College can be pretty costly, and financial aid is often a necessary. Check out the tools below for scholarship opportunities to pay your way through your new school. Remember, though, that multiple scholarships are necessary if you want to graduate debt-free. While many of these applications are time consuming and often have other requirements such as completing essays, they're critical in paying for your books, tuition, and other supplies.Scholarships 240x240

Before you begin, be aware there are numerous scams that will charge you an application fee for a relatively low award. Most legitimate scholarships will be free to apply for, so you should strongly consider competing for those first. Consider reviewing the following resource from the Department of Education on avoiding scams:

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one of the first steps in seeking financial aid. The application can be fairly long to finish but it is crucial in receiving federal loans and consideration for the Pell Grant - free money you can use to pay for school. Loans through the government typically have much lower interest rates than private companies, which often have severe penalties for late payments and fluctuating interest rates.

After completing the FAFSA you'll want to start looking for private scholarships. There's a TON of scholarship opportunities which range from helping students from low-income families to far more specialized scholarships seeking to help students who plan to pursue careers in engineering, dancing, theatre, mathematics, and more. With enough effort there's a good chance you'll find a scholarship that specifically wants to help you realize your dreams.

Career One Stop Scholarship Search:
This scholarship enables you to search for scholarships based on your level of education, ethnicity, and state. If you don't find any scholarships you can apply for, try using the next site. 

Sallie Mae Scholarship Search:
A free account is required to use this scholarship search engine, but the huge amount of scholarships the site discovers is worth the minute-or-two registration process. Some scholarships found in this engine will require their own registration, so be prepared.

Annual Scholarships

The following are scholarships that are offered year after year. Check to see if you qualify - there's a lot of money that could make your college life easier! Click on the name of the scholarship you're interested in to learn more about it.

Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship:
If you're trying to enter a private high school but can't afford it, the Caroline D. Bradley scholarship may be your ticket in. The scholarship pays for four years of high school or an alternative school and is awarded based on merit. Be aware, though, that it's highly competitive - make sure you bring your A game! 

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation:
The foundation offers several scholarships for students entering high school, college, or attempting to transfer to a different college. Like the Caroline D. Bradley award, Jack Kent Cook's scholarships are highly competitive and require nearly all A's for students entering high school, or a 3.5 GPA and being in the top 15% in standardized test scores for those trying to enter college.

RMHC®/HACER® Scholarship:
This scholarship seeks to help high school Hispanic seniors reach college through scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. Applications will be accepted until January 20th, 2016. 

Noteworthy Scholarships

Not every scholarship is about filling out paperwork and hoping for the best. The following scholarships have a twist to them that make them stand out from the rest. Check them out for a chance to earn huge rewards!Question 240x240

American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship:
Want to win $2,000 for college? Click on the link above to take an open-book, 10-question multiple choice test on sprinklers and fire safety. Be careful, though, you only have one chance! It's against the rules for you to take the test twice, so pay careful attention.

Ayn Rand Essay Contest:
Much like school, the Ayn Rand Essay Contest wants to you read a book by Ayn Rand and complete an essay between 800 to 1,600 words in length. You have a choice between three books- each with three unique questions you choose one from. Some of the books can be fairly hefty, so be prepared to set aside some time to read and write.

Duck Tape "Stuck at Prom" Scholarship:
Use your best crafting abilities to create prom outfits entirely out of Duck Tape! The better your outfit and accessories, the greater your chances of winning large scholarships and other prizes. Be smart, though - carefully consider if it's worth spending as much money as you will to create an outfit versus just saving the money for college

Tall Clubs International Scholarship:
If you're tall, there's a $1,000 scholarship for you! Applicants must be at least 5 feet 8 inches tall if female, or 6 feet 2 inches tall if male as well as be entering their first year of college. It's good to be tall!