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How to get college scholarships in 2020 (+ mistakes to avoid)

Here’s how to get scholarships for college by using the formula that won me over $100k. (Plus, how to give great answers on your scholarship applications)

Ramit Sethi

College is by no means an easy feat. From the lengthy application process to entrance exams, it can be rough. Long story short, I did it, and you can too. I want to share the exact method I used to get over $100,000 in scholarship funds. You’re about to find out how to cultivate the winning mindset, how to find the best paying scholarships and my strategy for completing applications in as efficient a manner as possible.


Click any link below or scroll down to read the entire post:

3 Steps to getting college scholarships

Other considerations for winning scholarships

Step 1: Adopt a scholarship application mindset

college scholarship graduation

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people just hope they get “a scholarship” for college.

Instead of hoping you get one scholarship, you need to reframe it to “I hope I get a LOT of scholarships.”

This is a mindset of abundance — and it’s incredibly important when you start applying for different scholarships.

Which means two things:

  1. Instead of hoping you get a huge scholarship or full ride, you need to apply to as many as possible. After all, $500 here and $1,000 there can really add up.
  2. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get one you apply for. Scholarships are a numbers game, and many have only a handful of applicants.

Use every resource at your disposal — apply to any and all relevant scholarships you can find. Once you cast a wide net, you increase your chances of getting more money for school IMMENSELY.

Bonus: Having more than one stream of income can help you through tough economic times . Learn how to start earning money on the side with my FREE Ultimate Guide to Making Money

Step 2: How to find scholarships that will pay thousands (and ones nobody applies for)

If you’re a high school student, you have a lot of scholarship resources available to you. They can be broken up into five areas:

  1. High school career centers
  2. Library and bookstore
  3. Scholarship search sites
  4. Ethnic organizations
  5. Friends and family

With these resources, you’ll be able to earn thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Here’s how:

High school career centers

First, go to your high school career center. If your high school doesn’t have a career center, your school’s counselor can help you with this too.

Most high school career centers keep an updated list of scholarships sorted by date. Go through this list and make note of every single scholarship that applies to you. You should literally be writing down the information for each one — you’ll need it when you actually start the application process.

Do this in a Google or Excel spreadsheet. When recording, I suggest you write down the scholarship name, the amount it’s worth, a due date, and whether or not you’ve applied yet.

When you put it together, here’s what it might look like:

Scholarship name What it’s worth Due date Applied
IWT Scholarship $2,500 05/16 Yes


Of course, you can be as detailed as you want with your spreadsheet and include things like GPA requirements and whether or not you need an essay.

Once you’ve exhausted your school’s list of scholarships, call up other high schools and ask them if you can go in and talk to them about what scholarships might apply to you.

That’s right. I want you to call up other high schools in your city to see what scholarships they have. They’ll actually LOVE this because no high schooler ever goes out of their way to get scholarships.

If you show just a little bit of initiative in your educational future, they’ll be more than happy to help you out. Do the exact same thing you did with your school’s scholarship resources and record all the ones relevant to you.

When I was in high school, I ended up applying for 60 scholarships from my high school’s career center — and earned thousands for college in the process.

Library and bookstore resources

Once you’re finished exhausting all of the scholarships from your high school, head to a bookstore or library and pick up the latest copy of an annual scholarship book.

These books are comprehensive catalogs of grants and scholarships you can earn as a high school student. They’re FANTASTIC resources if you’re looking to find cash for college.

Here’s a list of a few good scholarship books to look for:

  1. The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2020 by Gen Tanabe and Kelly Tanabe ($19.71)
  2. Scholarship Handbook 2018 by The College Board ($22.51)
  3. Scholarships, Grants & Prizes 2019 by Peterson’s ($24.09)

I’ve included the Amazon links here so you can check them out — but I highly suggest purchasing these at your local bookstore so you can get started ASAP!

Once you get the book, do what you did with your high school’s scholarship resources and make note of all the scholarships you’d like to apply for.

Scholarship search sites

Once you’ve looked at all the scholarships you can through the aforementioned resources, you can turn to different search engines and websites that can help you find scholarships.

Many of them even include features that allow you to search for specific criteria like:

  • School-specific scholarships
  • Amount of money earned
  • GPA requirements
  • Essay requirements

You can set up email alerts so that you are automatically notified when the sites find scholarships that fit your specific needs too.

Here are a few suggestions for great sites to help you look for scholarships:

Bonus:Becoming a great student is all about building good habits. If you want to learn how to build good habits and break bad ones, download my FREE Ultimate Guide to Habits

Ethnic organization scholarships

Ethnic organizations of all stripes tend to offer scholarships. These can help you earn hundreds — if not thousands — in scholarship money.

