholarship Applications
- Maintain a high GPA - Even non-academic scholarships sometimes want to look at your GPA, so make sure you have good grades in high school.
- Don't wait until the last minute - More time = fewer mistakes, from typos to missing questions. Additionally, some scholarships may be on a first-come, first-served basis. (ex: the Equitable Excellence Scholarship only takes the first 10,000 applicants).
- Get involved in extracurricular activities - Showing involvement outside the classroom is essential, especially for those opportunities that consider non-academic qualities.
- Don't count out small scholarships - A $250 or $500 award may seem like little, but smaller awards can add up! (ex: $500 is often enough for at least a semester of books.)
- Work with an essay specialist - An essay specialist can help refine your application to include all the relevant points to a particular scholarship. Crimson’s VIP Essay review can provide feedback on personal statements and other essays.
- Be aware of specific guidelines - Ensure you are eligible and understand the required application materials for a scholarship before applying.
- Pay attention to college-specific deadlines - For example, if you apply to Emory by Nov 1st, you’ll be considered for their full-ride merit scholarships.
- Network with your alumni - You never know what you can learn from your school alumni, especially about the universities they are at and how they got there.
- Stay motivated and persistent - It will take time, and sometimes your chances may be slim, but you only know what will happen if you apply. Almost $50 billion worth of scholarships are given out each year, so there’s an award for you!
Managing scholarship funds
Managing scholarship funds requires careful planning and responsible financial practices. Here are some tips for managing scholarship funds:
Budgeting: Create a budget to determine how you will use the scholarship funds. Consider your expenses, such as tuition, books, housing, and transportation, and allocate the funds accordingly.
Record keeping: Keep accurate records of all expenses and receipts related to the scholarship. This will help you track your spending and ensure that you are using the funds per the scholarship's guidelines.
Avoid overspending: Try to spend the scholarship fund wisely. Stick to your budget and only use the funds for expenses necessary for your education.
Invest in long-term savings: Consider investing a portion of the scholarship funds in a long-term savings account, such as a college savings plan or retirement account.
Seek advice: If you need help managing the scholarship funds, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or a trusted mentor.
By managing scholarship funds responsibly, you can ensure that you are using the funds effectively and maximizing the benefits of the scholarship.
Crimson scholarships and success stories
At Crimson, we provide various scholarship opportunities to help students achieve their dreams of college admissions. Expert guidance on the journey to a world-leading university should be available to any student with the passion, ambition, and discipline to succeed, regardless of their financial circumstances.
Crimson Access Opportunity (CAO) provides economically disadvantaged students free access to Crimson’s admissions experts through strategy and application mentoring. CAO students have been admitted to Bowdoin, Tufts, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Lehigh universities.
The Te Ara, a Kupe Beaton Scholarship, celebrates Māori high school students through Extracurricular & Leadership (ECL) advising, academic tutoring, early-stage career advice, and more. This year Koan Hemana, recipient of the scholarship, got admitted to Harvard University!
The scholarship application process is a long and tenuous one. It is best to start preparing early in high school – research the scholarships you qualify for and then ensure all the requirements are fulfilled. Be proactive in your search to take advantage of all the resources available to them. Hard work and persistence will end up paying off, as any scholarship amount will help towards your college tuition.
Crimson Education provides in-depth university application mentoring, including student essay support services. Crimson’s Financial Aid service pairs students with an expert Financial Aid Mentor, who researches scholarship opportunities, develop aid strategies and guides students through their scholarship applications and forms before submission. You can also look at Informational Interviews to speak with a mentor or tutor who has experience with a specific university, major, academic interest, or career field. Speak to an advisor at Crimson to see how your experiences can be tailor-made for a unique application.
What Makes Crimson Different
Key Resources & Further Reading
- Join our free webinars on US university applications
- Free eBooks and guides to help with the college application process
- Athletic Scholarships: A Guide for High School Athletes
- Financial Aid Explained
- Everything You Need To Know About FAFSA
- How Much Does It Really Cost To Study In The USA?
Ask Your School
No matter where you live or attend school, your first step when searching for scholarships should be your school's financial aid office. Most colleges offer scholarship programs specifically for international students attending the institution.
