20 Scholarships from brand names that want to help you pay for college: Coca-Cola Scholarship, Dr. Pepper Scholarship, Dell Top Tech Scholarship and more!

At Going Merry, we’ve got plenty of well-known scholarship opportunities for your scholarship search, including sponsorships sponsored by brand names you know and love. Check out these 20 corporate scholarships you need to know about –, the Coca-Cola Scholarship, Taco Bell Scholarship, GoPro Scholarship, Motorola Scholarship, and more!

1. Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship

Amount: $10,000 + mentor + 1-year Creative Cloud subscription membership

Submit: Online Application

Adobe wants to celebrate women in technology. So this scholarship opportunity is open to all female undergraduate (sophomore or above) or masters students, studying computer science, computer engineering, or a related field. The application requires a resume, academic transcripts, references, up to four essay questions, and an optional 60-second video sharing your dream career.

2. Burger King James W. McLamore Whopper Scholarship Award

Amount: Up to $50,000

Submit: Online Application

GPA: 3.3

The Burger King McLamore Foundation offers scholarships for non-employees, employees,  and relations (spouses, domestic partners, or children) of employees. Applicants must be high school seniors, looking to attend a four-year accredited college or university in the U.S. Applicants should also play an active, leading role in community service, athletics, or similar activities.

3. Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

Amount: Up to $20,000

Submit: Online Application

The Coca-Cola Scholarship is awarded to graduating high school seniors based on achievement. Applicants will be recognized for their leadership and commitment to making a difference in their schools and communities. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation also offers additional programs, including the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise and the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program, which support student leaders.

4. Dell Top Tech Scholarship

Amount: Up to $10,000

Submit: Video or Essay Submission, easily via Going Merry

Dell believes technology has been invented to solve problems and wants to hear how applicants used technology to solve a problem or enabled them to do something great. This scholarship is open to high school, college, and graduate school students. Applicants must be a member of UNiDAYS or sign up for a free account before applying for the scholarship. You can apply here via Going Merry. By filling out your profile on our site, you can also be matched with a whole range of scholarships that you’re eligible for. 

5. Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway

Amount: Up to $100,000

Submit: Video Submission

Students 18 to 24 years old may enter the tuition giveaway. Applicants must create a profile, describe how they will change the world, and upload a video explaining academic and professional goals. The video must include a goal, why it’s important, and how the applicant plans to achieve that goal. Applicants must plan to attend an accredited two- or four-year college.

6. Grubhub Greatest Delivery Scholarship

Amount: Up to $50,000

Submit: Video or Essay Submission

The food delivery service wants to hear your story about the most important delivery (physical or verbal) that you’ve ever made. You have the option to tell your story with a video in 2 minutes or less, or with a written essay that is 500 words or less. Applicants must be a UNiDAYS member or sign up for a free account before applying. And you can apply right through Going Merry, which saves all your profile info and makes applying to other scholarships easier too. 

7. Duck® Brand Stuck at Prom Scholarship

Amount: Up to $10,000

Submit: Photo Submission

Get creative! Applicants must create and wear original promwear using Duck® brand crafting tape, and then submit a photograph wearing the Duck® dress or tux. Judges will determine the five top-scoring entries in each category, and then an online community will vote for the best submission in each category. Applicants must be 14 years of age or older. 

8. Ford Blue Oval Scholar Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Submit: Online Application

Ford Motor Company has partnered with other foundations to offer 12 different scholarships, including the Alliance for Women in Media, the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Applicant requirements vary based on each scholarship. Students should check the Ford Blue Oval Scholar page to select a scholarship and apply.

9. Google Lime Scholarship

Amount: Up to $10,000

Submit: Essay Submission

Google supports the work of Lime Connect by providing scholarships to computer science students with disabilities. Applicants must be enrolled as full-time undergraduate, graduate, or PhD students in the U.S. or in Canada, pursuing a Computer Science or Computer Engineering degree. Students must have a visible or invisible disability and demonstrate leadership in the computer science and technology fields. Applicants must log in or join The Lime Network to submit a current resume, transcripts, five essays, and one letter of recommendation.

10. GoPro Share Your Moment Scholarship

Amount: Up to $10,000

Submit: Video Submission

GoPro wants applicants to share an incredible moment they experienced in 2 minutes or less. Applicants must submit a video. High school, college, and graduate school students may apply. Applicants must be a UNiDAYS member or sign up for a free account before applying. You can then fill our your application on Going Merry. While you’re there, see what other scholarships you’re eligible for. You can then reuse the same information you submitted to GoPro, using our “Common App for scholarships” setup. 

11. Habit Burger Grill 50th Anniversary Community Scholarship

Amount: Up to $2,500

Submit: Online Application

GPA: 2.5

To celebrate 50 years, Habit Burger Grill is awarding ten scholarships (of $2500 each!)  to eligible students based on application creativity. High school students graduating in any year 2017-2020 are eligible to apply, along with college students from the class of 2021-2023, and community college class of 2021. Students who apply must be attending or planning to attend a two- or four-year college or similar certification program. You can apply via Going Merry, which makes it easy for you to match with, favorite, and filter through quality scholarships like this one.

12. H&M Most Likely to Save the World Scholarship

Amount: Up to $1,000

Submit: Video or Essay Submission

H&M promotes social and environmental sustainability and wants to know how applicants are saving the world with their own eco-friendly initiatives. High school, college, and graduate school students may apply. Applicants may also share their answers on social media using the hashtag #HMSavetheworld. Preference may be given to students who post with the hashtag on social media. Applicants must be a UNiDAYS member or sign up for a free account before applying. You can apply for this scholarship via our Going Merry application portal, which reuses your personal information across applications, so you never have to fill in the same information twice!

13. Lulus Biggest Heart Scholarship

Amount: Up to $10,000

Submit: Video or Essay Submission

Lulus wants to hear why you or someone you know has the biggest heart in the world. Applicants may submit a video or essay explaining why they or a friend deserve the scholarship. High school, college, and graduate school students may apply. Applicants must be a UNiDAYS member or sign up for a free account. You can submit your video/essay on Going Merry, and we’ll let you know in several weeks if you’ve won. (Need inspiration? Check out how one Going Merry applicant won a Best Friend Scholarship by submitting this video.) 

14. Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Amount: Varies

Submit: Online Application

Mastercard offers a variety of scholarship programs catering to secondary education, undergraduate studies, and masters degree programs. Applicants should visit the Mastercard Foundation website to select a program and review the application requirements.

15. Motorola Milestone Scholarship

Amount: Up to $10,000

Submit: Video or Essay Submission

Motorola wants to hear about an important “first” milestone you have reached. Applicants may share of their “first” something, in video or essay format. High school, college, and graduate school students may apply. Applicants must be a UNiDAYS member or sign up for a free account. It’s easy to apply on Going Merry. You can also save your progress and return to your application later.

16. Penguin Random House Signet Essay Contest

Amount: $1,000 + Signet Classics collection for school or public library

Submit: Essay Submission

Signet Classics is the publisher for over 300 of the greatest literary works. Each year, this scholarship aims to celebrate one of the books in that collection. Applicants must write an essay on one of five topics for the current competition book. For 2019, it’s Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. High school juniors and seniors, including home-schooled students aged 16 to 18, may apply.  A high school English teacher (or parent/legal guardian for home-schooled students) must submit the essay on behalf of the students. 

17. Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholars Award (RMHC)

Amount: Varies

Submit: Online Application

The RMHC Scholars Award is available in many states throughout the U.S. Applicant requirements may vary per state, including GPA and scholarship awards. Applicants must at least be a graduating high school senior and must be younger than 21 years of age.

18. Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Submit: Video Submission

Submit a 2-minute-or-less video sharing your story of your driving passion. As part of the application, the Taco Bell Foundation also wants to know what area of study and degree you plan to pursue, and how these funds would help aid that. Applicants must be between 16 and 24 years of age, located in the U.S.., and enrolled or applying to an accredited two- or four-year college, university, vocational-technical school, or trade school.

19. UNiDAYS “The Best U” Scholarship

Amount: Up to $2500

Submit: Photo Submission

One of Going Merry’s partners, UNiDAYS, is asking students to show their best “U.” Applicants may submit a photo of their most creative version of the letter “U” to apply for this scholarship opportunity. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in college or attending graduate school. Applicants must be a UNiDAYS member or sign up for a free account before applying.

20. WGA Evans Scholarship

 Amount: Varies

Submit: Online Application

Criteria: Strong caddie record and above a B average in college preparatory courses

The Western Golf Association (WGA) Evans Scholarship, named after amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr., puts the focus on caddies. Evans wanted to preserve his amateur status by putting any money he was awarded from golf toward caddie scholarships. Applicants must be a high school senior and must have successfully caddied for at least two years. Eligible applicants are expected to apply to an Evans Scholars university listed here and continue to caddie at their sponsoring golf club the year they apply.

There are countless brand name scholarships to apply to, including the Coca-Cola Scholarship, Dr. Pepper Scholarship, and many other scholarships available right on Going Merry. Check out more funding opportunities for college by creating an account on Going Merry!

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A counselor’s guide to making the most of Going Merry: 4 tips for student scholarship success

More than 5000 high school counselors across the U.S. use Going Merry. Recently, we reached out to some of the most successful counselors–ones who’ve helped many scholarship student winners. We asked them for their top tips.

How can Going Merry help your students win more scholarships and save you time? 

Well, here’s what our successful counselors said. (We added GIFS. You’re welcome.)

1. Early bird gets the worm. (And worm = $$)

Early bird gets the money. Sign your students up early.

Sign up students, earlyStudents who sign up early win more scholarships because there’s less competition early in the year. Students don’t need to be admitted to college first. There are plenty of scholarships for high school seniors, all the way down to freshmen–some with deadlines in October!

2. Leave no one behind. 

Leave no one behind. Sign up all your students to the Going Merry platform, where there's a scholarship match for everyone.

Sign up everyoneMany scholarships – particularly local or memorial scholarships – aren’t just about GPA or SAT scores. The most successful counselors were the ones who signed up most of their class. Some tips to do this from counselors include: hold an assembly for students, remind students during one-on-one meetings, and reach out to parents to get them involved.

3. Go digital (even when it’s local). 

Go digital, even when it's local. Upload your local scholarships to manage them on the Going Merry platform.

Upload your local scholarships to Going Merry (it’s free!): Your students will then have one place for all their scholarships. You can also manage your scholarship easily and digitally, using our scholarship administration portal. Hundreds of counselors do this with us already; join them! Just email us at scholarships@goingmerry.com, and we can upload your scholarship for you. 

4. Add that fancy link. (Nerd talk: It’s an “embeddable widget.”)

Add that fancy link. Embed our Going Merry scholarships widget to your school website.

Link to Going Merry on your school site: Students often find us via their school website. You can just add an ordinary link to Goingmerry.com on your school site, OR embed our new widget, which is like a mini-Going Merry right on your webpage! Our widget will show a list of scholarships that automatically update as we add news ones. Check it out on a partner school’s site! To add the tool to your site, go here (or just to “Scholarships widget” on the left navigation bar). You can even edit it to match your school colors! See screenshot here:

What else can High School Counselors do on Going Merry?

As a counselor, you can also:

  • Recommend specific scholarships to all or some of your students
  • Track students’ progress on applications (via our handy dashboard!)
  • Upload documents like transcripts and recommendation letters (don’t worry, those letters stay private!)
  • Recommend Going Merry to other counselors (thank you in advance!) or connect us to college admissions offices (so that we can add more college financial information to our College Scholarships page).

Haven’t quite mentally returned from summer break yet? Not sure how to do any or all of these things? No worries! Schedule a refresher webinar with our co-founder Charlie here

Haven’t yet signed up? What are you waiting for? Create a counselor account here

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Our new “College Scholarships” section lists universities’ own financial aid packages, tailored to you.

Where we came from

For two years, we’ve built a platform to allow students, counselors, and parents an easy way to find scholarships they’re eligible for, filter through the noise, and apply to their favorites—all right from our platform. Now, over 200,000 students across 10,000 high schools use Going Merry.