Many of these are ethnicity-based, meaning that you’ll have to be a certain race or background in order to qualify for the scholarship.

A few suggestions:

Of course, simply fitting the racial criteria for ethnicity-based scholarships isn’t enough. You’re going to have to knock the application out of the park (more on that later).

Friends and family

Talk to your friends, parents, and parents’ friends to see if they know of any scholarships.

There are a lot of companies that offer college scholarships — companies that the people you know work at. So ask around! Some of the best scholarships come from some of the most unexpected places.

When I was applying for scholarships, my sister was working at Kaiser — which offered a college scholarship to relatives of Kaiser employees.

My mom is a teacher and she knew about a scholarship offered through the California Teachers Union.

These are scholarships barely anyone applies to because many high schoolers simply don’t know to ask about them. So when you DO find out about one, you automatically have an advantage over everyone else.

If you feel odd about it, know that every person wants to help out a high schooler. They won’t think it’s “weird.” In fact, they’ll find it admirable.

Which brings us to my favorite part…

Step 3: The only scholarship application strategy worth doing 

Okay, so now you have your (hopefully) large list of possible scholarships to apply to.

The strategy is simple: It’s time to apply to ALL of them.

This might seem like an incredibly daunting task. After all, these applications generally require you to do two things:

  1. Send a letter of recommendation
  2. Write an essay (or a few short ones)

However, there’s an easier way to go about the process that doesn’t involve writing 60+ unique essays.

Don’t get me wrong: Each application is going to take time and a bit of nuance in order to create a compelling case for you that’ll have the reader clamoring to give you the scholarship money.

But you can make the process a lot more effective and simple if you just look at the letters of recommendation and essays.

Get letters of recommendations

Most high school students are afraid to ask for letters of recommendation. It’s a little bit awkward to ask a teacher or other trusted adult to write a glowing recommendation for you.

HOWEVER, if you were a good student and established a good relationship with your teachers, they’ll be more than happy to help you out with your letter of recommendation. Most students never do this so they’d be happy to help.

You’re going to want to approach it the same way I approach asking for a testimonial: politely and with the majority of the work done already.

When you reach out to your teacher for a letter of recommendation, you’ll want to give them several things:

  • A broad view of what you want them to highlight
  • 2-3 key points they should touch on (maybe it’s something specific to the scholarship?)
  • Your resume so they have a reference to your accomplishments

If you provide them practically everything they need, they’ll be more than happy to give you an awesome letter of recommendation. In fact, many teachers will just ask you to write a draft that they can edit and sign.

Bonus: Getting scholarships is great, but mastering your personal finances is the gift that keeps on giving. I’ll show you how in my Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance

Write a college application essay that stands out

When it comes to writing an amazing scholarship essay, I’ve developed a highly complex intricate process of algorithms and systems that you need to follow EXACTLY if you want your writing to soar.

The steps are:

  1. Figure out what most students will write about
  2. Write something else

…and that’s it.

Why does this work? Most scholarship essays bore judges to tears.

Put yourself in the shoes of the person who will be reading your application — they’re going to be reading hundreds, maybe even THOUSANDS of these a day. And the fact of the matter is 99.99999% of the applications they read will be almost exactly the same.

Oh, you got good grades? You were in a bunch of extracurriculars? That mission trip you took to Honduras junior year was “life-changing”?

Get in line. What’s particularly unique about any of those things? Not a whole lot.

And if you fall into the same formula as everyone else, I guarantee you your application won’t get a second glance.

However, if you subvert the expectations of the scholarship judge, you’ll grab and hold onto their attention — allowing you to properly make your case.

To do that, you need to follow the aforementioned two steps.

First: Figure out what other students will write about

You’re sitting down at your laptop, the scholarship essay prompt is in front of you, and you’re ready to dive in.

Before you write a single word…STOP!

Think about the other people applying for the exact same scholarship — what are THEY going to be writing about?

What’s the easy answer to the prompt…and how can you subvert that?

Back when I was applying, I had one essay prompt that asked, “If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?”

Classic prompt. So I started thinking.

Nelson Mandela? Meh…that would be the “logical” choice. And to be honest, dinner with Mandela wouldn’t be the most exciting thing for a 17-year-old kid.

Maybe President Clinton? That’d be cool for bragging rights…but what would we talk about?

Given this prompt, I could have just written some BS about Mandela or the President but I would have sounded like every other person applying for the scholarship. Plus, I didn’t really want to meet them.

It’s almost like the people applying forget that it’s a competition. Would a coach say to his players, “Okay guys, we’re playing against every team in our division next week, so we’re just going to do the same plays over and over”?

No. So why would you want to do that too?

