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Financial Aid 101: Finding Additional Scholarships


It's a general understanding that senior year is the time to apply for college. This means most students have already developed lists of schools and deadlines, filled out application forms, written essays, prepared a resume or list of activities, and asked for recommendations. This type of approach, however, is not always applied to the scholarship search and application process. For most, college enrollment should be a two-step process: first, apply for admission; second, apply for financial aid and scholarships.

We understand that applying for scholarships can be very time consuming and require a lot of work, but it can pay off! Have you heard of the MillionDollar$cholar? Yes, he's a real student who received over $1 million dollars in scholarship and grant aid. Granted, he started his scholarship search and application process two years prior to applying for college—but it's never too late for you to start!

There are many different types of scholarships available from a variety of sources. We're here to help shine some light on the process and point you in the right direction.

DU Departmental Scholarships:
Most departments wait until a student is taking classes in their major before awarding additional aid. However, there are some scholarships available for incoming first year students:

  • Puksta Scholarship
    Available to Colorado residents with financial need and a commitment to civic engagement. The application deadline is Monday, April 7th.
  • Native American Community Scholarship
    You must be involved in or committed to serving the Native American Community. The application deadline is Friday, March 14th.
  • Young Scholarship
    Available to students intending to major in International Studies who have high school involvement in global, international or social justice activities. An invitation to interview for the scholarship is determined by your admission application.
  • Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Scholarships
    These are awarded to admitted students based on the admission application and/or the FAFSA and CSS Profile.
  • Daniels College of Business Scholarships
    These are awarded to admitted students based on the admission application and/or the FAFSA and CSS Profile.
  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics Scholarships
    These are awarded to admitted students with the top academic records (based on the admission application).
  • Art Department Scholarships
    These require the submission of a portfolio for consideration. Information will be supplied by Art Department to students once accepted to DU.
  • Theatre Department Scholarships
    These require an audition or portfolio for consideration.
  • Debate Scholarships
    These are awarded to students interested in being on the DU Debate Team. The application deadline is April 15th.

Private Scholarships:
Throughout the year, many organizations provide our office with information regarding their private scholarship and grant opportunities. We maintain a directory of these opportunities, which includes contact information for each organization and, if possible, a website you can visit for more information about that scholarship. Begin your search now on our scholarship search page!

Additional search engines:
There are many other online scholarship databases for you to utilize, including:

    This site--which holds 1.3 million scholarships--matches students to scholarships based on their qualifications.
    This is a scholarship search service and financial aid information resource that uses personal profiles to identify the most relevant scholarships for you.
    This site connects to your Facebook account and uses your demographic information to find scholarships you may be eligible to receive.
    This is an online, reusable application that can be uploaded to apply for a variety of scholarships through providers' websites.
    This site does not require a login or registration to view and begin applying for scholarships.

Tips to help in your search:

  • Searching for private scholarships can be time intensive. Make it easier by having a system to find and apply for these opportunities!
  • Actively investigate as many scholarship opportunities as possible.
  • Be sure to read all application materials thoroughly so you don't miss an important step in their process.
  • Don't be discouraged by scholarships with small dollar amounts--every little bit helps!
  • Organizations of all types and sizes sponsor scholarships. Explore local entities you might not have considered, such as religious, community service, fraternal, military, union and professional organizations.
  • Beware of scholarship scams. You should never pay money up front to receive a scholarship!

If you receive a private scholarship, be sure to notify our office so we can add it to your financial aid package.

Up next week: Understanding Your Cost of Attendance

Want to review past Financial Aid 101 emails? Check out the archives!

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