But external, independent scholarships are only one part of the financial equation. Universities themselves also offer financial aid packages.

Introducing: College Scholarships

So now, we’re excited to announce a new section on our website called “College Scholarships.” (Note: You have to sign up or log in to a student account to access it.)

This page will list a range of colleges we’re working with, to make their financial aid offerings clearer to students. Each college provides an overview of their financial aid program, with examples of aid packages for different household income levels. And when you choose to “Learn more” about any college, we’ll pass on your name and details. This way, the college can reach out to you directly with information tailored to your specific case.

See the introductory walk-through video below:

Which colleges do we feature? UVA and others!

So far, we’ve got 5 colleges on board, including the prestigious University of Virginia. UVA has committed to meeting students’ full financial need, for both in-state and out-of-state applicants.

College Scholarships - University of Virginia financial aid

But this is just the beginning; in the coming weeks and months, we’ll be building out this section with more colleges—all of which want to show you just how much money is on the table.

And remember: This direct aid from colleges is all in addition to whatever award money you might win from independent scholarships.

Why did we add this?

We know how difficult it is to navigate how to pay for college. 3 in 4 high school seniors we surveyed said they would change their first choice college, if they got substantial aid somewhere else.

We hope this new College Scholarships section will allow you to make more financially informed decisions about which college you apply for, and which college you choose to attend.

Stay tuned for other features too! We’re building out a range of tools to help students make more financially informed decisions about college.

Not yet using Going Merry? 

Sign up as a student or as a counselor!

You might also be interested in:
The ultimate financial aid guide—including information like what’s FAFSA? What’s a Pell Grant? What’s the difference between a PLUS loan or a Perkins loan?
12-step guide on how to apply to scholarships – including some helpful tips to get organized, so you can win that moneys!
5 awesome scholarship essays that worked – with examples of winning essays and a breakdown of why they were good

What’s a winning scholarship essay look like? Actually, it’s a winning scholarship video.

More and more scholarships (like this Motorola Milestone one) allow you to submit short videos instead of personal essays. Check out the winning entry from Violetta Spinazzola, about her best friend Jess:

We asked Violetta about how she made the heartwarming video, converting the $8 she spent on royalty-free music, to a $1000 scholarship award for her friend Jess!

How did you choose this scholarship?
Jess asked me to. It’s not selfish to ask your friend to try and help you get financial aid you truly deserve.

How did you make the video? What equipment did you use?
To draw, I used an old notebook I had lying around, and some markers. To film, I used an iPhone duct taped complexly to a stool – two shoeboxes and a pencil were also involved, and much time spent balancing the phone so it wouldn’t fall. The video was accidentally filmed upside down! I edited it with moviemaker on Mac, and bought about $8 worth of royalty-free music. Very low-budget.

Violetta (left) and Jess (right), in front of the Eiffel Tower in France!

What does Jess think of the video?
Jess told me she cried when she watched it, which made me feel so loved and flattered and happy. Even if we hadn’t won the scholarship, I still would have wanted to make her something she could watch when she was having a bad mental health day and needed a reminder that she is important and loved.

How is Jess going to use the $1000 award?
She is using the money to pay her college tuition. 

Any tips for other students applying for scholarships?
My tip for future students applying to the scholarship is to do something creative. My original idea was to write a story by hand and turn the pages as I filmed.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money! Use your brain! Even if you aren’t artistic, or great with words, you can always show rather than tell. 

Why would you recommend Going Merry?
They have some really interesting scholarship opportunities, and not all of them require a sit-down personal essay. 

Start applying and winning today.

Create an account

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Arcadia High School Case Study: How Counselors Can Use Going Merry Effectively For Their Students

With about 3,500 students, counselors at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California were overwhelmed by their scholarship program. On top of their usual responsibilities, counselors at AHS were attempting to manage over 25 scholarships, totaling more than $25,000, which was a time consuming and complex process.

Previously, students were given an online PDF where they could fill in their information and return it to counselors via email for each specific scholarship. Along with the applications, students would send other required documents back to Tabatha Wona, a counselor at AHS, in separate emails clogging up her inbox with thousands of messages.

“[It] was a nightmare,” Tabatha commented. “I was so afraid of losing an application or email.” This all changed when Tabatha found Going Merry.

Going Merry has transformed the scholarship application process to make it simpler for students to apply and easier for counselors to manage. Tabatha was previously frustrated by the disorganization of their scholarship program and the time she had to devote to it.

Before finding Going Merry, she remembered thinking, “there has to be an easier way, and boom – you guys fell out of the sky.”

Arcadia High School discovered Going Merry when their district office director heard of a new free platform that was helping schools across the country. Excited to find a better way to run her scholarship program, Tabatha signed up for a counselor account and then was guided through the entire process. She merely forwarded on the old applications and the Going Merry team quickly converted them into digital form.

The exact application questions and specific eligibility requirements were maintained so that only AHS students could apply. Tabatha remarked, “It’s been so much easier” than the old way of running their program.

To kick off her scholarship season, Tabatha was easily able to invite her 800 seniors by signing into her Counselor Portal and using the simple invitation tool. Her students were able to quickly sign up in a matter of minutes.

Arcadia’s high school seniors could not only apply to their local program, but also to thousands of other matched scholarships using auto-filled applications with information from their profile.

In addition, students were able to store their documents and easily attach them to applications, and request needed recommendation letters. Then, using her Counselor Portal, Tabatha could oversee all of her students’ scholarship activity. She could track the number of applications her students were working on, view all the scholarships on the Going Merry platform, and upload needed documents.

This year, her students submitted about 1,500 scholarship applications, largely driven by applications to AHS’s own scholarship program.

During the application process, Tabatha was able to use Going Merry’s Provider Portal to manage her specific program. In past years, she was worried that some of the scholarships in her program wouldn’t get enough applicants. Now, she could track application numbers before the deadline, so she had a sense for whether students were working on their applications.

After the deadline was reached, Tabatha was able to access and review all of the applications and supporting documents for the 26 scholarships in her program all in one place, online.

“I feel like it’s best to have things in one place, and it helped me to keep everything in one little lockbox.”

She was also able to download all applications in one easy step so she could print any application that needed to be passed to other review committees. Going Merry offered Tabatha live support to help answer any questions she had throughout the entire process.

“[Going Merry] really streamlined it for us,” Tabatha said. The entire process was improved for everyone, and the end result far exceeded her expectations.

Her favorite part was no longer receiving thousands of emailed applications and having a paper-free process allowing her to focus on helping her students in other beneficial ways.

Tabatha loved the ease of transitioning her scholarship program and happily recommends Going Merry to other high schools, highlighting how amazing the whole experience has been. “It’s all I ever talk about.”

Everything You Need to Know About Work-Study Jobs in College

This post was updated on June 28, 2019

Every possible option should be considered when organizing college funds.  At Going Merry you can look at the different ways you are paying for college using our MerryBudget financial planning tool.  Exploring work-study means finding one more way to lessen the amount of money you need to borrow. Higher education is already expensive. Finding money you don’t need to pay back is the best kind of money!  

Work-study is available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Students may be full-time or part-time. Most work-study programs operate in the same way by supplying aid to financially eligible students. Otherwise, colleges and universities may have other criteria or restrictions for work-study. It is important to speak with your school about details specific to their work-study program, such as a minimum GPA.

This is especially true for international students. Typically, international students do not qualify for work-study, but check with your school for detailed information.

Finally, work-study programs follow the academic calendar to match time spent in college, and do not impact winter or spring break.

What is Work-study?

Work-study is a program offering opportunity to earn government funded aid through part-time employment. The funds are supplied by either the federal government or state government. Federal work-study programs are more common. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education reports approximately 3,400 colleges and universities provide a Federal Work-study program.

Student employment may occur on-campus or off-campus at an approved employer. The program defines non-profit, civic education, and community-service related jobs as most eligible. Off-campus jobs are usually with a private non-profit organization or a public agency, but some schools will approve of jobs with private for-profit organizations.

Work-study favors jobs promoting public interest. At the same time, the program encourages you to be employed in “work related to your course of study whenever possible”

The work-study amount is split into a percentage paid by the school (federal) and paid by the employer (nonfederal). In general, the federal portion funds 75% and the nonfederal portion funds 25% of the student’s wages. The percentage ratio can differ depending on the job. For employment with for-profit employers, the percentage is 50% federal and 50% nonfederal. For non-profit employers, the percentage ratio can be 90% federal and 10% nonfederal. While for most literacy or mathematics tutor jobs, the federal funds may cover up to 100%.

Schools do not dictate how funds earned during work-study are spent. You are paid directly, and you decide how the funds are dispersed. For example, you could spend the money on groceries or travel. Alternatively, you can request your school to use your earnings toward your college expenses, like room and board.

Where to begin?

As with many forms of financial aid, you begin by completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). In case you are unfamiliar with the application, check out our overall FAFSA guide.

While filing your FAFSA, you will see a question about consideration for the work-study program at your school. You can confirm or decline. Requesting work-study as part of your financial aid is that simple! For reference, you can view pictures for applying to work-study in this helpful post.

Asking for consideration on your application does not guarantee you will receive an offer. Schools must determine the financial need of students before offering funds.

If you do receive an offer, here are a few quick facts about the amount you will see:

  • This amount is earned, so you will not be required to repay the school, and you will not have any debt towards the school.
  • This is the total amount of money the school can offer you for your work-study.
  • The amount is earned at the rate of per hour pay from your employer (salary pay is possible for graduate and professional students).

Will the work distract from my academics?

You should be careful when working during college. Committing yourself to multiple activities and responsibilities can lead to burnout. That is the last thing anyone wants!

Fortunately, work-study programs are designed to help avoid such a dilemma.

The average student works 10-25 hours per week during their work-study employment. Part-time employment allows you to create a work schedule to compliment your academic schedule. Work-study employers give students flexible hours, as academics are the top priority.

Equally important, work-study employers must pay you at least the federal minimum wage. If the state minimum wage is higher, you will be paid the state minimum wage instead of the federal minimum wage.

While working, your job can teach you skills your academics will not. You can sharpen skills such as organization, communication, swift problem-solving, and leadership. Gaining real world experience creates solid examples you can include on your resume when applying to future employers. Depending on your job, you may be able to write the following on your resume:

  • Interacted with diverse customers
  • Handled monetary transactions
  • Data entry

Likewise, you’ll be able to use these skills to stay on top of your academic work.

What should I know about the work-study process?

Before participating in a work-study program, there are a few details you should think over. Every student’s situation is different. You determine if a work-study program benefits your college journey.

Let’s get the easy details out first. The funds are awarded on a first-come first-serve basis. Completing your FAFSA early betters your chances of receiving work-study aid.

Your earnings are considered income from the government’s viewpoint. Therefore, your earnings are taxable. Only full-time students working less than 20 hours a week are exempt.

The huge relief is that your future financial aid is not impacted by work-study earnings. Usually, the more income you make the lower your financial aid award. FAFSA does not count work-study earnings as regular income, so your financial aid award will not decrease.

Securing employment for a work-study requires effort on your part. You are responsible for finding your own job. Job hunting is not as scary as it may sound. A good strategy is visiting your school’s assigned career advisor or the office of student employment for assistance. Staff will give tips on using job search tools, writing a resume and cover letter, interview behavior, and interview questions.

Additionally, you can speak with your school to find out if they have a job placement program. A counselor will help you more directly in searching for an appropriate job.

How great is the earning potential?

The amount offered in your financial aid package is the maximum amount you may earn from the work-study program. Overtime hours are not available for example. To give you an idea of earning potential, the average work-study participant earns $1,500 for the academic year.

While this amount does not cover a large percent of what funds are needed for you to attend college, it does decrease the debt you would accrue if taking out a loan. Small amounts can go a long way! Just like this student earning $150,000 by applying to small scholarships. And remember too, you are able to work outside of work-study, for example part time during school or full time over the summer.