So when it came to who I wanted to have dinner with, I decided to go with my gut and pick someone different: Chris Rock.

Which leads me to the next step…

Next: Write your application with UNIQUE answers instead

When you take a step back and consider the common answers to the prompt, you’ll be able to come up with an answer that will subvert the judge’s expectations and keep their attention.

In my case, while other students wrote about historical figures, I chose Chris Rock, the famous comedian.

My essay went on to argue that though he’s perceived simply as a comedian, he’s actually a highly astute social commentator. His jokes revealed the things we want to say but won’t articulate — because we’re afraid to.

I even deconstructed one of his jokes and went into an in-depth analysis of why it was an examination of the racial attitudes our society holds.

And it worked.

My approach was offbeat — yet professional. When looking for the unique angles, you shouldn’t make it offensive or inappropriate. Instead, aim to make it deep, personal, and a little bit against the grain.

To show you what I mean, here are a few common essay prompts — as well as the boring responses judges will typically see AND an example of a good answer.

Question 1

“Is it fair that professional athletes earn millions of dollars?”
Typical boring answer: “No way! We should be paying that money to teachers and firefighters. Athletes are just playing a game.”

What’s wrong with it? You could find this opinion in the “Letters to the Editor” section of any newspaper. It doesn’t matter if the answer is right — it plays everything safe and is BORING.

Better answer: “Salaries aren’t decided by fairness. They’re decided by supply and demand. LeBron James is a millionaire because millions of fans pay to see him perform. Besides, if the athletes weren’t getting the money, the owners would. Those are the only two options.”

Question 2

“Which major world problem would you solve if you could only pick one?”
Typical boring answer: “I would end world hunger. Every man, woman, and child deserves this basic requirement of human life.”

What’s wrong with it? The reader makes no human connection to you. Why on earth would they want to read more?

Better answer: “My life changed forever when I spoke at my best friend’s funeral. Standing there under the storm clouds, I felt a personal duty to make sure no one sees suicide as their only way out.”

Question 3

“Respond to this statement: America’s middle class is in trouble.”
Typical boring response: “The middle class is America’s heartbeat. We need to put big corporations in their place to make room at the table for everyone.”

What’s wrong with it? This is such a cliche answer, the judge won’t help but roll their eyes. Reading an answer like this will have them mentally checking out before you can say, “Full-ride scholarship.”

Better answer: “Classes aren’t fixed groups of people. Most of us move in and out of different classes throughout our lives. In fact, many people who were in the middle class twenty years ago are in the upper class today.”

These answers practically grab you by the lapels and COMMAND attention. They stand out like a lighthouse in the ocean of boring applicants.

This is the difference between following the crowd and hoping for the best versus thinking strategically and winning the game.

Key things to remember to get any scholarship

Before you jump into the system above, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re applying:

  • After you write the essay, get at LEAST two other people to proofread it for you. You might think your first draft is perfect — but chances are it’s not. Plan to go through a few drafts before you land on the one you’ll be submitting.
  • Barely anyone applies to the majority of these scholarships — so you’ll already have a huge advantage by applying at all. The Craigslist Penis Effect is strong with scholarship applications. Leverage that knowledge.
  • Some scholarships require you to interview — so you need to prepare. Remember to prep for it by practicing interviews a LOT. That means doing them in front of a mirror, having your friend run through questions with you, and reading up on interview strategies. Here are a few great resources from IWT that’ll help you:

Check out my video on how you can crush your interview below:

What to do AFTER I get the scholarships?

Once you get your first scholarship, CONGRATS!!!

You’re now ahead of a vast majority of your peers when it comes to paying for your education — but it shouldn’t end there.

One of the greatest benefits of college is the networking opportunities it provides. You’ll literally never be in an environment like this again once you graduate, so it’s important to develop this skill now.

That’s why I put together my best networking tips that you can use to make connections with amazing people and easily have doors opened for you (including with to be the OBVIOUS scholarship winner).

When it comes to scholarships or even school in general, you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room — you just have to do the work.

If you’ve read all this, try doing just one step today. Not tomorrow, not after you finish that physics quiz, but TODAY.

Take someone out to lunch. Send an email to that professor you admire. Ask someone a question. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be today.

It’s easy to take the “safe” route. It’s much tougher to build your own confidence to do things differently — let alone at all.

But if you’re willing to take that first step, I want to help you.

Join my free email list to learn my secrets to earning more, learning, and finding a passion that’ll earn you money forever.

Yes, show me the secrets of Master Networkers

100% privacy. No games, no B.S., no spam. When you sign up, we'll keep you posted with a few emails per week.


  1. avatar
    David Isserman


    Great thoughts on the subject. I was just approached by a friend looking for similar info. I’ll pass this post along to her.

