How to Find External Scholarships

By Bailey Linton on February 22, 2019

I made the decision on my first visit to Cornerstone that this was the place I wanted to spend my college years.

The visit itself hadn't really been planned at all. My youth group and I had been hoping to get into a large Christian music concert called WinterJam by waiting outside in a line, but they ran out of seats before we got to the door.

Distraught, we desperately searched Grand Rapids for a place to listen to some Christian music when a friend invited us to a worship night at his school: Cornerstone University.

A community of almost all young adult believers was something I had never experienced before, and I realized I would do anything to attend Cornerstone. As I rode back home in our dinky youth group van, one question began to consume my mind as my excitement quickly turned to dread.

How in the world am I going to pay for it?

The dread I felt trying to answer that question is what I hope to spare you with these tips and tricks on how to find scholarships beyond those that are already offered through the university.

Don't Just Google It

Before I explain how to find external scholarships, let me start with this time saver of how not to find them. My immediate reaction to hitting a problem I do not know the answer to is a common one: I go straight to Google.

That's exactly what I did when I first began considering how to pay for my Cornerstone education.

Though I was concerned about how I would afford college, I was also busy with schoolwork and whenever my mother reminded me to look for scholarships, I thought googling "scholarships" and clicking the first result would be the most efficient way to apply.

Nope.

What I did end up finding was a lot of scams that asked for personal information and offered no real chance of receiving money for college. I searched for scholarships for two months this way and all I did was increase the number of messages in my spam folder.

Make sure before you give any information away, you are confident in the validity of the scholarship.

Though no website is perfect, some websites Cornerstone students have found success in the past are Fastweb.com and StudentScholarships.org.

Look for Your Niche

When I was in high school, I was discouraged by the number of scholarships that seemed to require incredibly large amounts of community service.

I was no slouch when it came to contributing to the community, but I wasn't spending every single one of my weekends volunteering like some of the scholarships suggested I should've been doing.

I played varsity sports and thought that I did not have any of the talents necessary for the scholarship application process.

I was, however, a talented writer.

See, I was looking for all the wrong scholarships. I knew that in school, I excelled at writing personal opinion pieces and a little bit of searching showed me that there were tons of scholarships dedicated to working on just that.

The cool part about the age we live in is that there seems to be a scholarship for just about any kind of skill that a person can possess. Just remember that for most good scholarships, you’re going to have to put in time and effort.

Stay Positive, Even When Things Get Hard

The online world of scholarship searching can be frightening, but one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is not to give up.

Something I was surprised by when using websites such as Fastweb.com was that the scholarships I often found that interested me were not immediately available for me to apply to on the website.

I mistakenly thought this meant the death of my chances of getting that scholarship, but I was wrong. Oftentimes, the scholarship's application process was simply a web search away, but I was too pessimistic to chase after it.

That's not easy to admit, but maybe you're just like I was, stuck between worrying about paying for school and the misconception that you're not good enough to deserve any particular scholarship or grant.

Contrary to that belief though, funding is out there. It just takes work.

There Is Hope

The truth is that there is no one-stop-shop for all of your scholarship needs anywhere on the internet. It's going to be hard work on your end to learn the steps for each scholarship and even harder work for you to get the scholarship.

But most students are capable of finding the scholarships that are out there. Keep the faith and don't be afraid to ask for help! Some examples to help you out are asking your local school adviser, checking out your local community foundation or checking our website's suggested tips.

College can seem intimidating in terms of price, but there are so many ways to make an unforgettable education at Cornerstone possible. Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you and build a life that matters!

Check out our Financial Aid 101 online booklet as well for even more ideas on how to make Cornerstone affordable!

Financial Aid 101 Guide

Category: For Parents