How to Find Scholarships

  • Most assistance for college comes through the college itself in the form of either need-based aid or merit aid [see #10 below]. However, outside scholarships can help ease the burden. Scholarships are offered by private corporations, charitable foundations, community organizations, schools, private individuals, and other entities. Since the offering organizations vary widely, and each organization can set its own criteria, there are very few characteristics that apply to all scholarships. There is really no way to avoid spending time looking for scholarships, but you can strategize to make the most of your time. 

    Here are a few suggested steps. 
    First, a basic ground rule:  don't pay money to get money. Don't pay to join a scholarship group or buy a membership only for access to a scholarship. In schemes like this, families are essentially paying for the "scholarship" that they have a chance of getting. 

    1. Use Naviance 

    Naviance is the primary way that Shorewood publicizes scholarships. The Naviance Scholarship List includes scholarships that both Shorewood and Shorecrest activate when we receive notices. Many are local scholarships, which our students have a better chance of receiving than national scholarships that are available everywhere.

    Most of the listings have hyperlinks to the actual applications, which you will fill out yourself according to the guidelines of the particular scholarship. Some listings have applications you must download and fill out on paper. 
    To get there:
    • Log into Naviance select Student > Single sign on. Do not enter an email and password; you will go in via your Google k12 account.  
    • Click on the Colleges tab.
    • Go to Scholarships and Money > Scholarship List > Local and Regional Scholarships
    • Use the categories to make the list more manageable. 
      • If you are a senior, sort by Deadline for a list with the deadlines in chronological order then go to today's date and check the scholarships that are coming up soon. I recommend that you print out the list, and then as you work through the list, cross off the ones that you are not eligible for and put a star by the ones that you are eligible for. For the scholarships you do qualify for, follow the links or download the application as indicated. 
      • If you are in 9th-11th grade, use the filters to choose your grade. Look through the scholarships to see which you are eligible for. If you wish, print the list to help keep track. 
      • 9th-11th graders can also use the senior technique (sort by deadline) to create a strategy list for senior year. 
    Also use the National Scholarship Search in Naviance. That list has largely the same information as the commercial scholarship sites. 

    2. Register for is Washington State's search engine. It is highly regarded as reputable, and we recommend that all students register. You create a profile and select how often you would like to receive notices of upcoming scholarships. 

    3. Know How Scholarship Sites Work 

    Before you proceed any further, please be aware of how scholarship sites work. Read:
    1. How scholarship websites sell students' information to colleges and publishers, an article on the Hechinger Report 3.10.2017. Basically, you make a trade while using the sites:  your information is valuable to them, so you give them that--which they sell--and you get matched with possible scholarships. 
    2. The advice in this Scholarship Toolkit, which was put together by two excellent bloggers who specialize in college financing, Debbie Schwartz of and Michelle Kretzschmar of DIY College Rankings. They have researched the various scholarship engines, so you can look at their notes about each site to see what you are getting into. 
    Know that most scholarship search engines make money off of your information by selling it to other parties. The scholarship tools are free to use, but you are giving away your information. It may be that this is no big deal to you--most of us are on many consumer lists--or it may be that this is serious enough matter that you decide not to use the search engines. It is your choice. 

    4. Use the WSU Search Tool (not only for WSU-specific scholarships!) 

    WSU has done an excellent job compiling a list of scholarships. You enter a bit of your information--high school grade level, GPA, citizenship type--and you will get a list of scholarships. It may be a very long list, but you can sift through at your convenience. WSU Scholarship Search 


    5. Look According to Identity or Specialized Interest

    You want to find scholarships that connect with who you are, something that you do, or a circumstance of your life.
    If you have a particular hobby and want to pursue that as a career, look up related professional organizations and see if they offer a scholarship. 
    If you have a certain family heritage, use that in your search. Many community organizations offer scholarships for young people who identify with a particular group. 

    6. Investigate WUE/ Western Undergraduate Exchange 

    If you are interested in public schools in Western states, you might qualify for Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE, pronouced woo-eee) scholarships. Some universities in Western States (and at some schools, only selected programs) offer qualified out-of-state students a tuition rate of 150% of the in-state rate rather than the usual 300% of the in-state rate. 
    Requirements vary. See the WUE Home page for information, and view the list of WUE Participating Institutions. Be sure that you look into the requirements for each school, since they vary quite a bit. Colorado State has a chart of WUE Academic Criteria for first-time freshmen. Montana State uses a combination of test scores, GPA, and class rank [our district no longer ranks students] to determine WUE eligibility. 

    7. Try GoingMerry  

    GoingMerry is essentially a Common App for scholarships. You create a profile and then do not need to fill out the same basic information on each scholarship application. Our local scholarships are not yet on the platform (that we know of), so do not use this as your sole scholarship search method. Here are:  instructions for creating an account, a description of what it is [descripción en español], the privacy policy, and a data security summary.  The site does not sell your information to 'partners' so it is better than most sites out there solely on that basis. It is fairly new, so if you try it, let us know how it goes. 

    8. Undocumented? 

    Use specialized resources:  

    9. Check for College-Offered Scholarships

    Do this one of three ways: 
    1. Check Domestic Undergraduate Need-Based and Merit Aid. You can check: the total cost of attendance; the percentage of need met; the percent of students receiving merit aid; and the average merit award. You can also download a PDF or spreadsheet with the information. This site is a good starting place to check what kind of aid a particular school tends to offer. Not all Washington state colleges are listed here. 
    2. Check This site lists 700+ scholarships offered by 200+ colleges. It does not accept advertising, and you do not have to register. For many schools, you can see the various levels of awards. 
    3. Check individual college websites. Usually, the sequence is  Admission > Financial Aid > First-Year Students > Scholarships and Grants
      1. For Shoreline Community College, read this informational sheet Scholarships at Shoreline and see


    Links to Other Scholarship Search Engines

    Please see #3 above

  Search for all scholarships at the colleges of your choice. – free information about ALL types of financial aid for college. – The goal of this website is to educate students about scholarship access and the necessary requirements for achieving maximum financial aid.  There are also links to scholarship opportunities. – free information about scholarships. – source for grants, loans & scholarships. – general information about student financial aid.  Western Undergraduate Exchange.  Reduced out of state tuition awards for qualifying students from nearby western states scholarships and opportunities for with faith-based institutions

    www.CheckOutACollege.comadmission & financial aid info for Community/Technical colleges. 

    www.thewashboard.orgscholarships for students in WA State. – Scholarships for Hispanic Americans. – scholarships for low-income and minority students. – Northwest Education Loan Association, a LOCAL non profit center helping students with every step in the college admissions and financing process. – Provides information on the various types of scholarships associated with military service commitments.  Also available—a scholarship search for any scholarships for children of military officers or other connections through the military community. – Scholarships for Latino students. – Scholarships for Hispanic Americans. – American Legion Scholarships – Information for international students – International Education Financial Aid: Information on studying abroad

Scholarship Tools