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  • Jean O'Toole

Hidden Places to Find Scholarships

One of the most common reasons students miss out on scholarship monies is because they have not expanded their search beyond their school guidance offices and online search engines.

Expanding the search for scholarships in 3 easy ways, can open the doors to hundreds more scholarships and thousands of additional scholarship dollars.

1. Use your team. We all have various people on our “team” or in our life, who can be extremely helpful for finding scholarships. I want every student to spend more time applying for scholarships rather than searching for scholarships. Reach out to relatives and friends through social media and let them know several types of scholarships you are seeking. For example, your post might say, “Hi! I could really use your help. I am looking for scholarships related to engineering, soccer, community service and poetry. If you find any, can you send them my way?” You may be surprised at how helpful this can be. Your relatives and friends may find and send you some scholarship opportunities that are a perfect fit for you. Keep your team in the loop with your scholarship progress throughout your college career. Scholarships are available throughout every year of your education. Your team can provide moral support as well as additional scholarship tips that lead to potential additional funds for you.

2. Connect with the trailblazers. You are not the first person to seek out scholarships, nor will you be the last. Ask yourself, “Who has already researched scholarships that may be a good fit for me?”. Connecting with alumni from your high school or your college is an incredible way to save time on finding more scholarships. Connect with your guidance department to learn who the top scholarship award winners have been in the past several years. Ask to be put in touch with them. Connect with the alumni department and the financial aid department of your college and ask who the top winning scholarship recipients have been. Request to be put in touch with them. Save your time by leaning on those who have completed the research in the past with success. They already spent the time, when they were in your shoes.

3. Partner with a friend. We only have so much available time to search for scholarships. Along your search, you will absolutely come across scholarships that are not a fit for you. They could, however, be a fit for your friend. Exchange information with a friend about the types of scholarships you are both looking for. As you find a scholarship for your friend and text it to them, it will remind them to keep their eyes out for one for you. By partnering with a friend or several friends, as you search for scholarships, you will find more potential opportunities as well as keep one another motivated in the process.

Recognizing that we do not have to travel the scholarship road on our own helps us find more scholarships and stay engaged and focused in the process.

The scholarships are out there and they are waiting for you to find them.


Jean O’Toole is an educational consultant and author of the bestselling book, Scholarship Strategies Finding and Winning the Money You Need. Over the past 15 years, she has helped tens of thousands of students in the United States. Individuals collectively have been awarded millions of dollars by applying her scholarship strategies. In 2008 she co-founded Connections101, a company specializing in providing motivational tools for scholarship searching. It is her goal to empower students to design their paths to their future without college debt. For more information about Jean, visit

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