Should I Apply to One Big Scholarship or Many Smaller Scholarships?

Should you apply to one big scholarship or many smaller scholarships?

Flickr user Images Money

Many of us dream about having enough money to pay for all of college’s expenses. You know what I’m talking about: Buy that car, get a new computer, pay tuition. And to many of us, working toward a larger reward or a big scholarship so we can do it faster makes more sense.

One big scholarship can cover a lot of your tuition, but…

When it comes to scholarships for college, though, it takes a little more thought. Yes, that scholarship for thousands of dollars covers your cost of attendance (or at least most of it). There are going to be many students who see it and think the same thing. This leads to a highly competitive applicant pool for that one scholarship.

Ascent company logo.

A loan designed with you in mind

Variable cosigned rates from 5.31% - 14.07% APR with auto-debit


What about smaller scholarships?

The smaller scholarships—for hundreds instead of thousands, maybe—are still going to have people who apply to them. However, they won’t be competed for as fiercely. You’ll be surprised by how quickly little scholarships can add up, too.

You shouldn’t ignore big scholarships though.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore the larger ones. It’s best to put your name in as many hats as is reasonable. That gives you the most amount of opportunity possible, especially when you qualify for more scholarships. If you land that huge scholarship: Fantastic! If you land a few of those smaller scholarships: Fantastic! Either way, you are that much closer to paying for college without taking out loans or paying a huge amount out of pocket. So apply to a mix of big and small scholarships. Put your name in those hats.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!