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 Search 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 Search
    • Use the categories to make the list more manageable. 
      • If you are a senior, view the scholarships by Deadline if they are not already arranged in chronological order so that you can see the deadlines coming up. For the scholarships that fit you, 'favorite' them by clicking on the heart so that you remember which ones you have viewed and are appropriate. 
      • 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. Applying for Scholarships:  Do You Know What Happens to Your Information? Road2College 8.17.20.  Describes typical practices and offers tips for keeping your data private. 
    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 use the WUE Savings Finder. Be sure that you look into the requirements for each school, since they vary quite a bit. Colorado StateMontana State, Boise State, and Oregon State all participate and each has their own criteria or procedure for Non Resident First Year Scholarships, including WUE. Be sure you check the details.

    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. See How it Works and decide if you would like to join. The site does not sell your information to 'partners' so it is better than most sites out there solely on that basis. 

    8. Undocumented? 

    Use specialized resources:  

    9. Check for College-Offered Scholarships

    There is not a quick way to do this. You will most likely have to check individual college websites.
    Usually, the sequence is  Admission > Financial Aid > First-Year Students > Scholarships and Grants. Here are a few colleges' pages: 


    Scholarship & Financial Aid Links

    Please see #3 above

  – free information about ALL types of financial aid for college. This is the official Federal site that administers the FAFSA and Federal Student Loan Program.  Western Undergraduate Exchange Savings Finder. Some public colleges in other western state offer reduced out of state tuition awards to qualified students.  Washington State Scholarship search engine. Has many regional scholarships and does not sell student information. - site for reliable information about paying for college. The site & Facebook group often have free events and  resources.  Big Future section has information on scholarships and financial aid terminology. Washington State Community & Technical Colleges information on Paying for College – Hispanic Scholarship Fund – scholarships for low-income students in Washington State Information on Educational Assistnce for dependents of members of the military – American Legion Scholarships – International Education Financial Aid: Information on studying abroad free to use database of scholarships 

Scholarship Tools

Scholarship Handouts