When you think about it too, your earning potential does not stop at work-study. The program gives you an opportunity to upgrade your skills and resume. Furthermore, work-study allows you to network, which leads to having references for your resume. In fact, if you build a strong relationship, you might convince your employer to hire you after completing your work study. Consider this scenario similar to an intern being hired after completing an internship. You can continue earning a steady income outside of your work-study program. Moreover, you can use these factors to apply for higher paying jobs in the future.

Comparatively, other common ways to secure money for college include:

  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Side Hustles
  • Paid Internships
  • Employer Tuition Assistance

What if I change my mind?

If you were offered work-study in your financial aid package, but no longer wish to participate, you may decline work-study. Be aware, work-study is not guaranteed every year and the amount may not be the same every time it is offered in your financial aid package.

Work-study is a reasonable program to consider when searching for ways to support your academic journey. Add “work-study” to your list of money-saving options!

What should I write in my Scholarship Thank You Letter

What should I write in my Scholarship Thank You Letter? A Scholarship FAQ

Congratulations! You won that scholarship you applied for! You receive the notice that you indeed are the recipient of the scholarship, and see you are required to write a thank you letter. You might not have expected that, which is understandable. So, surprise!

Trust us, a thank you letter is not difficult at all. The letter describes your gratitude (exactly what it sounds like).

We’ll go through a few common questions about scholarship thank you letters to ease your mind. Read the FAQ below!

What is a Scholarship Thank You Letter?

Certain scholarships require winners to write a thank you letter to the donor or organization of the scholarship. This not only shows scholarship providers the impact the scholarship makes on the student’s life, the letter also shows the community the importance of the scholarship.

Seeing the letter could encourage more people to donate to the scholarship fund, or encourage future students to apply for the same scholarship.

Instructions regarding the thank you letter can be listed in the application guidelines, or in the winner confirmation a student receives.

How long should a Scholarship Thank You Letter be?

A good length is a few paragraphs. Scholarship providers are not expecting you to write an extensive letter (unless instructed otherwise).

Use the list below as a basic guideline:

Paragraph 1 – Introduction. A “thank you” for being chosen.

Paragraph 2 – Write what the scholarship will support or allow you to do.

Paragraph 3 – Write about your near-future plans/ goals, especially if study related. (optional, may combine with Paragraph 2)

Paragraph 4 – Conclusion. Another “thank you”. Express excitement or dedication to do well as the scholarship recipient.

Will my scholarship be revoked if I do not write the letter?

Scholarship providers are able to withhold or revoke your scholarship if the requested scholarship letter is not received.

Read the instructions carefully, there might be a time limit for sending the letter to the scholarship provider. Ignoring the deadline can also lead to the scholarship being withheld or revoked.

Do I need to present my letter?

In most cases, you will not need to present your letter. If your letter is seen, it will most likely be on the organization’s official page or read at the organization’s conference. Unless instructed differently, no presentation is required.

There are scholarships requesting applicants to attend conferences or record a video as a statement. You will be notified if this needs to be done.

Can you give me tips for writing my letter?

Don’t feel awkward. Have confidence in what you are talking about! The readers are excited to read what you share.

Talk about your background, major, special interests, future plans, and anything related to the topic of the scholarship you won.

Be sincere. You’re talking to the person who gave you free money. Find it in your heart to express your gratitude.

Double check the name of who you are addressing.

Do a spelling check and grammar check.

Check around your neighborhood and city for local scholarship opportunities. You can even go as far as checking state-level community organizations for any scholarships local to your area.

Now the thank you letter is less of a mystery, right? It is not a complicated concept.

Speaking of non-complicated, sign up for our Going Merry App to be easily matched with multiple scholarships.

A Helpful Guide to Local Scholarships

National scholarships can be pretty competitive. There are so many people applying from all over the US. This adds stress to an already difficult situation, when all you want to do is secure funds for school. The good news is “you don’t need to stress.”

That’s because of local scholarships. They can be harder to find out about but that also means they have fewer applicants and so it’s worth the effort to find them!

Local Means Less Competition

Local scholarships tend to be smaller and less known. These local scholarships tend to advertise in newspapers, websites of local small businesses, or community organizations. The reach of these local outlets does not extend far.

In fact, the reach is not meant to go beyond a certain point. Scholarships guidelines will limit applicants to residents from a certain state as eligible to apply. If the scholarship is hyper-local, the eligibility can become more specific.

You may notice a specific city, county, or neighborhood mentioned when you view the requirements for the scholarship. This means the local scholarship only provides the opportunity to students residing within the mentioned city, county, or neighborhood.

In addition, it is not unusual to see a scholarship requiring applicants to be students of a certain high school, middle school, or elementary school. Subsequently, there will be less competition, which is great as the scholarships are meant to cater to a specific community.

Local Means Lighter Requirements

If a GPA requirement seems too burdensome for you, try local scholarships! You can find scholarships geared more towards extracurricular activities or community service. Seeing an applicant’s involvement within the community leaves a huge impression when applying to local scholarships

Some local scholarships still have a GPA requirement, but it is typically lower. A GPA requirement of 2.5 is more flexible and welcoming than 3.0.

The requirements are lighter, but still expect to see the staple submission materials in the scholarship guidelines. Applications may ask for an essay, letters of recommendation, or resume, so be sure to have the materials ready and available.

Where can I Find Local Scholarships

A local scholarship seems to be in an obvious location (“locally”), but can be a bit tricky to find. Similar to the scarlet letter, local scholarships can be found in the most reasonably obvious places without anyone noticing.

You can check the following locations for local scholarships.

Newspapers are the classic “can’t go wrong” option for local scholarships. There is usually a small section in the newspaper outlining any local scholarships for local residents to apply for. You can find newspapers at grocery stores, hotels, or local businesses.

Community Boards can be a direct way to find local scholarships. Check near by cafes, at place of worship (if religious), or a community recreation center. Community boards also exist on websites of local organizations.

Local Organization Websites are actually perfect for finding scholarships. Organizations sometimes have lists filled with scholarships for multiple counties or neighborhood. Check out the RI Foundation as an example.

Neighbors are always a good source for hidden gems. Ask around to find out what local scholarships are available for your area. In addition, letting others know you are searching for scholarships could help you in the long run. A neighbor might come to you later on with information on a new local scholarship they happened to see that looked perfect for you.

Local Scholarship Amounts

You will see a range of amounts for local scholarships. Local scholarships are often smaller money awards. Awards for local scholarships can be as low as $200. This amount may seem little, but every bit of help counts when paying college expenses. Money received from local scholarships can be used for books, lunch, grocery shopping.

The local scholarships with larger money awards are around $5,000. This factor depends on the scholarship provider, and how the provider secures funding.

Go Local

Check around your neighborhood and city for local scholarship opportunities. You can even go as far as checking state-level community organizations for any scholarships local to your area.

One of the special features in Going Merry is a filter for finding local scholarships! Our app helps match you to local scholarship opportunities that you might not know about. At Going Merry, we continue to look for scholarships to provide you multiple scholarship opportunities without the stress.

How Do Scholarships Work? A Scholarship FAQ

You might hear a lot about scholarships, but have you ever wanted more information? If you are just getting started in your scholarship search, scholarships are like that distant cousin you always hear about, but never met.

Those scholarships you hear so much about are a gift aid used as financial assistance towards education. As you can see by the title, we will list the top information in FAQ format to get you acquainted with scholarships.

Here is our scholarship FAQ for how scholarships work:

What are scholarships?

Scholarships are a form of gift aid. This is the most preferred aid you can receive. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment and have no interest. Scholarships are practically free money. We say “practically” to let you know that scholarships do require a bit of work.

Each scholarship has an application process that students must fulfill. The application process always includes eligibility guidelines (also known as eligibility requirements), as well as submission materials.

A similar form of gift aid are grants. Grants have a similar, yet more detailed, application process. Also, most grants are geared towards funding research. Therefore, scholarships and grants are considered different forms of gift aid.

Why are scholarships important?

Scholarships help students cover costs associated with attending college. Scholarships can range in amount. There are scholarships as low as $50, and others reaching amounts to cover the full cost of tuition! A scholarship can really lighten the financial burden on families and individuals.

In comparison with other college-funding methods, scholarships create the greatest efficiency. Working a full-time job is effective, but takes away precious time from learning and life. With a scholarship, you can write an essay and possibly receive thousands of dollars.

Who can apply for scholarships and what are “eligibility requirements”?

Most Scholarships are intended to help students pursuing higher education (undergraduate and graduate students). These students tend to need the most assistance in covering education costs. Typically, scholarships focus on undergraduates, but there are scholarships available for graduate students and students under the age of 18.

In fact, every scholarship lists “eligibility requirements”. These requirements, created by the scholarship provider, determines if students are able to apply. For example, the requirements could be related to level of education, GPA, major, or residency.

What do I do to get a scholarship?

Along with eligibility requirements, many scholarships will ask you to submit information or work. Common tasks when applying for scholarships include essays, short questions, letter of recommendation, portfolio, and school information. Not all scholarships have the same application process. Keeping this mind, always fully read the instructions while applying.

Where do I apply for scholarships?

Scholarships can be found through a number of resources. There are websites, apps, and bulletins with scholarships waiting to be found. These resources are generally accessible to everyone. Of course, the efficiency of each site differs. Read our comparison of various scholarship websites to give yourself a better idea of what is available.

You can check out this article to read our tips for scholarship search strategy.

Be mindful of scholarship scams. Impostors may ask you to pay up front for a scholarship. This is a huge warning sign. You never pay to receive a scholarship.

Do I need to live in a specific location?

This question has more to do with the eligibility requirements listed on each scholarship. As a rule of thumb, most scholarships require students to be a US citizen. You may find scholarships available to international students or DACA recipients do exist. More localized scholarships will be specified by county, city, and state.

Where does scholarship money come from?

Scholarship money can be from fundraisers, a percentage of a membership, a huge charitable donation, a company’s profits, or the like. This money is then distributed by the government, a for-profit, or non-profit as gift aid. Schools also provide scholarships, but this is typically in partnership with one of the providers previously listed. These organizations make the decision to support students with their education through financial assistance.

The majority of the organizations will host scholarships supporting the advancement of a cause related to the business or organization.

Now you know all the important information of how scholarships work. All that is left to do, is find and apply for scholarships. Really want to get ahead in the game? Sign up for Going Merry to be easily matched with great scholarships today.

10 Easy Scholarships to Begin Your Scholarship Search

A lot is going on at once. School, hobbies, work, everything needs your attention! It’s great you finally set aside time to focus on scholarships, but are you worried about starting your search? So much information is tossed onto the internet. Great scholarships can be hard to come by at first. Well, you can relax!

Naturally, scholarships are the most sought after funds when paying for college. People spend hours searching for scholarships that will ultimately aid with college costs. Finding the best scholarships can already be time consuming. You don’t need a lengthy application process added to that time. Therefore, we found 10 easy scholarships you can apply to.

See which of these easy scholarships you can add to your scholarship list!

*Note: The easiest way to find these and other scholarships is by signing up for a free account with Going Merry where we’ll match you to hundreds of scholarships instantly.

1. Grasshopper Entrepreneur Scholarship

Provider: Grasshopper with LogMeIn

Amount: $5,000

Submit: Essay (500 words)

Any undergraduate student or graduate student may apply. Grasshopper is focused on providing support to future entrepreneurs. The application asks for a short essay about how you value social responsibility as an entrepreneur. Students must attend an American college, university, or trade school.

2. Big Sun Scholarship

Provider: Big Sun Athletic Organization

Amount: $500

Submit: Essay (at least 500 words)

Undergraduate students may apply. Big Sun created this scholarships for students involved with sports. The organization makes it clear that student athletes may apply “regardless of the sport they are engaged in or the capacity in which they participate.” Applicants are only required to write an essay describing the impact sports has in their life.

3. Delete Cyberbulling Scholarship Award

Provider: Delete Cyberbullying

Amount: $1,000

Submit: Essay (500 words)

High school, undergraduate, and graduate students may apply. In an effort to stop online harassment, the application asks for an essay about solutions to cyberbulling, or a personal reflection of how the applicant was affected by cyberbulling.

