National Scholarship Month

November is National Scholarship Month and as a student, it’s important to understand all the available options as well as how to make sure you have the best chance to take advantage of those options. There are billions of dollars in scholarships offered to diligent students, and those scholarships are available for almost any interests you might have, either academic or extracurricular.

Below are a few helpful hints for finding and applying for scholarships for which you may be eligible.

Be Thoughtful: As you begin your scholarship search, focus on the types of awards that best meet your needs. Take advantage of scholarship websites that automatically match eligible scholarships to a personal profile you set up. Scholarships often have parameters you must fulfill in order to qualify and maintain the award. This doesn’t mean you should dismiss scholarships if they don’t seem to match your exact interests. It does mean, however, that if you plan to apply, you’ll need to follow the rules of the scholarship. For example, if you apply for a STEM scholarship, you’ll more than likely be required to take STEM courses. A little bit of thought will go a long way in finding the right scholarships for you.

Be Creative: Searching for scholarships can be time consuming. Reading through lists of academic qualifications and achievements is necessary in order to determine your eligibility for the program.  There are many scholarships available for extracurricular activities, sports, ethnicity and more and several corporations offer scholarship programs which often require a creative element. These scholarships are often more lenient academically, and can be a good mental break while trying to secure money for college.

If you have a hobby that you enjoy, do a little research. Many scholarships can be found by using Google. Simply Google subjects that are related to your personal or educational interests to find available funding to help with your education. There are scholarships for everything from Duck Calling to Duct Tape. Also check out the monthly scholarships offered by for a fun and easy way to apply for free money!

Be Thorough: Scholarships are money. Most of the time, money doesn’t come easy, and the same is true with scholarships. Most require applications, letters of recommendation, transcripts, essays, and more. This is how scholarship programs weed out those that are truly serious about wanting the scholarship funds and those that aren’t. When applying for scholarships, ensure you’re providing everything that’s required, and make sure all of that information is as accurate and thorough as possible. If you get an early start on your scholarship search, you should have plenty of time and opportunity to correctly complete your application without rushing or taking short cuts.

Be Patient: It can be wearisome waiting to hear if you’ve been awarded a scholarship, especially if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your application. Be patient and understand there are a lot of other students applying for the same scholarships. It takes time to find the best applicants, but if you’ve done your research and followed the required steps, you may be the recipient of scholarship funds to help with your college education.

Be Investigative. OCAP offers several resources to assist you in your search for scholarships. provides a scholarship database with awards shown by deadline date and category and offers a scholarship search feature that matches available scholarships to your interests and hobbies.

We share a Scholarship Success Guide that provides tips for successfully completing a scholarship application and writing an essay. Scholarship websites are also provided for various scholarship search engines and tribal entities. And our new Scholarships 101 PowerPoint walks you through the scholarship process from start to finish. Good luck!