The Scholarship Secret: There Is No Secret

We get a good amount of calls and emails at SCV asking for help finding and applying for scholarships. About half of those people have hit panic mode. The FAFSA wasn’t turned in, or some other kind of financial situation popped up leaving a big hole in the budget, or Dreamschool came through and tuition is a lot higher than planned. Everyone wants to know what the scholarship secret is! How is this really DONE? What do we DOOOO, they cry. There’s so much OOUUUUUT there. HEEEELP.

If this is you as well, first of all, breathe. Yes, there are a LOT of scholarships out there, and a LOT of scholarship websites. Secondly, no, sorry, there’s no magic potion or spell or secret to getting them.

You just have to do the searching, and the applying. “But over half of these don’t apply to me!” we hear. Yes, that might be true. That’s why the searching takes TIME.

You Just Have to Do the Work

Like all good things, you’re going to have to work for scholarships. It’s going to take you some time — a good deal of time — to search through all of the available scholarships out there, and find ones that fit your circumstances and needs.

I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear. There are thousands of scholarships out there, millions of dollars that go “unclaimed,” and not enough time to do it all.

That’s one of the reasons we recommend treating scholarship applications like a job. Set aside an hour a day. We know that’s time and work. But that’s how it is.

“Isn’t There a Company to Do This for Me?”

We also get asked if we can apply for a student to scholarships, or if we know of a company that does this service. In this day and age, when almost everything can be outsourced, and time is money, it’s not an unreasonable thing to ask. It is, however, an almost impossible thing to do. There are so many types of scholarships out there, needing a variety of information and essays, you’d almost need a personal assistant to do this for you (and then you’d probably not have a problem paying for college anyway).

RELATED: Five Scholarship Application Tips to Get Yourself On Track

That said, there are companies out there which will, in their terms, “maximize” or “streamline” your application processes. They will pre-populate your information for the “most common denominator” scholarships, not the more specific ones. And they will charge you for this service.

Two of the companies that pop up often in searches for these services are Scholarship Owl and We strongly recommend you read their reviews.

We do wish there was a magic way to sort all of the available scholarships in the world into a handy distilled list, personalized for you and your circumstances. But just like getting the grades to get into college, getting the scholarships to pay for college takes work and time. That’s the actual scholarship secret.

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