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Scholarship Tips

Tips for Scholarship Searching

  1. To apply for federal financial aid (grants, work-study and loans) and some state programs, you must complete a form called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during your senior year of high school and every year you're in college. The FAFSA is available online at (step-by-step instructions are provided on this site) or by calling toll-free 800-4-FED-AID. That's (800) 433-3243.
  2. Talk with your counselor about local and/or college and university sources of financial aid.
  3. Contact the admissions or financial aid offices at the schools you are interested in attending.
  4. Research scholarship and grant opportunities at your local library as well as online. A list of online scholarship resources and general financial aid information is provided under Scholarship Links. The Internet can be a powerful tool to find funding for college! Don't forget to use the same caution on scholarship sites that you would with any other site on the Internet, especially if you are asked to provide personal information.
In performing your own Internet search, use keywords that apply to your situation, including:
  • The field you want to study. Look for professional organizations in that field. For example, a search for "engineering scholarships" results in several links from groups like the SAE, an association of professional engineers. Try keywords like "history," "science," "dentist," "music," etc.
  • The region of the country/world you're from, including high school, city, county, state, country, etc.
  • The region of the country/world where you'd like to study.
  • Your gender (some private scholarships are awarded only to males or only to females).
  • Your age, especially if you are a "non-traditional" student. Students are considered non-traditional if they are returning to college after spending some time away from education or are attending college for the first time. Typically, non-traditional students are 25 or older.
  • Your ethnicity/minority status.
  • Any disability you or your parents have.
  • Veteran status of yourself or parents.
  • A skill or activity you enjoy; an achievement you're proud of or interesting facts about yourself. There are scholarships for everything from knitting to wearing duct tape clothing to being left-handed.
  • Student organizations you are involved with (FFA, FHA, DECA, SkillsUSA, Key Club, etc.).
  • Community organizations, especially those in which you or your parents participate, such as religious organizations and civic organizations like Rotary or Lions Club, etc.
  • Your parent's or your employer, especially if it is a large company or corporation.
  • An employer you'd like to work for in the future.
Sample searches: scholarship sociology, scholarship Oklahoma City, scholarship Methodist, scholarship Oklahoma City corporation, scholarship Walmart, scholarship Murray County, scholarship knitting, scholarship Pawhuska High School, scholarship Hispanic female, scholarship rural student.

Try searching both "scholarship" and "scholarships," as you will get different results. Also try multiple forms of other words, for example, dentist/dentistry and disabled/disability/disabilities.

Be sure you note the eligibility requirements, instructions and deadlines for scholarships. Follow them carefully! Don't give them a reason not to consider you for the award. Some of these hints can also be useful in searching for pre-college or summer opportunities, like camps and academies, for younger students. Examples: summer science academy Oklahoma, music camp Oklahoma, etc. Website addresses can change, so if you have problems accessing a site, try these suggestions:
  1. Try the link in a shortened form. For example, if wasn't working, you could try and look for the scholarship information from the home page. Look for such keywords as "scholarship programs," "education," "students," "community," "philanthropy," "fellowships," etc.

  2. Search for the name of the scholarship or keywords in an Internet search engine. For example, a search for "Coca-Cola two year college scholarships" in Google will lead you to the link to the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.


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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.