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The 411 on Scholarships



Tips for Winning Scholarships

  • You will not have time to pursue every potential scholarship so select based on your highest potential for success.
  • Rank each opportunity based on:
    • How well you fit the eligibility criteria
    • The level of competition (local vs. national)
    • Timing (Is it due during finals week?)
    • Difficulty of preparation (Does it require an essay?)
    • Amount of award
    • Number of awards given
    • How hard was it to find? Harder-to-find scholarships may have less competition.

  • Create a schedule with all relevant deadlines for a reasonable number of these top-ranked opportunities.
  • It is not helpful to add documents to the application that were not requested.
  • Up to 90 percent of all scholarship applications are discarded in the first review, usually due to typos, not following instructions, blanks not filled in, or illegibility. BE CAREFUL AND ACCURATE!
  • 80 percent of scholarship applications are functionally identical, i.e., a laundry list of activities and scores. Be open, authentic, and creative to catch the reviewer's attention and try to let them get to know you.
  • Call scholarship representatives for help filling out forms correctly. You may make a connection that gets your application noticed.

Avoiding Scholarship Scams

  • Families lose millions of dollars each year to scholarship fraud.
  • Considering the availability of free information, there is no good reason to pay for scholarship information.
  • Guarantees of any kind are a red flag.
  • Beware of overselling. Legitimate scholarship search sites do not need to rely on lots of format and graphic tricks.
  • Beware of any scholarship fund that requests a fee. If there is a fee, the ratio of scholarships to money collected should be reasonable, such as more than 50% of fees going to scholarship awards.
  • Be careful giving out your Social Security number, credit card, or banking information.
  • Legitimate scholarship service businesses will list methods for contacting them beyond an e-mail address and PO Box. If you can't talk to them, be careful.
  • For information or to file a complaint, go to

In addition to completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), students may seek additional educational funding by applying for scholarships.  Scholarship aid is “free money” that does not require repayment.  There are many different scholarships available, and are awarded on the basis of merit, talent, academics, financial need or in a combination of a few criteria.       

While students may apply for scholarships year round, the best time to search for scholarships is between November and April.  The most common places to search for scholarships include:

  • High School Guidance Counselor Office
  • Financial Aid/Scholarship Office at the institution
  • Department where students major is housed
  • Public Library
  • Student/Parent Employer
  • Community Center
  • Place of Worship

The following links provide scholarship listings and funding resource information that students can utilize.


The internet is a great tool to utilize in searching for scholarships!  Students should only use free scholarship searches and never pay to complete an application.  Students may find the following free national scholarship searches helpful:










Links to Types of Aid

Federal Aid

Arizona Aid

College-Based Aid

Private Aid


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ACPE Websites

Commission Website