Winning scholarships is one of the best ways for you to pay for your education, but a lot of students miss out on money every year because they don’t know where to look or how to win scholarship prizes.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of scholarships out there for students to apply for. Many are highly specialized and most students have no idea that they are eligible for them. However, if you’re willing to take a moment to learn about the types of scholarships you qualify for, it may help you pay for college costs that seem to soar from year to year.

Scholarships by major is one often overlooked kind of scholarship that you might be able to land. And here’s the great news: you don’t need perfect grades. Additionally, since undergraduates study such a wide range of subjects, you’ll compete with a smaller pool of students (only those who have the same major as you).

You’re obviously here because you want to find and win scholarship money. So, let’s do that. Let’s cover how you can find and win scholarships by major and pay down those education costs.

Check Your Department

OK, so this is an easy one, but it’s a good place to start. When searching for scholarships by major, start by visiting your department. Sometimes, there are college scholarships offered to students registered with the department, which is part of the prize’s eligibility requirements. For example, one award may exist for students majoring in chemical engineering and note in the terms and conditions that the scholarship recipient will “major in chemical engineering or chemical education.”

Departments offer these awards for a variety of reasons. Commonly, alumni will donate money for students specifically associated with a department. This makes it unlikely that the scholarship will be advertised widely, which is good news for you if you want to face less competition.

Financial Aid Office or College Registrar

When you’re searching for scholarships by major, visit your college’s financial aid office or registrar to ask about awards.

The financial aid office will have a list of all the scholarships available to students with your major, and they’ll be able to help you find out if any of those awards are still open. They’ll also be able to help you find scholarship opportunities that match the criteria you’re looking for.

If you’re not sure who to talk to at your school, call them up and say something like “Hi! I’m a freshman at [your school], and I want to find out about scholarships for people who study [your major].” They’ll probably be able to point you in the right direction.

You may also want to find out if your school has a scholarship database that can help you learn about the scholarships it offers. There tends to be many scholarships by major in these resources alongside other types of scholarships (financial need scholarships, scholarships on social issues, merit-based scholarships, etc.).  

Many schools also have links to outside scholarship opportunities on their websites. You may be able to join this online community through email and receive regular updates about scholarship prizes. This is a great resource that connects you with hundreds of relevant private scholarships, which can also decrease the time you have to invest in finding awards.

Private Scholarships

Your college or university’s resources are a great place to start, but don’t limit yourself to the scholarships offered by your school.

As you’re looking for scholarships by major, it’s important to know that there are private scholarships out there that your school may not advertise or even know about. Lots of prizes are given out by individual organizations, or sometimes individuals.

Since your college may not be the best place to search for private scholarships, you should also think about outside sources. This is important because you may find that there are private scholarships specifically aimed at students in your field or major, but are even more lucrative than the ones offered by your school.

A great way to connect with private scholarships is to use a scholarship portal, like the BridgesEDU Scholarship Finder. The Scholarship Finder is like a search engine for scholarships—it allows you to search based on various criteria and see what scholarships are available for you. It will tell you about the requirements for each scholarship (like GPA or major), so it’s easy to narrow down your search based on what fits with your needs. And it will also help track down deadlines and other key information about each scholarship.

You can also find private scholarships based on your major by doing an exhaustive Google search. When you do a deep search on Google, you can find many scholarships that are not advertised well. These prizes are just sitting out there waiting for you to find them.

Finally, one of the best places to start is by checking with major organizations that you know of. For example, if you’re interested in scholarships for women in STEM fields, then you might want to check out organizations like WITI (Women in Technology International), or WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). These organizations have programs set up specifically to help women who want to go into STEM fields, and they often offer scholarships as well.

Final Word

After all this searching for scholarships by major, you should have found a lot of great opportunities! Don’t pass them up. Apply to as many as you can.

Follow this advice, and you can dramatically increase your odds of winning a scholarship this year. Good luck!