    One thing I found during college was that many people don’t actually go after scholarships once they’re admitted. If you just sit down with your financial aid person and ask them what is available, they’ll probably be able to place you with a scholarship.

    If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

    – David

    • avatar

      Don't go to college! I am a teacher and I have witnessed a lot of kids go off to college too soon and fail out! Here is some advice for graduating seniors and their parents based on 15 years of observations.

      1. Make them work and pay for some of it.( they have to have some skin in the game)
      2. If they are immature and not self- reliant don’t let them go to a far off University.
      3. Have them talk to recent graduates to get advice/tips; they are much more likely to listen to them than you.
      4. A community college is a great place to save money and usually has professors who are teachers 1st unlike the research focused professors at Universities
      5. Don’t be frivolous with your cash. Consider things like $25/month car insurance (from Insurance Panda), $20/month mobile phone (TMobile), $15/month gym membership (Planet Fitness), and use apps like GasBuddy to save money in other ways. College is expensive – save for it!
      6. Speaking of which – Don’t try to “Keep up with the Jones”. This dooms kids and forces them into the student debt trap.
      7. Don’t be afraid to let them fail. If you constantly bail them out you will be doing it for the rest of their lives and they will never grow as a person.
      8. Make them aware of the differences in earning power/job availability of different majors.
      9. The military, tech school, and apprenticeships are all viable alternatives to college.
      10. Do a cost/ benefit analysis if you are going to take on significant debt make sure it’s for a valuable degree. 60k debt for a chemistry degree is ok, 60k for Art History is not.

  2. avatar
    Mrs. Micah

    I did get one scholarship through fastweb–they pointed me a state one I was eligible for. But I wouldn’t advise spending more than an hour a week looking through their choices.

    As it was, applied for scholarships and got 4. They were equal to about $23,250 per year. Which almost covered my degree. My parents paid for the rest as long as I got grades to keep the scholarships up (best one required 3.6 GPA).

    • avatar

      why every scholarship has to be for US citizens only? 🙁

    • avatar

      because its american made XD jk idk really but there are many others

  3. avatar

    Great advice! That’s how I won more than $100,000 in scholarships for my entire college education.

    • avatar

      Hi my name is Nica how are you I was wondering if you can tell me what sites did you go under for to sign up for a scholarship. My son is a senior and he wants to go to a performing arts school which I can not afford so if you can give me any advice it would be very much appreciated. Thank you

    • avatar

      help me to get full scholarship for my masters of education in Poliy planning

    • avatar

      If you are going to grad school for a productive degree, in the US, scolarships are certainly nice, but they aren’t necessary. Grad students get paid to go to school, at least they do if they’re doing it right. As a grad student, you should either have an employer helping to pay for your schooling, or you should be employed by the school you are attending as a teaching assistant and/or a research assistant. As I said, this applies to most graduate degree programs.

  4. avatar

    Great advice! I will pass it along to my sister-in-law.

    I also second going and talking to your financial aid office once you get to school. Just by asking for money, I got 17k over 2 years.

  5. avatar

    Great post!

    I’m a scholarship kid myself.
    Got a full scholarship all through school.
    The biggest one I landed was for volunteer work
    so no, you don’t have to be the sharpest pencil in the box
    or a super star athlete
    (I was neither).

    And yes, most people don’t apply.
    The odds and payoff is better than the lottery.

    • avatar

      Wow, How did you get a full scholarship ? do you have any tips or something? That is something i really would like for the degrees im heading into.

  6. avatar

    This is how I paid for college with only minimal debt when I graduated. I discovered a couple things during the process.

    Even if tuition is paid for, still get more scholarships. You have to pay for books, equipment, supplies, room and board in addition to tuition. Also, if you use scholarships for non-academic expenses (some can be used for room and board), they are taxed, so make sure to set aside money for that.

    If you get a bunch of small, one year or one semester scholarships, keep applying all through school. Every $500 check helps.

    Apply for Federal aid, even if you don’t think you’ll get anything. You may be surprised, especially if a parent gets laid off or you get a medical condition.

    Finally, just even applying may get you something. Like Ramit said, your odds are great, even if you’re not the smartest, most athletic, or you don’t volunteer hours and hours every week.

  7. avatar
    Roman Porkat


    Good advice regarding the scholarships. I agree that there are similarities applicable to other endeavors, including entrepreneurship. In fact, the harder the process is for applying for a specific scholarship, the better chance you have since less people will even try to apply. The reality is that those that need the help the most end up not getting it because they lack the resources or aren’t able to network as the more privileged. Ultimately if you have the drive and realize that you can’t win every time, you have greater chance of succeeding, whether it is obtaining scholarships or starting your own business.

