Scholarships from Outside Sources

Tips for Finding and Applying for Outside Scholarships

  1. Create a separate email just for the scholarship process. Make sure it’s professional!
  2. Never pay to find or apply for a scholarship and never give out account information. These are signs of a potential scholarship scam. When in doubt, check with the financial aid office.
  3. Check with your high school guidance counselor/school website. You can also check other nearby schools’ websites. If you are already in college, check with the financial aid office.
  4. Start local. Many local banks, churches, professional organizations, unions, and clubs such as Rotary, Elks, and Lions offer scholarships.
  5. Check with your and/or your parents’ employer. Some jobs will offer scholarships/tuition reimbursement as a benefit.
  6. Have your letters of recommendation, resume, transcripts, etc. ready to go. If references are needed, make sure you ask well in advance of any deadlines.
  7. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the applications. Applications that have been rushed don’t look as good. Read the directions thoroughly and review everything before you submit it. Make the application personal.
  8. Be involved in the community. Think United Way, Habitat for Humanity, scouts, FFA, 4-H, and other community or religious organizations. A little volunteering can go a long way.
  9. Don’t forget about small scholarships. There is likely less completion and every amount helps.
  10. Use one of the scholarship search engines listed on our website.
  11. Search for scholarships that highlight your strengths and accomplishments. Search by your hobbies, religious affiliation, heritage, volunteer and civic activities, financial need, musical talents, artistic skills, GPA, or state of residence.
  12. Don’t assume that outside scholarships are only for first year students. Many exist for sophomores and above. Searching for outside scholarships isn’t just for high school seniors!
  13. Don’t forget about deadlines. Most of the time a late application will not be accepted.
  14. Finding and applying for scholarships takes time. You may need to apply to many different opportunities.
  15. While some scholarships are renewable, many are not. Some of these multi-year scholarships have renewal criteria such as maintaining a specific GPA, completion of certain coursework, or involvement in specific activities.
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Financial Aid Office

Main 27
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone: 563-387-1018
Fax: 563-387-2241