The Crimson Scholars Program at NMSU is a recognition and enrichment program for students of exceptional academic achievement. Designation as a Crimson Scholar places you among NMSU's top students and entitles you to a number of valuable privileges.How do you apply to scholarships and win them? ›
- Create an accomplishments resume. ...
- Don't miss deadlines. ...
- Complete the scholarship matching profile thoroughly. ...
- Apply to as many scholarships as possible. ...
- Look for scholarship listing books. ...
- Find local scholarships on bulletin boards. ...
- Tap into family connections.
Some deadlines are as early as a year before college starts, so if you're in high school now, you should be researching and applying for scholarships during the summer between your junior and senior years.What GPA is required for scholarship in USA? ›
Minimum requirements range from around 2.0 on the lower end to 3.75 or higher for competitive academic scholarships. Generally speaking, a 3.0 GPA or higher will give you a decent shot at qualifying for a variety of scholarships.How much does Crimson education cost? ›
The company says it has around 220 full-time staff, with another 2,400 tutors and mentors. The company charges between US$5,000 – 10,000 for sessions with tutors, which are done mainly via video chat.What is a Crimson Award? ›
Crimson Scholars Program: Crimson Scholars is a benefits and recognition program for students of exceptional academic achievement who have a cumulative 3.5 GPA and are taking three or more credits per semester1.Who gets the Purple and Gold scholarship? ›
The Purple & Gold Scholarship is awarded to U.S. students (U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees and undocumented residents) who are not residents of Washington state. Amounts vary by recipient, are given for four years and may be used only for the Seattle campus.How can I get a lot of scholarships easily? ›
The easiest way to maximize your chances of winning a scholarship is to pursue local scholarships that cater to your skills and needs. Try consulting with a community organization or school counselor to find out what opportunities might help fund your college education.What three steps should you take to get scholarships? ›
- Complete the FAFSA. You must fill out the FAFSA to qualify for federal aid. ...
- Find Out What Financial Aid Forms Your College Requires. Apply for your college's gift aid by filling out the required forms. ...
- Research and Apply for Outside Scholarships.
Private scholarships may be sent directly to your college account or directly to you in the form of a check or direct deposit into your bank account. If you win a scholarship and you're not sure how you'll receive the money—just ask. Your college expects you to tell them about any private scholarship money you've won.What not to do when applying for scholarships? ›
- Starting Research Too Late. ...
- Missing Deadlines. ...
- Filling Out a Scam Application. ...
- Ignoring Scholarship Requirements. ...
- Bypassing Smaller Scholarships. ...
- Leaving an Application Incomplete. ...
- Making Errors on an Application.
Answer: Yes, you can absolutely ask a college for more merit aid. In fact, many of your peers will do so. And since this type of aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis, you will want to submit your request as soon as possible.Can you ask a college for a scholarship? ›
Put It in Writing. Contact your school's admissions office and complete the necessary paperwork. Ask the school if it can offer more scholarship money to make your attendance more feasible.What months are best to apply to scholarships? ›
Scholarships often have an opening date in the fall, especially if they're going to be awarded for the following school year of college. Most of the major deadlines during this season will fall between October and December 31st.What is the best age to apply for scholarships? ›
Scholarship Experts recommend that students start searching and applying for scholarships when they are 13 years old. If you're already a high school senior and haven't started applying for any scholarships yet, you are way behind the ball.What year is best to apply for scholarships? ›
Senior year is an important time for scholarships, so as students lock in what school they want to attend, they should also apply for as many scholarships as they are reasonably able to. It's also important to keep in mind that during your senior year, you can begin thinking forward to other financial aid options.What GPA do you need for a full-ride? ›
Since the minimum GPA for a full-ride scholarship is usually set at 3.5, a 4.0 is sure to always be above and beyond what's required. Keep in mind that while a strong GPA does help, it's not the only deciding factor.Is it hard to get a scholarship to USA? ›
Although a good profile is essential while applying for a scholarship, test scores like GRE, SAT or GMAT also increase your chances of getting a scholarship. Yet, only 13% of total students with such profiles are able to bag a scholarship. The amount of money that can be earned from these scholarships is also limited.What is a good scholarship amount? ›
The average scholarship amount is $5,000 to $10,000 annually. These scholarships are typically available through the college you are planning on attending. Community partners and professional organizations offer them as well.