  8. avatar

    To what extent does this apply to Business School? If my company doesn’t help pay, how can I earn money for B-school?

  9. avatar
    Joseph McClellan


    Yet another fantastic post. The thing I love the most about I will teach you to be rich is all of the fantastic content that you have posted. I do believe I can look up information on just about any subject relating to personal finance on your site and find it.

    This scholarship post I found especially true as I’ve never tried to apply for scholarships up until this semester but I decided I’d take your advice and just do it and I was awarded a small amount with almost no effort on my part. Keep up the good work!

  10. avatar
    How To Have Fewer Student Loans!

    […] from I will Teach You to be Rich, shares an email he recently sent to a friend detailing tips and hints for getting scholarships. The advice is great and for those of you getting your children prepped for school or the high […]

  11. avatar

    I have to agree wholeheartedly, I walked into my Financial Aid office at college, and they had a handful of scholarships that nobody applied because there really wasn’t much advertising. I was able to get a year and a half tuition paid because of those scholarships, so it’s worth the visit!

  12. avatar


    Excellent post. I applied for scholarships, had some success at it. However, I regret not applying for more – as it seems to be part skill, part luck, and a lot about volume/numbers of apps. They do say that a lot of the money that is available goes unused each year because people don’t apply.

    Had I decided to spend less time hanging out and a little more time knocking out a few 500 word essays, I might not have $10K in loan debt hanging over me like a proverbial Sword of Damocles.

    • avatar

      “Had I decided to spend less time hanging out and a little more time knocking out a few 500 word essays, I might not have $10K in loan debt hanging over me like a proverbial Sword of Damocles.”

      Haha, I love that. With those writing skillets, you should definitely write more scholarship essays.

  13. avatar
    Scholarships galore: Making college affordable - Smart Spending

    […] only one scholarship when you can apply for 60? Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich offers a primer for finding and getting lots of college scholarships. Many high school students don’t make the effort, so they’re out there for the taking. Apply for […]

  14. avatar

    I will always regret not applying for more scholarships. While the automatic ones awarded by the state and my state university cover my tuition as well as room and board, I still pay for books by myself. I did apply for one scholarship within my department at school this year. I haven’t heard back on whether I got it or not, but I was so proud of myself for even applying.

  15. avatar

    Important point: start when your child is in the 9th grade!

    Your kid will need a resume, with all those extracurricular activities and service hours, so start now to just keep a running tab. Every accomplishment: sports team, debate team, horse riding ribbons, arts camps attended. Everything that means civics or activity or helping or joining sounds good.

    At the beginning of junior year, massage that into a resume. At our kids’ high school, the counselors start hitting the kids and parents with scholarship info at the beginning of senior year, but that’s too late really. Visit the FAFSA site and find out how it works, so you can start researching the scholarships listed there. When you see the requirements, and how many need an essay, you’ll be happy you developed that resume, because that’s the basis of your “why I deserve this scholarship” speech.

    Don’t think that whatever your major is is unlikely to have scholarships. As I was researching for my older daughter (heading into engineering) I spotted stuff like a society of women engineers with a scholarship. I spotted scholarships for people going into welding (not trade school, college). There’s all kinds out there, and many go unawarded every year.

    We lucked out, my wife stumbled across a fellowship that was new and our daughter qualified. We had to get all over her to do the work and apply, but she got it and her college is paid for. One down, one to go…

  16. avatar

    I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on this! I applied to over 30 scholarships and won over $75,000 towards school. I truly believe that I only won some of them because so few people applied! For instance, one scholarship was offered by a local company and only advertised it in a coupon newspaper called “The Penny Saver”. I doubt hardly anyone else saw it, or bothered to apply!

    • avatar

      Hi there Randy,

      Im working on my scholarship essay for the Penny Hoarder as well. If there are any tips or important suggestions that you can give me on how you won that would be greatly appreciated.

      Aspiring Broke College Student

    • avatar
      Alex Lee

      Where could I find the best scholarships?

    • avatar

      you can find a lot of them everywhere like the “lose your V-Card” it allows you to encourage your friends to vote and all i sent was “hi” and i got it XD

  17. avatar

    Do you have any advice for some who dropped out of high school to get their GED and join the work force? I would love to go to college but the cost of it is so daunting and it doesn’t seem like much help is available in my situation.

  18. avatar

    Laura — I can’t vouch for B-school, but you might be surprised to see what a simple request can do at your school’s financial aid office.

    When my sister first got accepted to medical school (both notoriously expensive and scholarship stingy), she wrote a one-page request to her school’s scholarship committee asking them to kick in a little bit more money on top of the financial aid package she had already received.

