Explore Scholarships and Grants

You don’t have to be an academic or athletic superstar to qualify for grants and scholarships. There are scholarships that go unawarded each year simply because nobody applied.

While most grants and scholarships will come from the school you end up attending, it’s worth exploring additional options:

1)  Start early and stick with it. Some scholarships are available to applicants as young as 4 years old. There are also tons of scholarships for students who have already started college. You should keep applying year after year to maximize the number of scholarships you win throughout your college journey.

2)  Check out scholarship search engines. Start searching for scholarships and grants using our online tool. There you’ll find over $10 billion in scholarships. One scholarship you won't have to search for is the Thrivent Student Resources Sweepstakes. Apply today for your chance to win $5,000 for higher education.


Some grants are very small—but still worth investing an hour of your time. Even if the grant is only $100, that's a pretty good hourly rate!

3)  Network. Talk to your friends, your parents, your friends’ parents, and your parents’ friends.  They may have scholarship or grant opportunities through their employers, churches, and service clubs that you won’t learn about unless you ask.

4)  Apply for scholarships like it’s your job - especially the local ones. It’s typical for local civic organizations to offer scholarships to high school juniors and seniors. Just google “your hometown” + “scholarships” and see what comes up. Check Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions Club, Optimist, Soroptimist, Knights of Columbus, Casinos, local banks and credit unions.

By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and applying for financial aid at the schools you’re interested in attending, you’ll be applying for any private scholarships or grants that the school has available.

5)  Ask colleges about their scholarship and grant opportunities. Most schools have scholarships offered through the various departments and colleges (e.g., College of Business, education department).

6)  Seek out leadership and volunteer service opportunities. Participate in activities that 1) can help you qualify for volunteer or leadership scholarships, or 2) give you something to write about in your scholarship essays. A Thrivent Action Team is a great way to lead a service activity in your community.

7)  Ask for help. Parents, guidance counselors, and teachers are valuable assets in the search for scholarships and can act as sounding boards and proofreaders of your essays.

8)  Understand how scholarships affect financial aid. You must report any scholarships that are awarded by anyone other than your school to your college’s financial aid office. Some schools adjust the amount of scholarships, grants, or loans they offer based on your private scholarship winnings. Private scholarship policies vary by school, so be sure to check with your college to learn more about their policy.

Want to start searching for scholarships right now? Visit our scholarship search tool or enter to win one of our $5,000 sweepstakes awards. 


MONEY magazine also offers some excellent tips for winning college scholarships and understanding the impact of scholarships on financial aid