- University of Alabama. PMS 201.
- Harvard University. PMS 187.
- University of Indiana. PMS 201.
- University of Kansas. PMS 186.
- University of Mississippi. PMS 186.
- University of Oklahoma. PMS 201.
- University of Utah. PMS 187.
The Harvard Crimson are the intercollegiate athletic teams of Harvard College.What is the highest private school tuition? ›
Wallingford, Connecticut is the home of the private school Choate Rosemary Hall. Its tuition fees range from $65,000 a year for boarding to $51,000 a year for the day option.Do you say go crimson for Harvard? ›
"Whether you go to school here, work here, are a part of this place—it's a privilege." The cheer of the Harvard faithful has long been, "Go Crimson!" After a discordant stretch for the campus and the country, McDermott added her own unifying spin on the rallying cry this year: "Go Crimson, One Crimson!"What is the highest award in high school? ›
The title of valedictorian is used to distinguish indivduals who have achieved the highest level of academic excellence. Students who earn an unweighted 4.0 GPA, through the seventh semester of high school, will receive valedictorian designation.What is the highest honor award in school? ›
Like summiting a mountain, the student who has achieved summa cum laude has achieved "the highest distinction." This student has earned grades within the highest percentage of their school or department or has achieved some other metric that the school considers worthy of the highest recognition.Who receives the most scholarships? ›
As the latest scholarship statistics reflect, entering a four-year private nonprofit institution gives students the highest chance of being awarded a scholarship. At 62%, students from private for-profit institutions are the most likely to receive grants from the federal government (Hanson, 2021).How do you know if you won a scholarship? ›
How scholarship review processes work. Scholarship providers usually only start reviewing applications once the deadline passes. They then usually choose a winner within 3 months of the deadline. If you've won, they'll contact you by phone or email, and explain to you how you'll receive your scholarship prize money.How do you determine who wins a scholarship? ›
Down in the nitty gritty, judges will compare GPAs, test scores, experiences, essays, in order to see which candidate is most suited for their scholarship award. After this step, they'll pick their winner—or winners, depending—and send out notifications to the lucky and deserving student.What is the hardest type of scholarship to get? ›
- Rhodes Scholarship.
- Fullbright Scholarship.
- Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
- Princeton Scholarship.
- Mitchell Scholarship.
- Churchill Scholarship.
- Marshall Scholarship.
- Jardine Scholarship.
One good place to look for scholarships is on the Financial Aid Finder Scholarship Announcement Blog. Every Friday, the site lists several scholarship opportunities with upcoming deadlines. Nearly all of the scholarships are nationwide opportunities, so you should be eligible for many, if not most, of them.What is the most difficult thing when searching for scholarships? ›
The main challenges of searching for scholarships are finding opportunities you are eligible for, as mentioned, and taking the time to search for scholarships. Though most students have a busy schedule, it can really pay off in the end if students can find the time to apply for a few scholarships.What are scholarship judges looking for? ›
It is important to remember that even those scholarships that do NOT consider academic achievement as their PRIMARY consideration are going to look at your grades, your community service, your school activities – the judges are ultimately looking at The Whole Person Who Is You, not just your grades or your need.How do you impress scholarship judges? ›
- First Impression is KEY.
- Follow Directions.
- Essay Scholarships Must Address the Essay Topic.
- Showcase your uniqueness.
- Judges really like these qualities in applicants.
- GPA. One regularly assessed criteria is a strong and consistent GPA. ...
- Financial need. Often, scholarship criteria involve financial need. ...
- Geographic boundaries. Geographic boundaries are another popular criteria choice. ...
- Current employees. ...
- Demographics. ...
- Field of interest.