    She was quite honest in her letter, which explained how our parents were helping her pay for school at the same time that they were helping our pay for his college education. The letter also highlighted her academic acheivements and requested that they look over her case and see if they could help her our any more.

    She didn’t think much would come of it since many of the school’s scholarship funds were already given out (she sent it in July), so we were all pretty suprised when they answered with an extra one-time $3000 scholarship. I guess it never hurts to ask!

  19. avatar

    looking back, i wish i applied to more scholarships in college. i think i applied to one or two and didn’t get anything. :oP i remember once a friend was talking about applying to one but said it wasn’t worth the effort cuz she didn’t stand a chance anyway and i was like oh pshhh whatever, just apply anyway, and she ended up getting the scholarship.
    actually i think she’s the one who told me about your site. totally unrelated, but yeah.

  20. avatar

    Great post. I will send to my little sis. She’s only in 7th grade, but this post I suspect will be valuable to her a couple of years from now.

  21. avatar
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  23. avatar

    Great advices.
    However I do not live in USA.
    Any ideas or advices how to get some scholarships internationally?

  24. avatar

    I agree much with what Ramit has to say sans the FastWeb comment. Although I agree that it can be somewhat harder to win with FastWeb, the same sentiment can be applied to it as regular “offline” scholarships: no one applies! I only applied to 6 scholarships via FastWeb post H.S. graduation and I won 2. I won a $1K from BestBuy and then I won another from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which actually turned out to meet “all unmet financial need.” In other words, a full ride! It was called the Gates Millennium Scholars Program.

    Sure, one could say I was lucky and randomly fortunate but when it comes to being rich, you just can’t rule out any possibilities.

  25. avatar
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  26. avatar

    This is super awesome advice. I should apply for more scholarships before it’s too late. i grad from high school May 23, and I’m supposed to start college in the fall. I’m really going to try to apply to more scholarships outside of web-based scholarships–as you mentioned fast web is horrible! And you are very correct, no ever wins those. I’m only going to apply to two more on fast web then I’m done. Also, I attend a magnet school so my school doesn’t offer scholarships to students unless they are in magnet, ROTC, or band. Our counselors are not really there to help students look for scholarships–hence, our career advisor send all students to fast-web, which is basically false hope. I really don’t know where to start because I can’t really go to other high schools–there’s only two other schools and they both use fast web as a primary source for scholarships. I’m really running out of ideas.

  27. avatar

    One great thing that you make clear in your blog is that you are very engaged and without hesitation, go the extra mile to provide resources. While other bloggers are whining, you are doing. It’s a great read and I only wish I learned about it earlier (how about before the napkin contest).

    Awesome job, Ramit.


  28. avatar
    Student loans and financial aid: How to save $23,000 | I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    […] Here’s my 10-second background so you know where I’m coming from: I grew up in a middle-class family with immigrant parents and 3 other siblings, got into Stanford (where I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies), and secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships. […]

  29. avatar
    3 Things You Need to Do to Win Scholarships

    Awesome post. I’m starting college this fall and I’ve got $11000 in scholarships and another $6000 in financial aid! I’m actively applying to scholarship and I will until I get out of college..

  30. avatar
    Jordan Golder

    I’m not sure if you read the comments on this post still but do you know if the information you’ve given is valid for international students as well? See, I’m from the UK and looking to study out in America next year and after spending about 40 minutes on the phone to a Uni I really want to go to I’ve realised that I’m going to have to find masses of scholarships to help fund me education. Do you have any tips?

  31. avatar

    This is super awesome advice. I should apply for more scholarships before it’s too late. i grad from first degreeI was able to get a year and a half tuition paid because of those scholarships, so it’s worth the visit

  32. avatar

    Most often when i read your post i wonder whether you are the originator of all kinds of scholarships.Your post are very pratical and real.Bravo to you

  33. avatar
    Cable TV Quote

    Cable TV Quote has just announced plans for a $1,000 scholarship.

  34. avatar
    Sanket bharatbhai koradiya


  35. avatar
    Shanice Miller

    Competition for the most lucrative scholarships is fierce. Unless you are the cream of the crop among applicants, it’s better to think small. Less competition increases your odds of being rewarded. Because these scholarships are less well known, they will generally be for smaller amounts so you will need to apply for several, as many as you can in fact. This too increases your odds of winning, less competition and more chances to do so. Look for opportunities that are local rather than national, businesses and organizations in your community who offer grants and awards.

