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How do I apply for scholarships, and where can I find them?

I come from a low income family and want to go to medical school... I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit worried about the cost. I really want to go somewhere out of state (not sure where yet, I just want out of Missouri), but I know that will be more costly. Where can I find scholarships, how do I apply, and will certain scholarships only work in certain places or for certain schools? I'm very lost and would very much like to not owe a fortune in student loans if possible
scholarships college money

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Irene’s Answer

Hello Maddi!
I like to categorize financial resources into three categories: loans, scholarships, and grants. Scholarships can be awarded based on merit, financial need, or combination of both; grants are usually based on financial need. You could apply for school specific scholarships or general scholarships.

For scholarships specific to the universities you are interested in, you can contact the school's financial aid office and ask about the scholarships they offer. You can find the contact information by googling the school and clicking into the school's website. Since they are school specific, these scholarships can only be used at the school that offers them, so you would apply for the scholarships of the schools you have applied to.

General scholarships can usually be used at any school, but sometimes the description will specify if you can only use the money for tuition or if it's simply cash money that you can use on any expense. For general scholarships, you could consider the following resources:
College Board's scholarship search engine -
The US Department of Education website -
List of other scholarship websites -

If you are also interested in looking at grants, I would recommend taking a look at FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and each state's grant agency. Here are the websites:
State Grant Agencies -

Scholarship applications usually start with filling out personal information. After that, you may be required to submit a resume and/or answer some questions. For example, you might be asked to answer the question, "why are you qualified to receive this scholarship?" When creating your resume, I would recommend tailoring your experiences to match the qualifications of the scholarship. When answering the questions, consider what makes you stand out from other applicants. Feel free to use your personal story and experiences to substantiate your response and show the reader of your application why you should receive the scholarship.

I hope this information helps! Good luck on your scholarship search!

Thank you! Maddi P.

Thanks for the directives. It really helpful. ASHU Jr

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Nailah’s Answer


There are sooo many resources online for obtaining scholarships, and the good thing about many of them is that they allow you to filter out various aspects that may or may not apply to you. This allows you to directly identify the perfect fit for you, your academic career thus far, and your academic plans in the future!

Some websites I suggest are:

- The U.S. Federal Government's scholarship search:

- Sallie Mae's scholarship search engine:

- Cappex/College Greenlight:

- Niche:

- Gates Millennium Scholars:

- Fast Web

- Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

- Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars

(The following are for highschoolers)
- Posse Foundation: (Students must be nominated by school or community-based organization in 11th grade)

- Questbridge: (Applications for Questbridge’s College Prep Scholarship are due in 11th grade; applications for Questbridge’s National College Match are due in September of 12th grade)

Some great one time scholarships:
American Indian Graduate Center ($1,000-$10,000)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund ($2,500-$15,000)
AXA Achievement Scholarship ($10,000-$25,000)
Coca-Cola Scholars ($10,000-$20,000)
Davidson Fellows ($10,000, $25,000, or $50,000)
Dell Scholars ($20,000)
Hispanic Scholarship Fund ($1,000-$20,000)
Horatio Alger (up to $21,000)
United Negro College Fund ($2,500-$10,000)

Last but not least - if you have a prospective school in mind, familiarize yourself with their financial aid office staff! They can inform you of internal scholarship opportunities that may be a perfect fit, for you. :-)

Remember - persistence is key! Try to create a daily practice of searching and applying for the best fits, as expansively as possible!

Best of luck to you!
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Joelle’s Answer

Hello Maddi!

Similar to you I come from a low-income background and I also want to attend medical school one day without accruing copious amounts of loans I will have to pay off years from now.

There are lots of free and useful scholarship resources online such as,, and even College Board has a scholarship search:

Depending on if you are a high school, undergraduate, or graduate student there are tons of scholarships for any type of student. If you are a particular major, demographic, or have special interests there are also a variety of scholarships that fill these criteria. For example, if you are a STEM major, low-income, first-generation, or are of a minority, under-represented background there are scholarships that specifically address these categories. Even being from Missouri, there are local and state-wide scholarships available too. Your school might even offer scholarships or could help you in finding scholarships to apply to!

Ultimately, scholarship searching entails a Google search to see what is out there! Apply to as many scholarships as you can because you never know what you could qualify for unless you apply.

Good luck!