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Welcome to the Mentor Learning Center

Scholarship Toolkit

This article will help you gain a wider understanding of where your mentee can search for scholarships, organize deadlines, and help you articulate the importance of scholarships in the college application process. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are “outside scholarships?”

They are private sources of financial aid. 

How can your mentee receive one?

Most scholarships require an application – separate from FAFSA – and essay(s).

Who gives scholarships?

They are offered by national corporations/institutions, local businesses, community-based organizations, and private foundations. 

When are they due?

Deadlines vary by scholarship – have your mentee check early and often during their college-search process. 

Where can I use them?

Most can be applied to any school, but some can only be used for college(s) in a specific location (e.g. region, state).

Why should I care?

Scholarships are an excellent supplemental source of aid to cover remaining costs after financial aid from your mentee's school. 

Search Tips

Assemble the Pieces

  • Two or more recommendation letters. Have your mentee ask adults (non-family) who know them well: teachers, counselors, coaches, program and work supervisors. Remember: recommendations can typically be used for multiple scholarships.
  • Official high school transcript.
  • Bookmark scholarship applications as you find them – save time when you’re ready to apply.

Search Local Scholarships First 

  • Have your mentee find scholarships from their city, state or region.
  • Ask around: Your mentee's school, neighborhood, community organization, employer, or place of worship may have scholarships that they sponsor each year.

Find Scholarships that Fit 

  • Does your mentee qualify to apply? Check requirements for GPA, ethnicity, neighborhood of residence, family income, and leadership or volunteer experience.

Represent Yourself Well 

  • Make sure your mentee highlights strengths, achievements, goals, and challenges they have overcome.
  • Make sure your mentee reads scholarship directions very carefully - turn in everything on time.

Additional Resources

National Scholarship Searches

College Board

  • On the Pay for College tab, select Scholarships and Grants
  • Search for scholarships based upon eligibility criteria with Scholarship Search 

Fast Web

  • Join to see scholarship matches and receive emails with upcoming scholarships
  • Create or update profile to be matched with scholarships

College Greenlight

  • Under Fund Your Education tab, click on My Scholarships
  • Create an account to find scholarship matches 

National Scholarships

IL & Chicago Scholarships