8 Tips on How to Get a Scholarship

Scholarships are a great way to pay for college and are often overlooked by students and parents. Many people think you have to have perfect grades or be the valedictorian to receive scholarships but that’s far from the truth. 

Paying for college is the number one factor that students and parents consider when choosing a school to attend. But did you know there are billions, yes BILLIONS, of dollars worth of scholarships for students just like you? And by working as a team, parents and students can find scholarships that help pay for college and all things college-related. We have broken down exactly how both parents and students can get this FREE money no matter the school year they’re in.

A woman is looking at her laptop with her hand is holding her face.

Flickr user Kennedy Library


How to Get and Find Scholarships

1. Fill Out Your FAFSA

Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application is the most important part of applying for scholarships. Even if you’re not eligible for government grants or scholarship organizations and your college requires that you fill out the application to receive funding. You’ll also need it to take out federal or private student loans. Be sure to fill out your application by the deadline. The earlier, the better!

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2. Keep Up Your Grades

Yes, not all scholarships are merit-based but a large amount of them are. We’re not saying you need perfect grades to receive scholarships, but you should always be trying your hardest in every class. With good grades and a higher GPA, you’re eligible for tens of thousands of free college money.

3. Use College Raptor

College Raptor is a resource for both parents and students. Did you know that we have a scholarship search tool to help you find scholarships you’re eligible for? It takes just a few minutes to fill out and you have access to thousands of dollars of free money. We suggest applying for a few scholarships a week. Persistence is the biggest secret of how to get a scholarship. 

4. Speak with Counselors, Advisors, and Your School’s Financial Aid Office

No matter your year of education, there are scholarships available for you. From elementary school to your senior year of college, you can be eligible for scholarships. Speak with advisors and counselors at your school or college to see if they know of any scholarships available that you’re eligible for. They may know about financial aid opportunities that some scholarship sources don’t! And if they don’t know any at the moment, they can keep you in mind when one comes up. 

5. Shop Local

Local scholarships are a hidden gem when it comes to finding scholarships. With a quick internet search, you can see what local businesses or organizations have available scholarships for their community. 

6. Utilize the Parental Network

Nothing really beats knowledge and experience. Parents have a lot of people in their network—old classmates, friends, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, and maybe fellow members of clubs or organizations as well. Each of those contacts knows somebody else, which means your sphere of influence can actually extend much further. Ever heard of the Law of the Seven Degrees of Separation? Basically, it means that you’re always seven contacts away from anyone in the world!

Ask around to see if anyone is linked to a scholarship, or if they’ve heard of any good opportunities that would relate to your student. This could be a huge help for the college student in your life and one of the easiest ways to get a scholarship. 

7. Check-In With Each other. Reminders are okay!

Even the most disciplined high school student could use a check-in from time to time. This doesn’t mean parents should hover over the shoulder of their student throughout the whole process, but popping in to get an idea of their progress, reminding them of the importance of scholarships, or offering encouragement isn’t a bad idea. The scholarship process, from how to get a scholarship to using the funds, can be a bit confusing so having a strong support system is super helpful. 

8. Make Sure to PRoofread

Having a second pair of eyes is always beneficial. Parents are ideal candidates for proofreading their students’ essays or applications—you can root out errors, point out areas that aren’t clear, make suggestions, and even help brainstorm topics.

There are many different ways to get a scholarship. From sweepstakes to essays to merit, scholarships are available for students of all ages. By using College Raptor, you’ll learn how to get a scholarship to pay for your college costs. You can even use scholarship money to pay for your housing and supplies! With the teamwork of parents and students, they can work together to find the best scholarships available for students.  

And to fill the gap with what scholarships don’t cover, use College Raptor’s Student Loan Finder to discover personalized loan options. Compare lenders and interest rates to find the ideal student loan—for FREE!


Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Citizens logo.
6.98%-15.04%* Variable
5.99%-14.00%* Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Sallie Mae logo.
6.37% - 16.70% Variable
4.50% - 15.49% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Credibe company logo.
4.98% - 16.85% Variable
4.07% - 16.49% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
6.07% - 11.31% Variable
4.39% - 10.39% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Ascent company logo.
6.24% - 15.85% Variable
4.29% - 15.76% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
6.54% - 11.08% Variable
3.95% - 8.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Earnest company logo.
5.62% - 18.26% Variable
4.11% - 15.90% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
4.98% - 12.79% Variable
8.42% - 13.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Raptor is not a loan lender and does not assume responsibility for suggesting a loan to a user who may not be eligible for it. Rates, terms, conditions, eligibility, approval, and other considerations are the decisions of the lenders and may vary depending on which lender or marketplace the user selects. We urge users to carefully consider and review all loan options and terms before committing to taking out a loan.

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