  36. avatar

    素晴らしい見ているそれらを探して、セドナゴールドで高級なオメガスピードマスターは、ちょうどギフト2015年のオメガスピードマスタームーンウォッチと数えられた版。 オーデマ・ピゲ時計コピー 全く奇妙な響きのある名前ではないのを見て、本当にあなたがどれだけ美しいこの新しいパンダダイヤルオメガスピードマスタームーンウォッチのルックスに焦点のためのデザイン・インスピレーションを理解するのを助けることを無視します。2015年までにずるくバーゼルでリリースされて、この新しいオメガスピードマスターは、金の価格を出すことをそれらのコレクターのためのヒットになりそうです。また、オメガスピードマスタームーンウォッチの数えられた版39.7mmウォッチはまた、しばしば空間における「第1のオメガスピードマスター」と呼ばれ、と私のようなより良い名前が私がこのレビューのように腕時計を参照していますので。

  37. avatar

    ルイヴィトン スーパーコピー「バッグ色は手触りがいいが、触ってみると、週囲の姉妹はこの綺麗、最近ずっと忙しくて、長い時間がかかりました、いい感じ ヴィトン スーパーコピー ルイヴィトンキーケース コピー当店ルイヴィトン 偽物は創業9年以上の老舗です。業界の長い歴史から言えばまだまだですが、創業 9 年以上の実績と信頼のあるお店です。全世界通信販売は6年前から行っております。さらに1年間で約数万件の販売実績があります。ルイヴィトン スーパーコピー 販売専門ショップです!ルイヴィトン コピー ブランドバッグ、財布、アクセサリー、手帳、ベルト、靴、腕時計、ネクタイ、スカーフなどを揃っております、日本国内最高級のルイヴィトン偽物ブランド激安販売!

  38. avatar

    […] Scholarships – You’re not going to get scholarships through the FAFSA directly, you need to apply for the thousands that are available elsewhere. Generally, scholarships do not need to be repaid, but if the conditions of the award are broken (e.g. your GPA slips, you change majors, you quit the same sport your entire scholarship was based on, etc), you run the risk of losing your scholarship(s). […]

  39. avatar
    Lisa Neal

    Yes, it seems the money does add up. I wish I had spent more time on scholarship searches. I do want to share another scholarship opportunity>>

  40. avatar
    Lillian Copeland

    I applied to over 25 scholarships. I have won 1 so far but I am very confident so more are coming ! But I never thought of going to the library to get a ‘scholarship book’. I am aiming for $10,000 in scholarship money. I believe I win achieve it and once I get it. I don’t plan to stop applying. This article and comments really helped me. I wish the best for everyone !

  41. avatar

    How easy is it to find and actually get scholarships when you’re older? I’m 25 and I find most scholarships online are for those still in high school. I want to go back to school to finish my degree I started and unless a scholarship says for those planning to enroll within 12 months I can barely find any. I’m also considering transferring to a school abroad and if that were to actually happen can any scholarships apply to colleges abroad? Where should I look online for scholarships because I don’t know any relatives or anyone with company scholarships and being out of high school I find nearly impossible to did ones and most are random drawings ones with a slim chance of winning.

  42. avatar

    hi Mohamed Name , bevor amenden mochte ich Information .
    ich habe .ich habe einfach yutub gekocht und habe ich vidio gesehen.
    wo ich kann Information habe .

  43. avatar

    This is great advice. My friends keep asking how I snagged a scholarship worth tens of thousands of dollars and I just tell them to apply, apply and apply. Now, I’ll just send them this article.

  44. avatar

    give me directions on how I can get scholarship for Masters of Education, management and policy planning

  45. avatar
    Stop Using Excuses and Start Applying for Graduate Grants, Scholarships, and Fellowships – Frugal PhD

    […] a great post titled “How I won $100,000+ in college scholarships,” personal finance blogger Ramit Sethi shares a quote about applying for scholarships […]

  46. avatar
    Sean Thomas

    I personally find a lot of these websites confusing to use when searching for scholarships. I have tried a couple of apps and the best I have seen is Scholarship Trac. You can find it on the AppStore here . I like that I am able to check scholarships while I am on the train.

  47. avatar

    How easy is it to get these scholarships as an international student?

    • avatar
      Micheal A

      Honestly, getting an international scholarship is not easy though serious students do get it with ease. You just have to be sure of what you want and play by the roles. You can read some tips on how to win scholarship here

  48. avatar
    The Ultimate Guide to Building a Recurring Revenue Business From Scratch – Michael Alexis

    […] Sethi tells the story of how he systematized scholarship applications to pay for his entire Stanford […]

  49. avatar
    20 Money Saving Tips for College Students - Affordable Online Colleges

    […] of dollars toward tuition or expenses. It’s nothing to sneeze at. Check out an article titled How I won $100,000+ in College Scholarships for a great resource on the “whys” and “hows” of scholarship applications. After applying […]

  50. avatar

    This is great advice I wish I had in high school.

