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Helpful Tips to Find the Best College Scholarship

Duct tape prom dresses. Tall girls and boysGreeting cards. Totally unrelated topics, right? Wrong! They are actually all topics of unique scholarships for which college-going students can apply.

Yes, we’ve all heard of the seemingly silly scholarships like what I’ve named, but — come on — wouldn’t you be tempted to wear a prom dress made from Duck Tape® if it meant a chance at winning a $5,000 scholarship? I’d rather wear a tacky — literally! — dress than take out a $5,000 student loan. Just saying.

Now sometimes you have to demonstrate financial need to earn a scholarship; sometimes you get it just because you are who you are — like being a girl over 5’10” — tall girl scholarship aforementioned. Sometimes you actually have to do something, and these scholarships are called merit-based scholarships or competitive scholarships. Merit-based scholarships mean that you have something — a skill or a talent — that the school wants. We often hear about these related to a student’s promising academics, athletic ability or performance talent.

Another way to earn money to go to college, though, is to compete for a scholarship. Sometimes it’s as simple as completing an application! Others require you to write an essay — one quick way for the scholarship providers to knock out most of the potential applicants. My advice? If there is an essay, then apply because you’ll likely be competing against fewer candidates. Still other scholarships require you to get creative and create a picture story, hone your duck calling skills, or write a poem. Sure, competitive scholarships take some effort, but you and your future are worth it.

Below are my favorite free scholarship search sites (FYI: I did say “free” sites, so there are sometimes a few ads, but I chose the simplest ones with the least-annoying pop-ups). Create an account for yourself and fine-tune your profile to yield only scholarships for which you’re truly eligible. Applying for scholarships does take time, so don’t waste your time reviewing tens of scholarships for which you are not eligible — be real. Maybe you only get six hits from your search, but all six are strong leads — pursue those.

But, if you don’t want to take my advice to apply for scholarships, I suggest you make plans to avoid the zombie apocalypse ... Or, as always, if you have more questions about scholarships, financial aid, or college planning in general, give us a call! The CommunityAmerica Credit Union Education and Career Planners are happy to help.

CommunityAmerica Credit Union has Education and Career Planners ready to assist you through all the stages of planning for higher education and beyond. From calculators and checklists to deeper discussions about financial aspects, we can help. Our goal is to help you reach yours.


Karin Mance

Are there any scholarships offered by CACU to high school students? Do they have to have be a member or is the fact parents are members sufficient? I see there used to be one but it was from 2016.
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