Most scholarship funds are specific about which types of costs they can and cannot cover. Education expenses like tuition, books, and other course materials are usually covered, but what counts as “education-related” can differ by provider so be sure to review the rules for each award.What scholarship pays for everything? ›
What is a full ride scholarship? A full ride scholarship is an award that covers all expenses related with college. This includes tuition, books, fees, room and board, and possibly even living costs.What happens when you win scholarship money? ›
These financial awards differ from student loans because they don't have to be repaid. So, to answer a question we often hear, you do not have to pay it back if you get a scholarship. Students might receive the money directly as a check in their name. In other cases, the money is given to the student's school.What are the 2 things that some scholarships may require with an application? ›
Scholarships usually require documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and perhaps an essay. Don't wait until the last minute to complete applications, and try creating a calendar to stay informed of scholarship deadlines.Can you get denied a scholarship? ›
Scholarship applications are rejected for several reasons. It could be that the essays submitted weren't as high in quality as those submitted by other candidates, poor GPA, low amounts of extracurricular activities, neglecting to submit all required materials, etc.
They may also ask for your street address as well as the school you plan to attend. If you do win a scholarship, it's likely they will ask for further information from you, specifically as it relates to sending your prize money.How do I ask a college for money? ›
Contact the school to be sure you address your letter to the appropriate office. If it's a needs-based appeal, contact the financial aid office to ask for more aid. If it's a merit-based appeal, contact the enrollment or admissions office.How do I ask for a full ride scholarship? ›
Full-ride academic scholarship: Be at the top of your class with a great GPA, take AP/honors classes, and get perfect (or close to perfect) SAT or ACT scores. Along with academic merit, it also helps to also have leadership skills or community involvement, too (see below).Do scholarships require FAFSA? ›
The short answer is yes, you can get scholarships without the FAFSA. But, not filing the FAFSA may limit your scholarship opportunities.What do you say when asking for a scholarship? ›
- Plan ahead. Don't procrastinate! ...
- Talk about your accomplishments. Be clear and to the point. ...
- State your need. What is your financial situation? ...
- Keep it simple. Don't use unnecessary words (i.e., don't use three words when one will do) ...
- Make it easy on your reader.
Applying for Scholarships Offered by Your Colleges
But sometimes a college awards its scholarships based on information it already has about you, such as your academic qualifications and your financial need. Often an alumni or outside organization will fund a scholarship that the college administers on their behalf.
- Call the college financial aid office to ask about the financial aid appeals process. ...
- Identify the special circumstances that affect your ability to pay for college. ...
- Write a financial aid appeal letter. ...
- Don't ask for a specific amount of money.
- Fulbright Scholarships USA. ...
- Stanford University Scholarships. ...
- Yale University Scholarships USA. ...
- University of New Haven Scholarship. ...
- University of Minnesota Fellowship. ...
- AAUW International Fellowship Program. ...
- ACI Foundation Scholarship. ...
- Onsi Sawiris Scholarship.
Merit and athletic scholarships are the most common types of scholarships for college in USA for international students. Undergraduate programs at various colleges or schools within a university may have their own scholarship opportunities.Which university in USA gives the most scholarship? ›
Harvard University, located in Massachusetts, is one of the world's most prestigious universities. It offers financial aid to international students based on their financial needs. It's considered one of the best universities in the USA for international students seeking scholarships.
|Name of Scholarship||Eligibility||Amount in USD|
|Global Study Awards||Those who are pursuing their MS and have a good score in IELTS are eligible||USD 14,000|
|Illinois State University Scholarship||Those who have an excellent academic record are eligible||USD 10,000|
Full-ride academic scholarship: Be at the top of your class with a great GPA, take AP/honors classes, and get perfect (or close to perfect) SAT or ACT scores. Along with academic merit, it also helps to also have leadership skills or community involvement, too (see below).Which government scholarship gives the most money? ›
National Means cum Merit Scholarship.How hard is it to get scholarships? ›
Odds of Winning a Scholarship
Only about 1 in 8 college students wins a scholarship, and the average amount used to pay for college is about $4,200 a year. Very few students win $25,000 or more in scholarships each year (only about 0.1%). Among the students who win scholarships, 97% win $2,500 or less.