college countdown: your college success starts here

Answers to Your College Questions

Should I look for scholarships? Where and how do I start?

Posted by on in Paying for College
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 12085
  • Subscribe to this entry

Should I look for scholarshipsI applied for more than 350 scholarships and paid for my entire education using scholarships. I’d like to say that first so that you don’t worry that I’m just some old guy sitting at home and blogging about scholarship stuff that I read online once.

I’ve been in the trenches and I have my battle scars (mostly paper cuts) to prove it.

I’ve seen it all, and I know one thing for certain: everyone can win a scholarship. Yes, everyone. You just have to be willing to put the time and effort into the process. Allow me to break down the what, when, where, and now-what’s of scholarships.


A scholarship is a grant (i.e., free money) given to a student by an organization to support the student’s education. There are two types of scholarships: institutional scholarships and private scholarships. Institutional scholarships are typically awarded by the college/university that you attend or plan on attending. Private scholarships are scholarships that are created by individual people or organizations. When I talk about scholarships here, I’m talking about private scholarships.


Right now! Go find and apply for scholarships right now. It doesn’t matter what grade you are in, what your GPA is, or where you live—you can apply for scholarships immediately.


Finding a scholarship is all about hustle. You are not going to find hundreds of scholarships after just 5 minutes of searching. Be prepared to spend at least an hour searching for scholarships in one sitting. Scholarships can be tricky to find because anyone can create a scholarship—but not everyone is good at making their scholarship easy to find. I promise that I will write a more detailed post about this topic soon. In the meantime, here are a few resources to get you started on your scholarship search.

Complete the profile on these sites and spend your time browsing through all of the results presented to you.

Now what?

Now that you’ve got some places to start searching, you’ve got to get out there and hunt! A good rule of thumb that I like to use is that for every 10 scholarships that you apply for, you have a good chance of winning one. Winning a scholarship is a numbers game. Meaning the more scholarships you apply for, the higher your chances are of actually winning one.

Happy Hunting!

For more resources on the paying for college process, visit the College Countdown Bookstore.

Look for Diane Melville’s new book, The Community College Advantage: Your Guide to a Low-Cost, High-Reward College Experience, in May, 2013.

Rate this blog entry:

Diane Melville has experienced community college transfer success first hand. After earning her AA in biomedical engineering from Miami Dade College, she was accepted into some of the best schools in the nation. She ultimately transferred to Babson College to earn her bachelor of science in entrepreneurship and marketing. Diane has dedicated her career as an education professional, entrepreneur, and public speaker to advocating for community college reform and bettering the financial aid system.

Melville is the author of The Community College Advantage.