4. RentHop’s College and University Scholarship Program

Provider: RentHop

Amount: $1,000 and internship

Submit: Essay (maximum 500 words)

Undergraduate students may apply. Applicants shall write an essay with predictions of how life will or could change for undergraduates in the next 5 years.

5. Never Satisfied Scholarship

Provider: POET

Amount: $5,000

Submit: 3 questions, video (optional), 2 letters of reference

Undergraduate students may apply. The application has three questions and an optional video submission. For two of the three questions, the maximum is 250 words. POET is eager to hear from ambitious applicants, especially those with a fondness for sustainability.

6. Data Recovery and Protection Scholarship

Provider: Cleverfiles

Amount: $2,000 ($1,000 for US students, $1,000 Canadian or non-US students)

Submit: Essay (at least 400 words) and letter of recommendation

Undergraduate students may apply. CleverFiles awards two students for their annual scholarship regarding digital data. The application calls for an essay between 400 to 750 words. This essay questions the importance of data, and figuring out ways to manage data.

7. Innovation Scholarship

Provider: Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C

Amount: up to $2,500 and $1,000 for teacher nominated by the applicant

Submit: Art or media addressing prompt along with 300 word Essay nominating teacher

High school juniors, high school seniors, and undergraduates may apply. This scholarship allows applicants to submit ideas regarding safety at school to reduce school shootings. The submission may be a video, poem, infographic, essay, piece of art, or song. Numerous scholarships are awarded, including a separate entry pool for students from Texas.

8. Mark Lierman Award Scholarship

Provider: Hawai’i Geographical Information Coordinating Council (HIGICC)

Amount: $1,000

Submit: Essay (maximum 500 words), resume, and two letters of recommendation

Undergraduate and graduate students may apply. HIGICC supports students looking to further their studies related to geography and geographic information systems (GIS). Learn more about the background of the scholarship here.

9. Helen Gee Chin Scholarship

Provider: Helen Gee Scholarship Foundation

Amount: $3,000

Submit: Essay (maximum 500 words)

Full-time undergraduate students are eligible to apply. The foundation expects applicants to have experience in one or more of the Chinese martial arts. Applicants must base their essay on how martial arts impacted their life.

10. Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship

Provider: P.L.A.Y (Pet Lifestyle And You)

Amount: $1,000

Submit: Essay (at least 500) and 2-3 photos

High school seniors may apply. This scholarship is geared toward animal lovers active in volunteering. The essay is a reflection on the applicant’s volunteer experiences in animal welfare, along with 2-3 photos highlighting their volunteer work.

See how easy that was? You can start your scholarship search with this list!

Easy scholarships are usually measured by how easy the application process is. Luckily, Going Merry has created features in that help make scholarships easier. Sign up today!

How to Find Scholarships

Scholarships are easy to find! Tons of scholarship opportunities await applicants needing to cover college expenses. Of course, finding the best scholarships can seem tricky.

Even if you search “best scholarships” in a search engine, it is likely you’ll end up finding all the scholarships that:

a) are not related to your studies.

b) too specific for you to qualify for.

c) out of date.

An example of the top results for “best scholarships” (searched in spring 2019)

We don’t want that for you. Here, at Going Merry, we specialize in matching great scholarships with your profile. Thoroughly searching resources for scholarships became a great learning experience in how we improved our approach to finding unique, versatile, and inclusive scholarship opportunities. We learned many things, but we’ll give you the top tips!

Scholarships are easy to find once you understand the value of how and what you type while searching, compare searching tools, and are familiar with scholarship provider types. Now, these are all relatively simple ideas, but we’ll make sure to give the details. Illustrating each subject will give you a better idea of how to apply (unintentional pun alert) this knowledge to your scholarship search strategy.

How to search properly

During the introduction, we made it clear that searching “best scholarships” may not help you find the right scholarships for you. What if we type “best scholarships 2019” or “scholarships for undergraduate students”? Unfortunately, this kind of search still doesn’t help much. Searching scholarships with these phrases is too vague. Basically, the category is too wide.

Search engines provide results with relevant information or content. Determining “relevant” can be a bit foggy for a search engine. Let’s simplify this with an example:

When you type “best scholarships”, the search engine is inclined to list results that include your typed phrase and include common content related to your phrase. Then, the search engine lists the results based on popularity, or most visited results. Lastly, the engine will try to provide recent links, but popularity is usually favored over being recent.

Imagine how many sites have words like best, scholarships, student, contest, or application. Imagine if the most visited site is a scholarship list from two years ago with outdated links. See how a vague search can be misleading?

From our experience, basing the search on a specific situation allows the search engine to better understand what we are looking for.

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An example of top results for “Scholarships for Hispanic Women”

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An example of top results for “Architecture Scholarships”

Be careful of making the search too specific. Search engines may have a hard time matching a highly detailed search. For example, “Undergraduate Statistics Scholarship for Armenian in Boston” may bring up good links, but they might not be the results you had in mind.

In addition, never limit yourself to only scholarships related to studies. You can search scholarships related to community service, being a bookworm, being a gamer, having a fear of spoons, or anything else that makes you, YOU.

View your characteristics and traits as separate searches. Searching one or two at a time is a good medium in creating a scholarship search strategy.

Why does this approach work?

Remember what we said about a category being too wide? Not only does a wide category mean there are more options, regardless of actual relevance, but also, a wide category means more competition. A specific search lowers the competition. There will be fewer people eligible for the scholarships, and if your specific search helps you find a lesser known scholarship, there will be fewer people applying.

Next up is comparing tools used to search for scholarships.

Comparing Searching Tools

Each searching tool has benefits separating the search performance from other search tools. We’ll break down the common tools students and parents use in their scholarships search strategy.


Well-known scholarship search sites are typically the first place everyone arrives. These websites are easily accessible and host tons of scholarship information. The downside is the massive amounts of competition. Many of these websites have national scholarships, and sometimes the scholarships are based on a lottery system. Allowing more students to be eligible is wonderful, but the probability of receiving the scholarship decreases.

Scholarship websites tend to be super organized or not organized at all. Students will either spend time filling out a tedious application (which is probably prompting you to make an account) or spend time searching through numerous result tabs (most may not be what you are hoping for).

The wonderful function of scholarship websites is their ability to bring so many scholarships to you at once! Instead of the difficulty with searching for multiple scholarships individually, the sites provide a vast amount of options for you to choose from.

However, Beware of scam sites. You can check our tips for avoiding scholarships scams in our “No Essay” scholarship post.


Online apps are a convenient method for searching for scholarships. Having the ability to apply on-the-go and stay updated on scholarships is a great benefit. Most apps personalize your search options.

There are also exclusive features included in most scholarship search apps. Using Going Merry as an example, a few features include the following:

Apps are a great option for individuals wanting a more interactive scholarship searching experience. In fact, the resources and tips provided by companies running the mobile apps can give you an extra boost in your scholarships search strategy.

It is possible you may not like the format of a scholarship app. The first application may be too detailed in your opinion, or maybe you feel the app does not do a sufficient job of matching your profile to good scholarships. If you find a scholarship app is not to your liking, you are able to uninstall the app from your device.

Large Search Engines

Major search engines, such as Google, Ask, Yahoo, or Bing, are very popular for scholarship searches, since the search engines connect you to scholarship links. The links could be to a foundation’s official scholarship page, to a list of scholarships on a blog, or to one of the scholarship search websites we mentioned earlier.

Most of the links you’ll find are dependable. The search engine is built to find the best answers for your search, but may miss the mark every now and then.

One quick tip for large engine sites: Do not ignore the further pages.

For instance, Google. Google provides millions of results. Great and relevant results still exists beyond page 5. The results beyond the first pages are a happy medium in most cases. The links are relevant enough to be useful, and slightly hidden to lessen competition. From experience, the scholarship search websites reside in the first few pages of search engines, while the official company/foundation scholarship pages are listed further back in the result pages of search engines.

Newspapers & Bulletin Boards

Old fashioned search tools should not be overlooked! Information on great local scholarships could be waiting for you in the newspaper or on a community bulletin board. Check all sources you can think of. Try looking for newspapers or bulletin boards at schools, cafes, community centers, or places of worship.

These scholarships have the benefit of being less known or having a criteria you meet that others would not. For example, the scholarship may say “Must attend North Central Engineering High School” or “Applicants living in Olivier County are eligible”. Again, we are seeing that these factors can lessen the competition and improve the likelihood of receiving a scholarship.

After comparing all search tools, you can decide which tools you would like to incorporate in your scholarship search strategy. Then, you may want to think of which providers you are applying to.

Scholarships Providers

Similar to scholarship search tools, scholarship providers differ in organization, accessibility, convenience, and competition. The main scholarship providers are government, private, and school. We’ll break it down in the diagram below:


Government scholarships are provided on a national, state, or local (ex. city) level. Usually national and state government scholarships are applied for through FAFSA. National scholarships have a crowded competition, since qualifications tend to be more flexible. For example, most national scholarships are not restricted by major, school year, or locality.

State and local government scholarships have the restriction of where you live. Local scholarships become very specific in which students are considered eligible. However, the qualifications are typically related to demographic restrictions rather than academic restrictions.


Private scholarships are provided by for-profits, like Dr. Pepper, or non-profits, like the LEAP Foundation. Both options have very flexible qualifications, as the company or organization is free to set their own rules for the scholarship they are funding.

For-profit scholarships have slightly more competition as they tend to be big name companies. Other examples include, Google, Toyota, Dell, Tylenol, and Foot Locker. Non-profit scholarships can vary greatly. There are well-known organizations, like the LEAP Foundation, and also lesser known organizations you can apply to.

Both private scholarship options tend to have a certain theme attached to their scholarship. This can be a major, hobby, heritage, or a topic the organization may support.


School scholarships are generally done in partnership with the government or a private agency (for-profit, non-profit). Competition can be a bit crowded as many of your fellow schoolmates may be eligible for the same scholarship. Schools also may have scholarships related to alumni. For example, maybe an alumni funds a scholarship under the psychology department. A department scholarship’s more specific eligibility requirements decreases competition by shrinking the number eligible students.

Comparing competition and qualifications allow you to make an educated guess of the time you will dedicate in applying to scholarships you feel are a good fit. Having a better sense of time and effort allows you to make a more informed decision in creating a productive scholarship search strategy.

An Easy Scholarship Search Strategy

Overall, finding scholarships is straightforward, but these tips should help optimize your search. The most important part of finding great scholarships is tailoring your search to your profile. For more scholarship tips, you’re in the right place. Check out all the posts in this blog. We talk about scholarships A LOT.

Graduate School Scholarships: Your Essential Guide for 2019

There’s no doubt that obtaining a college education can open a world of possibilities and new opportunities, but what about going on to graduate school and getting an advanced degree? On average, around 69.7% of high school graduates enroll in a higher education program. Of that amount, 37% continue to obtain an advanced degree (such as a Master’s or a Doctorate degree).

But is it worth it?

Having an advanced degree can make career goals more attainable and provide the skills needed to reach the next level. However, high tuition prices can make students wonder if continuing their education is worth the cost. The truth is that it isn’t always. Students should reflect on their career goals and what they hope to get from a graduate program to determine if it’s worth it or not.

Firstly, you should be clear on exactly why you are considering a graduate degree. Does it help you get closer to your career goals? Will it help you earn more money? Take the time to reflect on your goals and what you need to reach them.

Another point to consider is how long you plan to work in your field. Do you see it as a long-term option? In that case, a graduate-level degree might be worth it. Do you hate it and hope to leave as soon as possible? If so, it’s likely not worth pursuing an advanced degree, at least not in that field.

A third factor is how your salary will likely change as a result of your graduate degree. This information should be available on the websites of the colleges you are considering and is also usually easy to find with a quick Google search. In general, graduate-level degrees in the STEM fields tend to pay off the most in the end.

Lastly, consider whether your career goals involve field-related research. Many graduate students choose to continue their education for the chance of doing research and working with renowned professionals in their field.

