Written by Susan Shiroma, Business Librarian, Central Library
Scholarships provide access to education, resources, and valuable networks for inspirational people who need financial support with college expenses. Finding one or more scholarships to fund your education is a process that begins in high school and ends after you have earned degree(s) or completed professional school.
Tip: The scholarship search should begin one to three years before you need the money. Queens Public Library has many resources and programs to help teens and their families prepare for college, the college application process, and financial aid.
Here is one way the library is helping people of all ages find scholarships:
Central Library’s team has created a new in-person class series, Scholarships for Change: Discovering Free Resources for College Scholarships. Sessions will be held in the Central Library’s Cyber Center Training Room. Attendees will learn about the role of scholarships in higher education and get hands-on experience with online scholarship tools. Participants will receive a Queens Public Library resource list of information and tools supporting scholarship seekers, including financial aid websites, and scholarship resources for undocumented students. In this blog, we share highlights from Scholarships for Change and provide some resources for getting started with a scholarship search.
Queens Public Library’s Resources, including Books, Databases and Scholarship Tips
Each library in the Queens Public Library system has books to support a college search. You can find college, financial aid, and scholarship books (including e-books) by using the Books, Movies & More area on queenslibrary.org. Request a book through the library’s website.
Standard scholarship tips:
- Invest the time into researching scholarships and make a list of scholarships you are eligible for
- Get the latest guidelines from each funder
- Apply early and to multiple sources – Deadlines typically fall between September/December and March/April.
- Review each college’s website to learn what they say about financial aid and scholarships at their college. Call the college after you’ve checked online.
- Some foundations require an essay, statement of intent to study, and/or letters of recommendations. Focus on leaving a strong impression of who you are as an individual
- Ask the teachers, mentors and adults you work with if they can recommend a scholarship
- Talk to your guidance counselor, college advisor, parent, or guardian about scholarships, financial aid and how you will fund your education
Free Scholarship Search Engines
Free scholarship search engines are a valuable resource for your scholarship search. Try out several free scholarship search engines to find ones that work for you.
Before you begin your scholarship search, you should know:
- When do you plan to attend college?
- Are you attending full-time or part-time?
- List of colleges you are planning to apply to
- Intended major or program of study
- Academic and career goals
- Academic credentials, extracurricular activities, volunteer and community work, accomplishments, awards received, leadership activities, hobbies, etc.
- Unusual circumstances in your life (positive and negative) and how this affects you
- Personal affiliations of yourself and family – organizational affiliations, including union membership, workplace and religious affiliation
- Be able to describe what makes you unique
This personal information can guide your scholarship search as many search engines have unique search filters to help users find scholarships.
Tip: Do not apply for a scholarship unless you meet its eligibility criteria.
Popular free scholarship search engines include fastweb.com, finaid.org, and unigo.com.
If you are a New York high school student just starting your scholarship search, try Scholarship Opportunities on the New Visions for Public Schools website.
College Board scholarship resources
College Board is a U.S. not-for-profit organization that runs a membership organization which includes more than 6,000 colleges and universities. It is best known for its college entrance examination, the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test).
BigFuture (bigfuture.collegeboard.org) is a free College Board web platform that helps students explore careers, plan for college, and pay for college.
- BigFuture has a 'My Dashboard' feature for those who create free accounts with College Board. Save your profile and research in one place.
- Scholarship directory searches 23,000 scholarships
- Create an account to get matched to scholarships
Local public high schools list scholarships and financial aid resources too!
Some principals and guidance counselors have created lists of scholarships that work for New York City students and post these lists on their school’s website for students and parents to view. Scholarships for Change features local public high schools doing a remarkable job of posting college information, financial aid, and scholarship resources online.
Have any questions? Our team of online librarians is here to provide brief responses to short, factual questions. You can reach the Ask-A-Librarian service by telephone at (718) 990-0728 / (718) 990-0714 or by email at or chat during business hours.
You can also text the librarians at (347) 697-4667 - text keyword "ASKQL" in the body of the message from 10-4pm Monday through Friday.