College can be extremely expensive even if you plan to go to a public school. Tuition can easily be upwards of 10 - 40K a year and if you plan to pursue a career that requires additional schooling like a masters, phd, MD etc etc, your student debt can definitely add up. So, here are my Top 5 places to look for scholarships to pay for college.

#1 College and Career Office Counselors: Counselors are constantly mailed and emailed information and applications for various scholarship opportunities and often times we may keep the hard copies in a file cabinet. Ask your counselor or college and career specialist if a file cabinet exists and periodically check to see if there are new opportunities. Sometimes if it’s a local scholarship and the deadline is coming up I may post it in my office or on my door for students to see.

#2 Naviance: As technology continues to evolve more and more schools are going digital with disseminating information. A number of schools that I’ve work at use Naviance, a subscription based software system that provides college and career planning tools as well as links to apply to various scholarship opportunities. It’s all done online, so just login with your credentials and surf away to see what scholarships you may qualify for and it’s not limited to students with the highest GPA. There are community service based scholarships, scholarships for being Tall (yes it’s a real scholarship), essay scholarships based on a particular theme, Asians pursuing journalism and the list goes on and on.

#3 Parents Employment: Many organizations have scholarships for employees dependents. This is a great way to get money because the competition pool is limited to students who are children of the employee, and some of these employees may not have kids at all - so your odds are definitely in your favor.  So ask your parents to be on the lookout!

#4 Fastweb and Fastweb and are both websites where you plug in your backgrounds stats (such as, ethnicity, career, gpa, etc) and they tailor the scholarships that meet your credentials. This is a great way to sort through a bunch of scholarships and apply to the ones that fit your unique profile.

#5 USPAA: There’s a website called the USPAA short for Undergraduate Scholarship Program Administrators Association, where they link information on full ride and generous scholarship opportunities. Now these scholarship are definitely geared towards the all around super stars, and rightly so as you’re basically getting a free or near free education. Some of these scholarships do have a separate application process so be sure to read all the details carefully so you don’t miss out.

Do you have a tip that I didn’t mention? Leave a comment below to share.