Once you’ve decided to continue your education, you’ll need to decide how to pay for it. The price tag can be scary, but scholarships for graduate students can help.

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

If you were offered free money, you would take it, right? That’s what makes scholarships such a great option for paying for grad school…they never need to be paid back! Plus, there are tons of different scholarships out there for all sorts of people.

The best place to start is our own list of scholarships for graduate students on Going Merry. We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and then allow you to apply directly through our site to save you time and effort. The next step is to speak with your high school guidance office or college financial aid office. They’ll have plenty of info on local scholarships and awards that you qualify for.

For more information on paying for school, check out our comprehensive guide to financial aid and our step-by-step guide on applying for scholarships. If you want more tips on making your application stand out, we provided 12 for you here.

Here is our list of 31 scholarships for graduate students:

1. Rick Guggolz Memorial Scholarship

Provider: Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals

Amount: $1,500

Graduates and undergraduates may apply. The scholarship supports students with studies related to the field of Insurance, Actuarial Science, Economics, Finance, Management, Mathematics, Risk Management, Statistics, or a Business-related field.

2. Jonathan Lax Scholarship fund for Gay Men

Provider: Bread & Roses Community Fund

Amount: $5,000 or $10,000

Created in 1994 by the late entrepreneur and inventor Jonathan R. Lax for the purpose of encouraging gay men to obtain additional education. Tuition scholarships are awarded in amounts of $5,000 and $10,000 to gay men who live or study in the five-county Philadelphia region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties) and Camden County.

3. ASH Foundation’s Graduate Scholarship

Provider: American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation

Amount: $5,000

For students enrolled in a graduate program in communication sciences and disorders. Up to 15 graduate scholarships will be awarded.

4. Support Creativity Scholarship

Provider: Support Creativity

Amount: $1,000

This graduate scholarship helps designers, animators, editors, photographers, artists, illustrators, and painters, who wish to develop their skills at higher education institutions in NY, NJ, CT, or PA.

5. Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship

Provider: The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Amount: $25,000 stipend and 50% of tuition

As a way to support immigrants and children of immigrants pursuing graduate school in the United States. There is no requirement specific to major of study, university, or

6. Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholarship

Provider: Overseas Press Club Foundation

Amount: $3,000 or funding for student’s overseas assignment

Graduates and undergraduates may apply. In supporting future foreign correspondents, the Overseas Press Club Foundation chooses 12 scholars to award a grant or cover travel expenses.

7. Beinecke Scholarship Program

Provider: The Sperry and Hutchinson Company

Amount: $4,000 prior to entering graduate school and $30,000 while attending

Graduate students studying arts, humanities, and social science can apply. There are around 135 participating colleges and universities listed on the scholarship site.

8. Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

Provider: American Psychological Foundation

Amount: $5,000

The scholarships was created with a focus on addressing mental illness. The APF Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship supports graduate-level scholarly projects that use a psychological perspective to help understand and reduce stigma associated with mental illness.

9. Oncology Nursing Foundation Master’s Scholarship

Provider: Oncology Nursing Foundation and Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

Amount: $5,000

Graduate students must be attending or applying to an NLN or CCNE accredited School of Nursing. Students may be currently licensed as a registered nurse, or posses a degree in another field.

10. Prospanica Foundation Scholarship

Provider: Prospanica Foundation

Amount: up to $5,000

Graduates and undergraduates may apply. The foundation supports individuals of Hispanic heritage pursuing higher education in an accredited university business school. Students must be a United States citizen, legal permanent resident, or DACA recipient. You do need to be a member, but luckily, the student memberships are discounted 50% during the scholarship period.

11. Davis-Putter Scholarship

Provider: Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

Amount: $15,000

Graduates and undergraduates may apply. The scholarships helps students that are active in social and economic justice. The scholarship is even available to incarcerated student activist.

12. Residential Design Scholarship

Provider: Houzz

Amount: $2,500

Students studying interior design, architecture or landscape architecture, and inspiring to work in residential design professionally are encouraged to apply. Houzz also host other scholarships related to sustainable designs, women, and construction management.

13. SR Education Scholarship

Provider: SR Education Group

Amount: $5,000

This group supports graduate students working towards completing higher education. There is no specified field of study for this scholarship. However, SR Education Group does want to hear about your undergraduate experience to help future undergraduate students.

14. Barbara A. Cooley Master’s Scholarship

Provider: SHAPE America

Amount: $1,000 and one-year SHAPE America student membership

Graduate students enrolled in health education programs may apply. Students interested in addressing current and future issues if health education are encouraged to apply.

15. Thomas J. Henry Leadership Scholarship Program

Provider: Thomas J. Henry

Amount: $1,000

Students 18 and over (from high school to graduate school) may apply. Aspiring personal-injury lawyers are encouraged to apply. This scholarship is interested in students motivating others inside and outside the classroom.

16. Akin Law Office Academic Scholarship

Provider: Akin Law Office

Amount: $2,500

Graduates and undergraduates may apply. This scholarship supports students pursuing law. Akin Law Office wants students to create a “Distracted Driving Family Plan” about proactively avoiding the chances of distracted driving.

17. Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship

Provider: Goldman Sachs

Amount: $35,000 + Summer Internship Salary + $40,000 upon program completion

Goldman Sachs offers one of the most competitive scholarships for graduate students who are in their first year of pursuing an MBA. In order to qualify, students be either a woman or a woman or man of Black, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American ethnicity. Students in Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Greenwich, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, West Palm Beach, and Washington D.C. can apply.

18. “Inspire our Future” Teaching Scholarship

Provider: Teacher.org

Amount: $500

Teacher.org aims to inspire the next generation of teachers. This $500 award is available to both aspiring teachers and current teachers who hope to continue their education.

19. (ISC)² Graduate Scholarship

Provider: Center for Cyber Safety and Education

Amount: $5,000

This flexible scholarship for grad students was created to support students pursuing graduate degrees related to cyber security or information assurance. Students can be full-time or part-time students and attend school either online or on campus. U.S. citizenship is not required.

For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

20. AACC International Fellowship Program

Provider: AACC International

Amount: $3,000

For graduate students interested in grain-based food science and technology, this $3,000 scholarship provides money for graduate-level research. Candidates must be full-time students enrolled in a university conducting relevant research as well as current AACCI members.

21. AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability

Provider: American Association on Health and Disability

Amount: Up to $1,000

This $1,000 scholarship aids students who have a disability as defined by the American with Disabilities Act. Candidates can be part-time or full-time graduate students or full-time undergraduate students with at least sophomore status. Preference is given to students majoring in public health, disability studies, health promotion, or other disability/health-related fields.

22. Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship

Provider: American College of Healthcare Executives

Amount: $5,000

This scholarship for minority graduate students aims to help those enrolled in a healthcare management graduate program. Preference is given to Student Associates of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

23. Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship

Provider: American College of Healthcare Executives

Amount: $5,000

Another scholarship offered by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), this $5,000 award is for graduate students enrolled in a healthcare management program. Preference is given to Student Associates of the ACHE (American College of Healthcare Executives).

For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

24. AHLEF Graduate Scholarship

Provider: American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation

Amount: $5,000

Both full-time and part-time students are eligible for this $5,000 scholarship. Candidates should either be studying for a graduate degree in hospitality OR enrolled in any graduate program after completing a hospitality-related undergraduate degree or having four years of experience in the hospitality industry after undergraduate graduation.

25. Frederic G. Melcher Scholarship

Provider: American Library Association

Amount: $7,500

Students who are pursuing an MLS degree and are interested in working in children’s librarianship are eligible for these scholarships for graduate students. After graduation, recipients must commit to working with children for one year and become members of both the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association for Library Service to Children.

26. Eckenfelder Scholarship

Provider: Brown and Cadwell

Amount: $5,000

College juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students who are pursuing an environment-related career, can apply to this $5,000 scholarship. Students must have a declared major in civil, chemical, mechanical, electrical, or environmental engineering or one of the environmental sciences.

27. Edward C. Bryant Scholarship

Provider: American Statistical Association

Amount: $2,500

This grad school scholarship was created to support graduate students who excel in survey statistics. Students must have experience with survey statistics and demonstrate academic excellence during grad school.

28. Gertrude M. Fox Scholarship

Provider: American Statistical Association

Amount: $1,000

The Gertrude M. Fox scholarship is offered by the ASA Committee on Women in Statistics and the Caucus for Women in Statistics. It was established in 1989 in order to encourage women to pursue statistics-related professions.

29. Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship

Provider: Hertz Foundation

Amount: Full tuition equivalent + $32,000 9-month personal stipend

The Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship aims to provide students with the necessary funding to conduct Ph.D. research. Students also receive the lifelong counseling and network of Hertz Community members. The university must be a participating school or students may petition for a different school to be permitted by the foundation. This award is renewable on an annual basis.

30. Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship

Provider: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Amount: $2,500

Arab-American students who are juniors, seniors, or graduate students can apply to this scholarship. Students must be majoring in journalism, television, radio, and/or film to be eligible.

31. Stephen K. Hall ACWA Water Law & Policy Scholarship

Provider: Association of California Water Agencies

Amount: $7,000

Graduate students pursuing a graduate degree in Water Law & Policy or Public Administration can apply for this generous scholarship. Students should have relevant career goals, be attending school full time, and demonstrate academic achievement.

If you want a simple way to apply to multiple easy scholarships, without essays, at once, sign up with Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

5 Awesome Scholarship Essays That Worked

When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are the best form of financial aid since they offer students free money that never needs to be repaid. But let’s face it: completing scholarship applications, especially the essays, can feel overwhelming. Not to mention, the essay is arguably the most important part of the application and should take up the majority of your time.

Not only is it your chance to let your personality and life experiences shine through, but it’s the one part of the application that gives you the opportunity to stand out from other applicants. For more information on writing a killer scholarship essay, check out our list of helpful tips.

The best way to get an idea of what scholarship committees are looking for is to look over the scholarship essay examples of past winners. Take some time to analyze the writing style, think about the strong points, and consider how you can improve. It might seem like a tedious task, but luckily we’ve already done some of the work for you.

scholarship essay examples

Here are 5 winning scholarship essay examples that have actually worked:

1. Financial Literacy for Hispanic Women by Rosaisha Ozoria

“Twice a week I head down to volunteer at the Los Sures Social Services office, situated next to the local senior citizen home, to help at the food pantry. We distribute food to people in my neighborhood. Many are familiar faces. Many are middle-aged Hispanic women with children dangling from their hips like grass skirts. These women are there as a result of their culture and lack of financial knowledge. In our Spanish culture, patriarchy prevents women from preparing for themselves as much as they should. This leads to Hispanic women having little or no money management skills. Financial illiteracy is a major issue in my neighborhood, and that is why I hope to give Hispanic women a chance for a better future through financial education.

While I was volunteering I met a woman who happened to live in the same building as my aunt. Unemployed with two young children, and a husband earning minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, she struggled to get by every day. I thought to myself – many in my community are just like her. Then I realized I could do something to help. How? I can start a financial literacy program, which teaches Hispanic women to earn and manage money. Once a woman becomes financially literate, she is capable of making good personal and profession decisions, empowering her to improve her family’s financial well-being. Moreover, such a program will help Hispanic women become competitive employees, even in a slow recovering economy such as the one we are experiencing now.

Participating in the 2013 Women’s World Banking Global Meeting in Amman, Jordan gives me access to invaluable resources that will help me achieve this goal. I hope to find mentors from a roomful of inspiring, experiences leaders who will offer me their guidance. Also, meeting accomplished women from other countries means access to new ideas and unique perspectives. And if I am lucky, I may even come across individuals who can provide financial support to jumpstart my financial literacy program for Hispanic women. Lastly, I will tell my idea to everyone I meet in Jordan, a baby step to help Hispanic women rise from poverty.

