Topic Progress:

Scholarship = Money Given to You

(With some work to back it up.)

Scholarships are free money for college or career training school that you don’t have to pay back. Ever.

They can range from hundreds of dollars to many thousands, and they’re offered by an infinite number of diverse organizations and individuals:

  • Schools
  • Employers
  • Private Companies
  • Non-Profits
  • Foundations
  • Local Communities
  • Religious Groups
  • Professional and Social Organizations
  • Local Businesses
  • And more!

You won’t need to fill out the FAFSA to be eligible for private scholarships but you’ll need to fill out an application for each scholarship, at the very least. Sometimes the applications are simple and sometimes not so simple. You’ll also need to meet each scholarship’s deadline and eligibility requirements (which might be pretty specific).

There’s something for everyone, but it takes research and some work to find the scholarships that are worth applying to. There are BILLIONS of dollars out there and they’re NOT just for people who have high grades, have done lots of community service or are going to college!


To qualify for a Merit scholarships you’d need to meet or exceed identified standards of the scholarship giver such as academic achievement (your GPA) and/or a combination of academics and a special talent, skill, trait or interest.

Financial Need

Just what it sounds like; you could qualify based on your financial situation.


Some scholarships are geared toward particular groups of people or their interests.

  • A hobby interest
  • A skill such as athletics, art, science, or music
  • Pursuing a career in a specific industry
  • Because you or your parent works for a certain company
  • Participating in community service
  • Your ethnicity
  • Or… an infinite number of other reasons!

So you can see that you don’t need to be a superstar at academics or sports to get a scholarship; there are scholarships for anyone and everyone! You just have to find them and apply to them… by their deadlines!

There are lists of scholarships EVERYWHERE online! Most for free so definitely don’t fall for any offers that want you to pay a fee for finding scholarships or for applying to them.

One of the first places to look for scholarships is with your high school. Oftentimes their website will have a list of scholarships that you can apply to, and that list will likely include scholarships that are specific to your state or region. Some other places to look include:

  • Financial Aid office or webpage at a college or career school
  • U.S. Department of Labor’s FREE scholarship search tool
  • Federal agencies
  • Your state’s grant agency
  • Foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups
  • Organizations and professional associations related to your field of interest
  • Ethnicity-based organizations
  • Your employer or your parent’s employers

And of course there are many, many free online scholarships sites.  The following are more than a few that could be a huge help…

Want, or need, some help keeping track of the scholarships you might want to apply to as well as their requirements and deadlines? Check out the “Financial Aid Organizational Spreadsheet” that you can access by clicking the button below. You may have already gotten this spreadsheet and if so, you’re all set!

If you haven’t gotten the spreadsheet yet, here’s a reminder that it’s “View Only” so be sure to make a copy and save it to your own computer, Google folder, or other cloud based storage.