Scholarships – Let’s Talk Strategy


Beyond college-sourced aid and scholarships, we encourage you to apply for outside scholarships—privately sourced awards that will stack on top of any Grove City-funded aid we offer you (not exceeding total cost of attendance). We strongly advise that you to make the most of these opportunities because Grove City College students are very successful in obtaining outside scholarships (and most bring in more than one). In fact, 196 students from our recent incoming class brought in an average of $5,200 each in outside scholarships. Over four years, money like that can really add up in your favor!

There are countless privately funded scholarships available, and we’ve identified some ways to simplify and target your search. See below for our best strategies and resources to help you make the most of your talents, traits, and connections so you can score some scholarships and take one step closer to funding your dream.


Community Foundations

Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that house and manage donor-directed funds to improve the lives of local residents. One of the ways they do so is through scholarships! Almost every county has a community foundation. The Shenango Valley Foundation, Community Foundation for the AllegheniesChautauqua Region Community Foundation, and Cleveland Foundation are a few examples. To access the community foundation closest to you, simply Google “[insert your county] community foundation,” find the scholarships tab, and follow instructions to apply.

Your Home State

You may be eligible for certain scholarships simply by living in your state.


Are you a homeschooled student? Do some research on the groups who produce your curriculum. Several may offer scholarships geared towards you.

Extracurricular Activities

What have you been involved in in high school?

  • Ask your coach, instructor, director, or youth leader if they know of any grants available to students involved in X, Y, or Z. For example, if you’ve been actively involved in music, you may be able to compete with your instrument to win a scholarship.
  • Are you in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts? Both organizations offer scholarships.
  • Do you have a job? Many employers who hire high school students offer scholarships.

Professional Organizations

What professional organizations or think tanks relate to your future major? Perhaps the American Chemical Society if you’re an aspiring chemistry major or the Association of American Educators if you’re planning to pursue a degree in early childhood education. The Foundation for Economic Education and Intercollegiate Studies Institute are two of many groups that hold speaking competitions for high school students.

Community Groups

These scholarships often require a short essay or speech. Very few students typically enter these competitions, but there are many awards to be distributed! Typical groups include the following:

  • Toastmasters
  • Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs
  • National Management Association
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Major manufacturers like Nordstrom, Coca-Cola, Target, and Colgate

Submission-Specific Scholarships

Search for scholarships that require some sort of submission. There are thousands of contests for essay writing, business plans, robotics projects, scientific research, videos, and more. You can simply search for “essay scholarships,” “scholarships for entrepreneurs,” “video scholarships,” or “scholarships for [fill in the blank with something you’ve done or are good at].” If there is a scholarship out there for the student who most creatively designs prom attire entirely with duct tape, then there is certainly a scholarship out there for you!

Unique Traits

The majority of private scholarships are awarded in someone’s honor or memory. Sit down with your family and make a list of the things that are unique to you: heritage, denominational affiliation, people you’re related to, diseases or illnesses that run in your family, etc. Then check out to find awards given out for things like:

  • Plate in leg
  • Left handed
  • Ambidextrous
  • Red hair, blue eyes
  • Slovak heritage
  • Twin or triplet
  • Tall
  • Vegetarian
  • Skilled duck caller

Job Opportunities

It’s also a great idea to investigate employment opportunities at your future college campus and the surrounding community. Are you a lifeguard or a swim instructor? Find out if you can get some hours at the pool on campus or see if there’s a local YMCA where you can teach swim lessons part-time. Are you a musician? Ask if the music department hires student accompanists or connects students with parents in town seeking lessons for their children.


Now that we’ve talked strategy and shared some examples, refer to the below list of online resources where you can start searching for yourself!


If you don’t believe there’s money out there to be found, take it from Christopher Gray, college graduate and creator of Scholly. After fully funding his undergraduate degree (plus some) with the $1.3 million he attained in scholarship money, he built this app to help students strategically search for scholarships.

You can also take it from a 2015 Grove City grad who earned over $14,000 from outside scholarships and essay contests over her four years as a student here. Here’s what she says:

“The motivational game changer for me was when my dad put into perspective the time and money ratio of applying for scholarships. He said that if I spent five hours on a scholarship application worth $1000 and won, then I would have made $200 per hour. What kind of part-time job pays $200 an hour?! Obviously, it is unlikely you will win every essay contest you enter, yet the concept holds true. There are many businesses, organizations and individual people looking to financially support students who possess certain characteristics that align with their vision or criteria. You just need to find them! Because it takes time to apply, I recommend setting aside a couple hours one day per week to research, gather your thoughts, compile your videos, polish your portfolio, or write your essays, depending on the application requirements. Whatever you’re submitting, get honest feedback from someone to make sure your submission is top quality. The more clearly and compellingly you present your ideas, the more likely you are to land a scholarship!”


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