The world continues to change rapidly, especially with globalization. It is about time that Hispanic women strive for gender equality. Thus, it is essential that Hispanic women increase their roles and knowledge in finance. The women in my neighborhood shall no longer be left out. I will task myself to help these women become better, stronger and most importantly, take control of their lives. I want to be involved so that they can save themselves from any unforeseen financial crisis. This is a tremendous goal, but for me, it is an opportunity to make a difference – in my neighborhood and for my Spanish community.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

First of all, the introduction paragraph of this essay thoroughly summarizes what the reader can expect to find in the body of the essay. This helps create structure and avoid confusion. In fact, the entire structure of the essay is very clear and logical. Having a clear structure ensures that the reader can follow your ideas without a problem.

Besides the structure, Rosaisha is clearly passionate about the topic at hand and isn’t afraid to express it through her writing. Additionally, she connects it to her own life by using personal examples. Using personal examples and showing your emotions can give you an edge over other applicants.

Lastly, even though Rosaisha discusses a sad and difficult topic, she keeps the tone light and inspirational. Rather than dwelling on how terrible this situation is, she expresses hope and her desire to make a change in the world. It’s important to keep in mind that an essay can be happy even if it’s about a sad or difficult topic.

2. Who is a “Good” Doctor? by Joseph Lee

“Had you asked me the same question one year ago, my answer would have been vastly different to the one I will give today. In the summer of 2012, with my first year of medical school completed, I embarked upon my last official summer vacation with two things in mind: a basketball tournament in Dallas and one in Atlanta. My closest friends and I had been playing in tournaments for the past 10 summers, and it was a sacred bond forged together in the name of competition. However, two weeks before our first tournament, I became instantly and overwhelmingly short of breath. Having been born to Korean immigrant parents, I was raised to utilize the hospital in emergency cases only, and I knew this was such a case. A few scans later, doctors discovered numerous pulmonary emboli (PE), caused by a subclavian deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and just like that, I was lying in a bed of a major hospital for a life threatening condition.

Fast forward a few months, and I am lying in a similar bed to treat the underlying cause of the subclavian DVT: a first rib removal. There is little that can adequately prepare someone physically, emotionally or spiritually to undergo surgery; and my thoughts continued to race in the days following. In addition to the expected physical pain, isolation, fear and frustration were a few of the emotions I experienced in the four day ordeal. The procedure went according to plan thanks to a skilled surgeon and his team, but the attributes that made the doctor “good” went far beyond his ability to operate.

“Wow. I’m glad you are feeling better” and “I can’t believe you went through that” are common reactions people have when they see the scars on my upper chest. Quite frankly, the past nine months have been difficult, literally full of blood, sweat and tears. But through it all, I have been able to maintain my positivity and gratitude knowing that I have gained the invaluable experience of being a patient and discovering the vulnerability and trust that patients give their doctors. Patients indulge information to doctors that they may have never told anyone in their life and in doing so, place a great deal of trust and responsibility in the hands of a doctor. Many patients will not understand the mechanism of disease behind their condition and anticipate that the doctor will explain to them and their family why it is that they are feeling the way they are and ultimately heal them. And that is precisely what my surgeon understood: the privilege of being able to care for patients and the intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship. And as I awoke to the care of my worried parents, the first thing they wanted to discuss was the details of the procedure that was methodically and patiently explained to them by my “good” doctor.

In study after study, patients have reported dissatisfaction with their medical care, not because of lack of knowledge or health outcome, but because their doctors did not show enough warmth in the encounter or listen to the patient’s questions and concerns. There are few times where a patient and their loved ones are more vulnerable and in need of compassion than when dealing with a hospitalization. And for some doctors, a patient may be another item on a checklist, but that patient is someone’s mother or father, son or daughter, sister or brother. My “good” doctor understood this and would often say “If you were my son…” when discussing treatment options, reflecting on the type of care he would want for his family and treating me similarly. Such ideals are rooted in love and compassion for patients, not as clients in the health care system, but as fellow human beings striving to make something of themselves and the world around them (I).

Unfortunately, the ordeal of living with a chronic illness or undergoing a major operation extends beyond the confines of the hospital. Whether it is creditors harassing patients for medical bills, prescriptions that need to be refilled, or lifestyle modifications that need to be made, the health care experience doesn’t end when a patient walks out of the hospital doors. It often takes merely a minute, as in the case of the “good” doctor who told me that as a student I could apply to get the procedure financially covered by the hospital. Such foresight in anticipating financial concerns and directing me on the next steps to be taken provided relief in the surmounting stress.

Lastly, the “good” doctor understands that as our patients are human, so are we. This means we will make mistakes, some of which can result in life-threatening consequences. With that said, the “good” doctor practices humility and honesty, apologizing and sharing as much information with patients as possible. Although no one strives to make mistakes, they will happen, and how one reacts to them is a distinguishing feature of the “good” doctor (II).

Of all the qualities I tried to explain in what makes a “good” doctor, there was no emphasis on skill and knowledge. And while being able to fulfill the duties of making the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans is expected, the intangibles of love, compassion, foresight and honesty is what makes a doctor, “good”. I learned such lessons in the purest manner possible, by being a patient myself, and will use them to guide me in all future patient encounters, as I strive to be a “good” doctor.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

This essay immediately pulls the reader in and makes him/her want to know more. We want to know how Joseph’s definition of a good doctor has changed and also why it has changed. Hooking your reader from the beginning is the best way to make sure they keep reading and a solid structure, like many of these scholarship essay examples have, is the best way to ensure there’s no confusion along the way.

One of the strongest points of this essay is that Joseph takes a negative personal experience and shows what he learned from it and how it caused him to grow as a person. This provides the reader with a different perspective and makes the essay much more interesting overall.

3. Life Happens Scholarship by Emily Trader

“When I was seventeen years old, my father lost his battle with kidney failure and cardiovascular disease. As long as I shall live, I do not believe that I will ever forget the first moment I saw my father’s once vibrant face in that cold and unforgiving casket. I won’t forget his lifeless and defeated hands, or how his pale lips would never utter another joke or speak to his grandchildren. Even though the day of his funeral was undoubtedly the worst day of my life, I wish I could relive it just to be with him one more time. Since that moment, I have felt as if all of my grief and longing resides underneath my skin with nothing to relieve the pressure. On September 8th, 2016, I lost my voice of reason, my confidant, my cheerleader, and my best friend.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had lost so much more. Upon my father’s passing, he left us with funeral and medical expenses that his insurance would not cover. Because he did not have any form of life insurance, the financial burden of his death was now the responsibility of my mother and me. Even though my mother works night shifts as a neonatal nurse and her commute is nearly two hours, she was forced to pick up extra shifts to support my family. Though I already had a job and I worked about ten hours a week, I now work anywhere from twenty-five to thirty-five hours a week, and I am also a full-time high honor student. Even though the death of my father forced me to realize the importance of cherishing time with my family, I do not see them very often because of our busy schedules. I also sacrificed my social life and the joy that every senior in high school should experience. Instead of football games and homecoming, I had to deal with mourning and the possibility that I would not attend college because of my family’s financial troubles.

If my father had a life insurance policy, we would not have to work ourselves to the bone and sacrifice our physical and emotional well-being to keep up with expenses. I would not have to worry so intensely about the future of my education on top of the crippling grief that I have felt over the last five months. If this devastating experience has taught me anything, it is this: financial planning for these situations is absolutely invaluable. I will not soon forget the stress and despair that I have experienced, and I now realize that to have a life insurance policy is to throw your surviving family members a crucial lifeline. Though no one can ever prepare you for the trauma of losing a parent, life insurance allows you to grieve without the constant stress of financial burden, and for that reason, it is an absolutely essential precaution.

I love and miss you so much, Dad. Thank God I will see you again.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

Throughout her entire essay, Emily shows strong and very real emotions connected to the death of her father. Although the tone of this essay is sad, it helps the reader connect and empathize with the experience that Emily went through and gives a real glimpse into her thoughts and emotions.

On a structural level, the first paragraph immediately pulls the reader in because of the amount of interesting detail involved and the body of the essay follows a logical flow and structure. One major point you can take away from these scholarship essay examples is that maintaining a clear structure is half the battle.

4. Bio-Rad Scholarship Essay by Lauren Croda

“I could not believe my eyes. Before me were fifteen massive jugs of Martinelli’s cider, needing to be consumed by my family of nine in just three days. My mother, the science volunteer for my second grade class, needed the bottles for a science project. As my mother came in biweekly to do hands-on projects with the students, I became immersed in science. My class, and myself, marveled at the sights before us. Our lessons were filled with sucking eggs into bottles, dissecting owls’ poop, and even completing a circuit using wires attached to a student’s capped front teeth. The possibilities for amazement were endless.

Experiencing science at an early age, I became enthralled with each new experiment, captivated by the chemistry of it all. I watched longingly as my older siblings created their science fair projects. Too young to enter the school science fairs, I took to my family. Force-feeding different animal food to my siblings and parents, I graphed their favorite types. While I was only six, my family has never forgiven me; my “experiments” remain the family joke. Nevertheless, I have progressed from my dog food days, leaving taste tests for DNA gel electrophoresis experiments.

While many find themselves turned away from the complexity of science, I have found myself mesmerized by it. This difference in opinion has spurred from my upbringings in science, feeling connected to science at an early age. By entering into hands on experiences at an impressionable age, I realized that science was not only for experienced technicians in lab coats, but for anyone.

In order to encourage interest in science, students need to experience early interactions. By gradually assimilating into the world of science, children can find themselves capable of mastering science. Additionally, elementary years constitute the most impressionable years of a person’s life. By experiencing science at such a young age, one can find themselves, like me, passionate about science for a lifetime.

Many science teachers find themselves unable, or unwilling, to teach using hands- on experiments and demonstrations. When learning the chemical formula of NaHCO3 (aq) + HC2H3O2 (aq), one feels themselves distant from these complex, boring symbols. However, when taken off paper and into the classroom, this distant formula reveals the ordinary household products able to create an exhilarating volcanic eruption. Hands-on learning experiences are vital to gaining interest in science, showing students that what they learn on paper operates not only in the books, but in everyday life.

By focusing funds on the creation of science labs in elementary schools, students can relate to science not as a foreign concept, but as a fun and intuitive way to learn about the world around them. Without interest and participation in science, the world could not continue. From roller coasters to doctors, science affects every aspect of life.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

The essay opens with a strong opening line simply stating “I could not believe my eyes”, immediately pulling the reader in. As the paragraph continues, the lighthearted and engaging tone keeps the reader interesting and also allows the reader to see Lauren’s personality.

Plus, the easy-to-follow structure means there’s no room for confusion. Furthermore, the real-life examples used throughout the essay make her passion for science even more obvious and engaging. If you’re passionate about the topic at hand, don’t be afraid to let it shine through! It just might be the difference between an essay that worked and one that didn’t.

5. Why College Is Important to Me by Nicole Kuznetsov

“As a child, my life had structure. Coloring books had lines, letters took on very specific shapes, and a system of rules governed everything from board games to the classroom. I found comfort in the fact that my future had an easy-to-follow template: elementary, middle, and high school, college, job, family retirement, “happily ever after” ending. When I graduated from elementary school I was told I completed 25% of my education. During my middle school graduation, I was told I was half way there and I know I’ll be told I’m 75% done when I throw my cap in the air this June. College was always factored into the percentage and the overall formula for life. And I never questioned its importance. I always figured it is important because it is necessary.

Going to college makes sense. From helping my parents land stable jobs after coming to America to giving my brother the chance to gain work experience at some of the top financial firms, college educations have shown their worth in my family. Yet I didn’t think about what actually goes on inside the magical universities until I entered high school. Applying to the Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering was the first time I had actively made a decision in my education. With the encouragement of my parents and favorite science teacher who recognized that I would excel in the challenging environment of like-minded students, I applied. Four years later, I can confidently say they were right.

My class of twenty-six has shown me the benefits of a collaborative rather than a competitive environment, especially the impact that camaraderie with my peers has on our collective learning experience. Each student has an inspiring level of passion and motivation that made me excited to learn, work on projects, and participate in discussions both in and out of the classroom. I used my education to gain skills and open doors for myself such as an internship at my local hospital. I gained confidence in my abilities to communicate with individuals from strangers my age to practicing professionals. I was thinking longer and harder than I ever had before to solve individual problems and large-scale challenges. In all honesty, I was having fun.

