All college scholarships are not created equal. Some scholarship prizes are competitive while others are less so.

Setting yourself up for success on your scholarship journey starts with your research process. The scholarships you find will have an impact on the scholarships you can win. For example, if you’re a current college student and your grade point average (GPA) is good, but not great, you’ll likely have less of a chance at winning an academic or merit-based scholarship. On the other hand, if there is a super specific scholarship, say for bird watchers, and this happens to be your favorite hobby, it’s probably safe to assume that you’ll have a much better chance at being the scholarship winner.

The key thing to look for in your search for easy scholarships is eligibility criteria that matches your profile well, and simultaneously disqualifies many other potential applicants. Like the bird-watching scholarship example above suggests, the more a scholarship prize speaks to your specific hobbies or talents, the less competitive it will be. Here are some more tips to help you on your mission to find the easiest scholarships to win.

Easy Scholarships – What to Look For

There are many easy scholarships out there, but not all of them are worth your time. Here are some things to look for in an easy scholarship: A good easy scholarship will have a clear and concise application process.

The scholarship should also have a reasonable award amount. $500 or more is a good benchmark to aim for. Anything less than that is not worth your time, as you can likely find other scholarships that offer a higher award amount.

Finally, make sure the scholarship is actually easy to win. If there are only a handful of applicants, your chances of winning are much higher than if there are thousands of applicants. Let’s cover how to do this and get you closer to winning free money for college.

Apply for Scholarships with Highly Specific Eligibility Criteria

Finding easy scholarships to apply for starts by examining who you are. Scholarships are given out for many different reasons so it’s ideal to know what strengths exist in your profile as a person and as a college student. Since college students are diverse, ask yourself what makes you unique and start your search for financial aid there.

There are countless examples of how to do this, but here are a few. Are you a good athlete? Then start your search by looking for athletic scholarships. Are you Hispanic? Try looking for scholarships for Hispanic students. Are you a female studying engineering? Then investigate scholarships for women in STEM or scholarships by major. The point here is to look at the many characteristics that make you who you are and try to find ways to help those items fund your education.

Easy Money Scholarships or No-Essay College Scholarships

College scholarships that promote easy money to pay for college tuition, private student loans, or student loan payments should be approached with realistic expectations. Many students are looking for ways of paying for school through quick and easy scholarships, so these prizes tend to be more competitive and/or like lotteries than actual competitions involving essay writing and grades. For example, they may ask you to post something on social media with each post acting as one entry into a scholarship draw.

The issue with these kinds of no-essay scholarship programs is that you may have to spend a lot of time tweeting, texting, and posting in order to stand a chance at winning. Like a lottery, there will likely be an enormous number of individual entries so increasing your chances will take energy and effort. Even though avoiding an essay scholarship or writing scholarship sounds attractive, you’ll still need to invest time to have a chance to win.

Where to Start to Increase Chances of Winning Easy Scholarships

Whether you’re a high school senior, college student, or graduate student, here are some steps you can take to find scholarship contests that you can win.

1.    Create a list of all the things that make you who you are. Nothing is too trivial. What are your hobbies, what are your aspirations, where do you live, where do you come from, what are you studying, etc.

2.    Use the answers from the previous step to research if communities, organizations, or scholarship providers are investing in students like you. You can use the BridgesEDU Scholarship Finder – which is a free scholarship database – to help you.

3.    Create a scholarship list that includes the names of prizes, due dates, and eligibility criteria.

4.    Start applying for scholarships with the closest due dates. Make sure to complete all elements of the application process.

5.    Repeat the previous steps every few months as new prizes become available throughout the academic year – This will help you apply for as many scholarships as possible.

Keep in mind that finding highly unique or weird scholarships can be tedious and frustrating because they are often not well advertised. But the more you look, the more you’ll develop your research skills (you’ll learn how to navigate monthly scholarships coming due, scholarship directories, scholarship providers, and other resources to connect you with quick and easy scholarships).

What to Avoid When Looking for Easy Scholarships

There are two major things to avoid when looking for easy scholarships:

1.    Competitive scholarships with broad eligibility criteria. For example, a scholarship stating that it is open to all American students attending any college or university in 2022 or 2023 will likely receive many applications given its open eligibility criteria.

2.    Scholarships requiring complex applications processes and/or those with an extensive amount of written work.

In short, the easiest scholarships to get are the ones whose unique eligibility criteria mesh well with your personal or academic profile.

Summary: How to Find Easy College Scholarships to Apply For

  • Look for scholarship opportunities with highly unique eligibility criteria. Ensure you meet the requirements and create a list of many scholarships to apply for.
  • Avoid scholarship applications with broad eligibility criteria because these will often have a lot of applicants.
  • Quick and easy prizes (like no-essay scholarships) will require time and effort if you want to have a realistic shot at winning the scholarship money. Essay scholarships or prizes that require some writing might sound like a lot of work, but you will increase your chances of winning if there are fewer applicants.
  • Finding easy scholarship competitions to win will get easier with more practice, so both high school and college students should apply early and often. This will increase your chances to win scholarship money and help pay for college costs, private student loans, books, and the many other expenses associated with paying for school.