5 Secrets to Winning College, University Scholarships


This article was sent to us for publication by Shaan Patel, a Director of SAT Programs at a popular international examination and overseas admission firm in South Africa. Read and learn!

When I was in high school, I was received over half a million dollars in scholarship offers. Because some of these scholarship offers were school-specific, I ended up actually receiving approximately $237,000 to go to college. Needless to say, these scholarships still covered the cost of tuition, housing, textbooks, food, and all other college-related expenses during my undergraduate career.

Many people attribute my scholarship success to my perfect SAT score. While having a stellar SAT score certainly helped, there was one simple secret that helped me secure a debt-free college experience: local scholarships are easier to win. The fewer applicants there are to a particular scholarship, the greater your chances are of winning that scholarship. And local scholarships undoubtedly have fewer applicants than national scholarships.

Don’t believe me? Well, of the 100 scholarships I applied to during my senior year of high school, I only won 1 national scholarship that was open to everyone. However, I won over 20 local scholarships, which were only open to students in my community, city, or state.

This means that applying for those big, national scholarships that you find in books are actually not your best bet. In order to find local scholarships, you’ll have to do some legwork.

(1) Visit Your Counselor’s Office

Your counselor will likely have a resource of local community scholarships. Companies often announce a scholarship they are offering by notifying high school counselors. But sometimes, that message doesn’t get relayed to students. So you’re better off paying a visit to the counselor.

(2) Research Online

You can find many local scholarships by doing quick searches online. For example, if you go to high school in Burbank, California, search for terms like “California Scholarships”, “Burbank Scholarships,” “Los Angeles Scholarships,” and “Southern California Scholarships”. You will quickly find scholarships you’ve never heard of before. And that’s good! The more obscure the scholarship, the fewer applicants it is likely to have.

Recommended: Check our list of scholarships announced this week [open in new tab] and continue reading.

(3) Ask Around.

When we live in the age of laptops, iPhones, and iPads, we sometimes forget one of the best ways to obtain information: word of mouth. Often times, high school students who are older than you know of scholarships that are specific to your community and school. You should also ask your parents, counselors, and community leaders if they know of any scholarships offered by local companies.

(4) Apply to National-Local Scholarships.

What is a “national-local” scholarship? Well, I just made up the term. But I define it as a “national scholarship that allocates a certain number of scholarships to each state or community.” For example, when I was in high school, I applied for an award called the AXA Achievement Scholarship. Although it was a national scholarship and in association with U.S. News and World Report (so everyone knew about it), I still believed I had a good shot at winning. Why? Because even though the scholarship was open to everyone in the nation, AXA gave a $10,000 scholarship to 1 student in every state. Essentially, this turns this “national” scholarship into a “national-local” scholarship! And because I was from Nevada, I figured not too many students would be applying for this scholarship, which meant I had a good shot at winning. And I was right!

Recommended: Check-out list of documents required to make a good scholarship application [open in new tab].

(5) Find Local Scholarship Foundations.

Look for foundations in your community that are dedicated to disbursing scholarships. When I was attending school in Las Vegas, there was an organization called the “Clark County Public Education Foundation (CCPEF)”. The sole purpose of this organization was to give out scholarships to students. There are lots of individuals, organizations, and companies that want to give money to the youth. However, these donors don’t always know how to start their own scholarship program. So instead, they hire organizations like CCPEF to create, manage, and disburse scholarships on their behalf. CCPEF had a database of hundreds of scholarships that were only open to Las Vegas students. See if there is a similar organization in your community.

Once you have identified which local scholarships you will be applying for, it’s time to really focus on your applications! Put the deadlines for each scholarship in your planner so you don’t forget. And make sure you work weeks in advance to put together the best possible application (especially the essay).

By putting together stellar applications for many local scholarships, you are almost guaranteed to win!


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thank you!

I’m a Tanzanian. Looking for pharmaceutical undergraduate degree scholarships. Most of the scholarships I see on the Internet are allocated for North African countries. Any help would be appreciated

am finalizing BBA/banking & finance from Cavendish university Uganda and would very happy when I get scholarship to do masters in business and there fore request you kindly to update me.Thank you very much for your positive cooperation.

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please i just finished highschool & am a nigerian i have applied so many scholarship and they are all
fake,please how can i get a geniue scholarship thank you.

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We are hoping your application process for this scholarship has been smooth. Any of you having issues applying should visit the topic via the link within this reply to let us know. We are willing to help 🙂

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I am .a Kenyan 19 years old i have a passion in law and i need a scholarship to study in the USA..please help me on how to go about it. Am an orphan

My name is Berhanu Negawo Jabessa. I’m from Ethiopia. I have graduated in Bachelor of Art in accounting. I want to learn MBA in your University. please contact me in the listed email addresses & phone number if you want to gave me a chance of this thank you in advance for you polite consideration of my application.phone number: +251-912-232-095

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Am so interested in applying for scholarship in Medicine & Surgery in USA but dont know how to go about it. My friend won one scholarship to canada so that is why i want to apply for some of the scholarship. +2348130986050….THANKS

Dear Devine, this website has several open scholarships you can win. Use the links within to browse through and locate the best for yourself.

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pls tell me your email address for contact you and how i know the system of application . tell us for Ethiopian student like me. thank you .

my defense gebrewold from ethiopia I have cm degree construction manegement if you give me the chence I would like to join michigen univeristy in releted field of study place concet me by this phone member +251943219350

my name is ndayizeye dieudonné from burundi,i really need this scholarship.contact me on my number:+25771550951 or my email:dieudonnendayi11@gmail.com

my name is degu atinaw from ethiopia I have BA degree in accounting & finance . if yiu give me the chance i would like to join michigan university in arelated field of study please contact me by +251938219913

I am interested in applying for a scholarship to study in Canada but do not know how to go about it. Can you assist me. Thank you.


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