Looking back on my years at the Academy I realize how big of an impact the school made on how I view education. I wasn’t coming to school to mark another day off my calendar and inch closer to finishing the next 25%. I came to school to learn and question and push myself. Now, as a senior, I’m excited. I’m thankful for the sample that my high school gave me of what learning is supposed to be like and thankful that it left me wanting more. I’m entering college in August with a new understanding of its importance. It is important because it is what I want for my future.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

Firstly, this essay is chock full of personal examples, which scholarship committees love. Making your essay more personal can seriously put you ahead of the competition. Similarly, discussing your own goals can make your essay unique – show why you deserve to win over the other candidates.

Also, like many of the other scholarship essay examples here, the introduction paragraph is engaging and interesting. It gives us a new perspective on following a life path that seems determined and how Nicole learned new and unexpected lessons along the way.

Were these scholarship essay examples helpful? What are your best tips on writing a winning scholarship essay? 

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13 Tips to Bring Your Scholarship Essay to the Next Level

Applying for scholarships would be a piece of cake if it wasn’t for the essay, which often forces us to reflect on ourselves, who we are as people, and what we’ve accomplished so far in life. While it can be the most difficult part of the application, it’s also the most important part.

The scholarship essay is your chance to make a case for yourself and to show the committee why you deserve to win. It gives you the chance to show your personality and what you’re most proud of in life. Your scholarship application should inform, but your scholarship essay should persuade. Scholarship committees read hundreds, or even thousands, of essays, so making your application stand out from the rest is crucial.

But how?

Luckily, you don’t need perfect writing skills to make it happen. With a few scholarship essay tips and tricks in mind, you can easily bring your scholarship application to the next level.

Here are our 13 scholarship essay tips to help you succeed:

scholarship essay tips

The Planning Phase

1. Plan Far in Advance

If you wait until the last minute to write your scholarship essay, the quality will likely suffer. To make sure that you have enough time for the planning phase, create a calendar with the deadlines for all the scholarships you want to apply for. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for brainstorming and proofreading!

2. Know Your Audience

The best way to give the scholarship committee what they’re looking for is to actually know what they’re looking for. Figure out who their ideal candidate is and how you fit into that picture. But be careful not to cater to their expectations too much.

Don’t sacrifice your voice and personality to fit the bill. Rather, take a look at your strengths and then determine how you can spin them to become the ideal candidate.  

3. Follow the Instructions

It might seem like one of the more obvious scholarship essay tips, but many applicants make their first mistake before they even begin – they don’t read the directions. Exceeding (or not meeting) the word count can hurt your chances since it shows that you didn’t prepare your essay as well as other applicants. Also, double check to make sure you’re responding thoroughly to all parts of the prompt and that you’re following the correct scholarship essay format.

4. Choose a Topic That You’re Interested In and Passionate About

Your topic can have a heavy impact on how well your essay turns out. If you choose a topic that bores you, you’ll likely bore your reader too! Try and choose a topic that you’re passionate about or that interests you in some way rather than a topic that you feel you should write about – that way your personality and excitement can shine through in your writing!

scholarship essay tips

The Writing Phase

5. Create a Strong Introduction

Since the introduction is what draws the reader into your essay and convinces them to keep going, it should be one of the strongest parts of your essay. Instead of starting off with a general overview, why not hook your reader in with a surprising first line?

For example, which of these two opening lines pulls you into the story more? Which one makes you want to keep going?

My first time traveling abroad was during a family vacation to Mexico in 2010.

It was 2010; I had just crossed the border into Mexico and my life was about to change.

The second sentence gives the reader something to look for; it makes them curious about not only how your life changed during your trip but also why it changed. It gives the readers unanswered questions and they have to keep reading to find the answers.

Overall, you’ll want to give your reader a quick preview of what they can expect from your essay – think of it like the written version of a movie trailer. Why should they keep reading? 

6. Keep a Good Structure

After the introduction, it’s important to make sure that your reader can follow along with your essay without too much effort. Creating a basic outline is a great way to make sure this happens!

To create an outline, first organize your thoughts. Write down the main points that you definitely want to cover in your essay. Next, organize those thoughts into various sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. Your ideas can either be in sentence form, short phrases, or simple words – whatever you prefer! Lastly, make sure your ideas flow in a logical order and, if necessary, add more detail under each point. Check out this source for more information.

Also, try to avoid going off on a tangent by trying to take the time to determine which information is relevant and which isn’t. If it makes it easier, try creating a basic scholarship essay outline before you start writing. 

scholarship essay tips

7. Show Emotions

Connecting with an audience through writing can be challenging but, when done right, it can create a very powerful connection between the reader and the author. Showing your emotions is a great way to do that and to get the reader personally invested in your essay. Showing emotion can help the reader see you as a person, rather than a faceless author. Even though it’s crucial, it’s one of the scholarship essay tips that people tend to ignore the most.

We all have vulnerabilities, so don’t be afraid to show them. Likewise, write about your passions and the forces that drive you to succeed in life. Scholarship committees don’t expect you to be perfect and want to see how you’ve grown as a person and handled the obstacles that life has thrown your way. In fact, opening up about times where you felt nervous or scared demonstrates maturity and self-awareness – two great qualities for a scholarship applicant to have.

8. Use Real Life Examples

Instead of telling your reader about your experiences, show them. Don’t be afraid to provide real-world examples of your experiences and/or how you’ve changed as a person. Nearly every applicant will have a somewhat similar response to the essay prompt and your personal examples are your chance to transform your essay from generic to unique.

9. Keep the Tone Inspirational & Positive

One of the most important scholarship essay tips is based entirely on your perspective and tone. Nobody wants to read a depressing and self-pitying story. Even if you’re writing about difficult or sad events in your life, try and keep the tone positive and inspirational. Rather than just writing about how you were negatively affected by an event, focus on how you grew from the experience and overcame the obstacle.

10. Stay Away from Dreary & Boring Conclusions

Most people use the conclusion to simply paraphrase their entire essay…but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Do something surprising and innovative. Make your essay interesting and attention-grabbing from the first letter until the last period.

One great way to bring your conclusion to the next level is to leave your readers with an interesting question for them to think about. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips.

scholarship essay tips

The Editing Phase

11. Proofread and Ask for Help!

As much as we like to believe that we’re perfect, we all make mistakes…which is why it’s so important to take the time to proofread your essay. One great way to find mistakes is to read your essay out loud. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips.

Once you’ve taken the time to proofread your own essay a few times, have someone else do it for you. Asking a family member or friend for help can provide you with a different perspective on your writing and a second set of eyes might catch a mistake that you didn’t.

12. Take Advantages of Resources

When it comes to writing, you don’t have to do it completely on your own. If you’re in college, most schools have a writing center that offers free feedback and guidance to students. They might even have some insightful scholarship essay tips that you (or we!) didn’t think about. Some high schools, communities, or libraries might also have similar services.

Other than that, the internet can be a great source of information. If you have a specific question, try doing a simple Google search. Also, one of the best writing resources out there for students of all ages is the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). Check it out here.

scholarship essay tips

What else?

13. Reuse Essays When Possible!

While it might seem impossible to write a new essay for every scholarship application, you don’t necessarily have to. A lot of scholarships use very similar essay prompts – meaning you can either use the exact same essay or slightly change it rather than writing a new one altogether. Plus, reusing essays allows you to put more time into perfecting one or two essays. 

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12 Essential Tips for Winning More Scholarships

It’s no secret that scholarships are one of the absolute best ways to pay for college, but how in the world do you get started? With nearly every scholarship application requiring an essay, letters of recommendation, and a plethora of personal information, starting the process and figuring out how to get scholarships for college can be overwhelming.

At the same time, with the cost of school on the rise each year, scholarships are becoming more and more important. Unlike student loans, scholarships don’t need to be paid back and they offer free no-strings-attached money. Winning scholarships can significantly reduce (or even help you completely avoid) the burden of student debt and increasing interest rates after graduation.

Despite how fantastic they are, students are often puzzled about how to get scholarships. Where should you begin? When should you begin? Which scholarships are worth your time? How many should you apply for?

The questions can start to become overwhelming and even scare some students away. Luckily, applying for scholarships really isn’t all that complicated when it comes down to it! With a little dedication and perseverance, you can be well on your way to winning scholarships of your own.

Check out our 12 best tips on how to get scholarships and make your applications shine!

how to get scholarships

1. Go Local

While national scholarships generally get more visibility and press online, local scholarships usually offer better chances. You’ll only be competing against other students in your area rather than thousands of students all over the nation. Not only that, but you’ll be supporting local initiatives in your community that represent awesome causes.

Your high school guidance counselor or college admissions office should have plenty of information on local scholarships that apply to your situation. If not, try searching for “scholarships + your state/city” on Google or using a scholarship search engine, where you’ll likely be able to find lists of scholarships. Did we mention that we have tons of state-specific scholarship articles on our blog? 

Going Merry also makes finding local scholarships a piece of cake (really, what don’t we do?). Simply head to your profile and click on “scholarships” then “local scholarships” to see what’s going on in your area.

2. Find Your Edge

Scholarship providers spend countless hours reviewing scholarship applications and essays that are responding to the same prompt. Unsurprisingly, a hefty majority of applications are forgotten. The memorable have the best chance of winning. Just like in marketing, search for what gives you an advantage over your competition and use it.

Start by creating a list of your strengths. What are you good at? What are your friends always asking you to help them with? Then, figure out how to highlight your strengths throughout your application, specifically in the short answer and essay questions. Show the scholarship committee why your skills make you the perfect candidate for the award.

Your life experiences can also make your applications stand out. You’ve likely experienced events or challenges that are different from others: brainstorm a list and use it to your advantage.

how to get scholarships

3. Make Your Essay Shine

Another way to make your application shine is to approach the essay from a unique angle. As long as you’re thoroughly answering the prompt and using your best writing skills, there are no rules saying that you can’t put your own unique spin on the essay (unless your application does, in fact, have specific instructions not to do this!).

But what exactly does it mean to put your own unique spin on an essay? Basically, take your own life experiences and incorporate them into your writing. For example, let’s imagine that the essay question is “why do you want to study medicine?”. It’s safe to say that a good majority of the applicants will respond with something along the lines of “I want to help people.” While it’s a perfectly acceptable reason, it doesn’t make for a very interesting essay.

Instead, try approaching the essay differently by telling a story about a doctor you once had, the first time you felt inspired to study medicine, or a dream you have that medicine can help you achieve. It’s okay, and even recommended, to take some time and reflect before writing the essay. The deeper you can dive into your personal dreams and goals, the better.

If you’d like more tips on how to write an amazing essay, check out our step-by-step guide on applying for scholarships.

4. Seek Out Similar Applications

Let’s be real, scholarship applications can be lengthy and time-consuming. Between classes, homework, studying, and work, who has time to write several essays a week? Luckily, if you’re smart about your approach, that won’t be necessary at all.

Lots of scholarship applications are actually quite similar and, while it may feel like cheating, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using the same responses on various applications (as long as they’re relevant, of course). If it fits, you could even reuse the same essay or slightly change one that you’ve already written to fit different applications.

Applying for scholarships seems a whole lot less overwhelming when you already have half the work done! Plus, you’ll increase your chances of winning scholarships with less overall work.

If you’re not sure where to look for scholarships with essay topics similar to what you’ve already done, feel free to shoot us an email at support@goingmerry.com. Give us a list of topics you’ve written essays on before and we’ll do our best to find scholarships with similar or matching ones for you! You can also comment down below and you’ll be able to get feedback from us and fellow students.

how to get scholarships

5. Use Another Set of Eyes

Having another person, whether it’s a family member or a friend, look over your application can save you the embarrassment of unnecessary typos and also provide you with a second opinion. Often times, others can notice things about our writing that we have trouble seeing, like being too repetitive, writing too much unnecessary information, or being too boring.