    I’m currently trying to go back to school after finishing an associates degree in something that I’m not satisfied with and
    Have trouble finding affordable B.A. Programs for (movie making).

    Any advice for someone like me, an adult, looking to go back to school full time? I had great grades and a ton of achievements while in both high school and college; however it seems most scholarships are geared towards high school students or undergraduates.

    Thanks to anyone who has relevant advice 🙂

  51. avatar

    perfect post! I needed that motivation

  52. avatar
    How to win any competition you enter – WOCHAD Consult

    […] so terrible that you win just by simply being “adequate.” It’s one of the ways I managed to win $100,000+ in college scholarships to pay my way through undergrad and grad school at Stanford. And to get my own phrase listed on […]

  53. avatar
    Laura Lou

    Very nice and informative posting.

  54. avatar
    Mighty Investor

    One other factor to keep in mind is that the very best schools (Ivy Leagues and Stanford) have a sliding scale in what the charge depending on the student's parents' income. This means for someone of modest financial background, if they can get into a top shelf school, can be paying tens of thousands of dollars per year less than other students. That's why you shouldn't assume you can't go to a top-shelf school because of money. It's amazing how few people know this. Just google each school for the info on their sliding scales….

  55. avatar
    Phil @ PhilanthroCapitalist

    I have a question: I recently applied to "The Privilege Grant" sponsored by Milo Yiannopoulos, but I'm not in any way conservative (or, in his case, a bigot). If I win and accept it, does that make me a bad person?

    I'm just kidding (kind of, haha). I've applied to hundreds of scholarships and only won one. That's, of course, better than none.

    Still . . . a little depressing. Maybe I'll give it another go with these tips.

    I've become a little jaded about the whole process ever since reading Zac Bissonnette's Debt Free U. He said something about how "teaching people how best to apply for scholarships has a 100% neutral effect on the public. If one intelligent go-getter doesn't get it, another intelligent go-getter will."

  56. avatar

    Aspire-Canada also offers a scholarship each year to new or returning students attending a post-secondary institution. Each year 1,000 is awarded to a lucky student.

    Visit for more details and to apply.

  57. avatar
    Abdo Riani

    Just in case any of the readers are athletes, the way I got an athletic scholarship was by emailing over 100 coaches mainly in D1 universities which resulted in over 10 offers and emails from coaches that heard I was seeking athletic scholarships.

    The truth is, you don't need to be a professional to earn a scholarship in sports. Although I played professionally in high school, many of my friends were below average tennis players and still got recruited.

    If not for you, this story may apply to your kids, siblings and friends.

  58. avatar

    This means for someone of modest financial background, if they can get into a top shelf school, can be paying tens of thousands of dollars per year less than other students. That's why you shouldn't assume you can't go to a top-shelf school because of money.
    Further more details, you can check out this link:

  59. avatar

    I do not agree Best regards, Jerrie

  60. avatar

    This is really a nice blog about scholarship news and collection

  61. avatar

    My oldest applied to so many scholarships- local, online and didn't get a thing. The BEST advice I have gotten regarding this is that the schools will give them out better than anything you can apply to outside of the school. And that is exactly how it went for him. A total of several scholarships directly from the college that paid his tuition.

    Now, our youngest is going through the same thing. Local and online scholarships with 4 letters of recommendation…. He hasn't chosen which college he wants to go to just yet, as we're waiting to hear back from his top choice. But we're all hoping that he gets a outside scholarship in addition to any school given ones.

    Nowadays, sponsors do not give the scholarship money directly to the student, as they did in Ramit's time..They have smartened up and send it directly to the school.
    So, the kids can't invest it like Ramit. And they're asking for way more recommendations, as well as many essays. And let's not forget that they also want a HS transcript and a SARS report from FAFSA. Um, yeah. All for $1000 or less.

  62. avatar
    Sara khan

    Not bad 🙂

  63. avatar
    Louis Chew

    I don't think the examples you've provided were entirely unique. The way you've explained them, they were simply better reasoned and better written. Much of that is skill, more than unique content.

    It's harder to go at things from a unique angle when there is real risk involved. What I mean by real is that if you're a student with good grades – typical or better than those who are usually awarded the scholarship – you don't want to incur additional risk. I totally understand the importance of being unique and interesting, but it's psychologically difficult to do so when so much is on the line. I study in Singapore, where scholarships typically cover the entire tuition fee, and so selection committees are probably more judicious.

    That said, it's definitely worth a shot if there's less risk. If your grades or CV is worse or only as good as the typical profile of scholarship winners, a unique angle is definitely called for. Also much easier to do so based on experience.