Family and friends can provide helpful insight on how to get scholarships that you may have not thought about yourself.

6. The More the Merrier!

When it comes to scholarships, more is always better! There’s no limit on how many you can apply for and applying for more only raises your chances. Try setting time aside each week dedicated only to searching for and applying for scholarships. You could even try setting a monthly goal for how many scholarships you’d like to apply for (but keep it realistic).

If you only have a few minutes on hand, it’s even worth boosting your chances of winning scholarships by applying for some scholarship sweepstakes or scholarships without essays. Check out our extensive list of easy scholarships for an idea of where to get started.

how to get scholarships

7. Get a Head Start

Waiting until the last minute hardly works out in any situation, and scholarships are no exception. The best way to take advantage of as many scholarships as possible and avoid the last-minute stress is to start early!

High school students can start applying for scholarships as early as their junior year (Going Merry has a wide selection of scholarships for juniors to help you out!). High school seniors and college students can start applying as early as one year or more before the semester they hope to win scholarships for.

Scholarships are available all year with a number of different deadlines, but many deadlines fall around March.

8. Take Advantage of Going Merry

Not only does Going Merry allow you to apply for scholarships online for free, but it also helps make the scholarship application process easier by automatically matching you with scholarships that you qualify for and allowing you to directly apply to each one (just like the Common App does for college applications!). Not only does it require less effort on your part, but it can introduce you to hundreds of scholarships that you never even knew existed!

Plus, did we mention that it’s completely free for students? If you’re wondering how to get scholarships, Going Merry is a fantastic starting point.

how to get scholarships

9. Check Yourself Out Online

In this day and age, social media says a lot about who we are. Some scholarship providers might do a quick Google search of your name or head to your social media profiles to see if you’re online presence aligns with what they’re looking for. Doing a quick search of your own name to see what pops up can help you avoid any surprises.

Your social media profiles don’t necessarily need to be professional (except LinkedIn), but be careful about posts that could be viewed as negative by scholarship committees.

10. Do Your Research

On the flip side of things, doing a little research on the scholarship provider doesn’t hurt either. Not only is it a great way to make sure that the scholarship is legitimate, but it can give you an advantage on your application. Take some time to find out the type of person they’re looking for and play on your strengths to show them that you’re the perfect candidate.

It’s also worth checking to see if the profiles of past winners are available on the scholarship provider’s website. Doing your research on the type of students who won this scholarship in the past can give you an advantage during the application process. Some providers also allow you to see the winning essays, which can give you an idea of exactly what they’re looking for!

how to get scholarships

11. Plan Letters of Recommendation in Advance

When students are trying to figure out how to get scholarships, asking for letters of recommendation is often the most stressful part and requires the most advanced planning. Waiting until the last minute to ask your teachers, professors, counselors, etc. for a letter of recommendation is only going to stress them out. Make sure to notify them at least four weeks before the scholarship deadline.

Going Merry makes the process of getting Letters of Recommendation easier by allowing your recommender to upload their letter on the site so that you can reuse it for various applications. This means that you can ask for recommendations at the beginning of the school year and use them for your scholarship applications all year round!

Besides asking in advance, selecting the right person to recommend you is crucial. If you’re trying to get a scholarship for foreign language study, a recommendation from a French teacher will be much more relevant than one from a physics teacher, for example. It’s also helpful to ask for a recommendation from someone who has witnessed your academic ability and/or personal character.

12. Keep Your Eye on the Prize!

Whatever you do, don’t lose hope during the application process! Figuring out how to get scholarships can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, but it’s 100% worth it in the end. Don’t be discouraged if you find that you’re not winning as many scholarships as you had hoped.

In the end, your patience and time can help you pay for college while avoiding dreaded student loans at the same time, leaving you in a significantly better financial situation after graduation.

how to get scholarships

What are your best tips on how to get scholarships? Share them with us below!

Want to bring your scholarship applications to the next level? Check out our list of awesome scholarship tips to help you save money on college tuition!

How To Apply for Scholarships: A Step-by-Step Guide

With the cost of universities rising higher each year, it might feel like the price of furthering your education is getting out of control. In fact, between 1988 and 2017, the cost of attending a public university increased by 213% and the cost of a private one by 129%. Even after taking inflation into account, attending college is much more expensive than in the past. Nowadays, students can expect to pay around $9,970 per year for a public university and $34,740 per year for a private university. Figuring out how to apply for scholarships can save you big bucks in the end.

When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are the best option. Not only is there a scholarship for nearly everything from being left-handed to showcasing your talents on the football field to being top in your class, but scholarships are basically free money (and what could be better than that?). When you receive a scholarship, the money is yours to keep and you never have to worry about paying it back.

While the application process can be enough to scare some less-motivated students away, it’s really not so bad if you know what you’re in for (plus, Going Merry can help make the process easier!). Whether you’re applying for scholarships for the first time as an incoming college freshman or just looking for some extra cash to get you through grad school, here’s our step-by-step guide on how to apply for scholarships:

Step 1: Get Out There and Search

how to apply for scholarships

You can’t find what you don’t look for, right? So it should come as no surprise that the first step in this guide on how to apply for scholarships is that you need to go out (or go online) and search for one.

The first thing to do when beginning your search is to decide which types of scholarships you qualify for and which ones are right for you. While a huge range of scholarships exists, they can generally be split into need and merit-based.

Need-based scholarships depend on your or your family’s ability to pay for college and are only awarded to candidates who need a little extra help financially. Merit-based scholarships are awarded to applicants based on their achievements or abilities. They may be focused on academics, art, or athletics. There’s also a large range of situation-based scholarships, such as ones for women, minorities, journalism majors, or gamers. Both need and merit-based scholarships may be offered by your college, private organizations, or individuals.

Once you’ve come up with a general idea of which scholarships you might qualify for, you need to figure out where to look. The first step is to talk with a high school guidance counselor or the financial aid office at your university. Both will have experience finding scholarships that apply to your circumstances, while the financial aid office will also be able to tell you about university scholarships (you can usually find the most up-to-date information by checking out the financial aid or admissions section on the university website, too).

For some merit-based scholarships it’s also worth speaking to your teachers, e.g. if you’re looking for scholarships for French majors, chatting with your French teacher could be a great way to find them. If you have a knack for sports, it might also be helpful to speak to your high school coach! Universities with top-notch sports teams are usually willing to shell out a fair amount of money to get talented players to attend their schools.

Besides university-sponsored scholarships, there are thousands and thousands of privately-funded scholarships out there and various ways of finding them. Just like we mentioned above, the first search method is to sit down and discuss your options with a high school guidance counselor or a financial aid representative. Alternatively, a simple Google search generally turns up a fair amount of results as well.

However, in our opinion, the best way to find private scholarships is to use an online scholarship website. Going Merry, for example, helps you find and apply for scholarships all in one place. Simply create a profile and fill out your information. Based on the data you provide, Going Merry automatically matches you with scholarships you qualify for.

We save you the time of reading through various, boring scholarship descriptions and puzzling over which apply to you and which don’t. And we don’t stop there: we then allow you to apply directly to each scholarship, auto-filling your information as you do.

Step 2: Create a Calendar

how to apply for scholarships

When it comes to how to apply for scholarships, timing is key. It’s a good idea to begin applying as soon as possible…those deadlines really sneak up on you! From the start, make a list (whether in an Excel sheet or the vintage way with pen and paper), with the scholarships you’d like to apply for, their due dates, and their required documents and essays (Going Merry also has an estimate of the application time for each one).

Make sure to start your scholarship applications well in advance so that you’re not rushing to gather documents and materials.

Step 3: Figure Out the Requirements

Not all scholarships are created equal and it’s important to research the specific requirements for the scholarship you’re applying to. Luckily, scholarships are generally straightforward so everything you need will be listed out right in the description.

Here are the most common documents and materials needed for a scholarship application:

Scholarship Application Form 

It might be obvious, but a scholarship application without the application isn’t much of a scholarship application at all. Make sure to fill out the application portion thoroughly and double check for errors.


The essay portion of the application is your chance to shine. Even if you’re not a strong writer, it gives you the opportunity to express your personality, ideas, and opinions. You only have a certain amount of space and scholarship sponsors want to see how you’ll use it. Check down below for tips on how to turn your essay from a headache into your strong point.

how to apply for scholarships

Letters of Recommendation 

Most scholarships require Letters of Recommendation from personal or professional references. When requesting a LOR from professors, teachers, guidance counselors, or personal sources, make sure to give the person recommending you at least four weeks notice. The last thing you want is a rushed recommendation or a stressed-out recommender. For many students, asking for recommendations is the most stressful part when it comes to how to apply for scholarships.

Copies of Transcripts and Diplomas 

Even if a scholarship isn’t merit-based, it may require a copy of your high school, or most recent college, transcripts and your high school diploma. You can easily get transcript copies through your high school or university website or through the Guidance or Registrar’s Office. Occasionally, scholarship applications will also require your test scores from the SAT or ACT. Prepare yourself by keeping these test-taking tips in mind

Financial Aid Information 

Some scholarships, especially if they’re need-based, might require you to submit your FAFSA form or sometimes even your parents’ tax and income information along with your application.


An up-to-date and modern resume can make a big difference when it comes to applying for scholarships. Along with your essay, you should view your resume as one of the central pieces of your applicationwhere you can highlight your skills and accomplishments. If you’re looking to take your resume writing skills to the next level, try out these tips.


Sending a portfolio can significantly strengthen an application, especially for art and design-related majors. If you don’t have a portfolio and feel that you might need one, don’t sweat it. It’s not that difficult to get started if you take it step-by-step.

Step 4: Rock the Essay

how to apply for scholarships

As we mentioned above, the essay can make or break the application, so it’s important to give it the time and effort that it deserves. Even if you’re lacking confidence when it comes to your writing skills, following a few simple tips can help take your essay to the next level.

Essay Tip #1: Read the Instructions

So many amazingly written essays get tossed aside simply because the applicant didn’t take the time to read the directions and respond properly to the prompt. If you take anything at all from this guide on how to apply for scholarships, do yourself a favor and make sure you understand what you need to do before you pick up the pen.

Essay Tip #2: Give Yourself Time

When you give yourself sufficient time to write the essay, you’ll be less stressed, have more time to think through your ideas, and have more time for proofreading. Rushed essays are more likely to be filled with grammar and spelling errors and usually end up being pretty boring. Plan your time out beforehand.

Essay Tip #3: Find Your Own Path

When you apply for a scholarship, you’re responding to the same writing prompt as hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of other applicants. How can you make your essay stand out from the rest? What can you bring to it that nobody else can? Set some time aside simply to think over your strengths and to brainstorm ways to make your essay stand out.

Essay Tip #4: Create an Outline

An outline can help ensure that your essay is fluid and follows a logical sequence of events. Outlines don’t always need to be detailed, even just a basic one can help you organize your ideas!

Essay Tip #5: Liven It Up

Nobody wants to read a boring, lifeless essay…much less scholarship committees, who are reading hundreds of applications! Don’t be afraid to put your personality into your writing and let your passion show through. Big, fancy words aren’t necessary either and often do more harm than good.

Essay Tip #6: Proofread, Edit, Repeat

Taking five extra minutes to proofread your essay can make a world of difference. We’re all human and, whether we like it or not, we all make mistakes. Having the correct spelling and grammar will make your essay appear more professional.

Step 5: Submit Your Materials

how to apply for scholarships

Now that you’ve gathered all of your documents and materials, the next step on how to apply for scholarships is simply to turn them in! Some scholarships should be submitted by mail while others are submitted online, so be sure to check the requirements. If you requested any Letters of Recommendation, be sure that the person providing you with the recommendation is aware of the deadline. Also, provide them with either the email address or a stamped envelope with the correct destination address on it.

Step 6: Wait!

The last and final step in our guide on how to apply for scholarships is simply to wait and, realistically, there’s not much else you can do. Most scholarships will let you know when you can expect to hear back by. Some only contact the recipients.

After submitting your application, take a deep breath and relax. Keep a positive attitude and hope that your hard work paid off!

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