Searching for a Scholarship

The earlier you start this process, the better your chances of succeeding. Successful candidates begin the application process as early as the freshman year of high school by formulating a competitive strategy. High school guidance counselors are typically the best resource for private scholarship information.

Start locally and then go national. Local churches, employers, credit unions and civic organizations offer several scholarship opportunities. Organizations love to recognize members of their own community with scholarship awards. Since these awards typically have a smaller application pool, they are often less competitive than national scholarships.

The internet can be a great resource for researching scholarship opportunities; however, you must know the warning signs to avoid potential scholarship scams. It is best to search websites that have web addresses ending in .org or .edu. While there are many legitimate .com sites, keep in mind that anyone has the ability to create one. All scholarships -- whether awarded by CNU or an outside office -- must be included as a resource when considering your eligibility for financial aid. In some cases, being awarded a scholarship will cause your eligibility for need-based financial aid to change. If this happens, CNU makes every effort to reduce loans and work study before reducing grants.

Every major at CNU is housed in an academic department, which itself is part of either the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, the College of Social Sciences or the Luter School of Business. Think of your academic department as the base camp for your scholarship exploration. Many academic departments offer their own scholarships in addition to scholarships from the University or external sources. Contact your department directly to for more information.

Many private scholarships are offered each year by a variety of corporate, professional, trade, government, civic, religious, social and fraternal organizations. These scholarships can range in amount from small honorariums to thousands of dollars. To be considered, students must meet the eligibility criteria specified by the private donor or sponsor and complete a scholarship application (if required).

Searching for and applying for private scholarships can be a time-consuming process, so it is a good idea to start as early as possible. Prospective students should begin as early as two years before admission to the university. Breaks from school provide good opportunities to spend time on your search.

CNU policy requires that all scholarship awards be disbursed twice, half in the fall semester and the other half in the spring semester unless otherwise specified by the Scholarship Donor.

For more information on private scholarships, including free scholarship searches, please visit:

Bigfuture by The College Board

The College Board's scholarship search.


Find scholarships to help you pay for school.

Federal Student Aid: An Office of the U.S. Department of Education

A source for finding and applying for scholarships.


A guide to financial aid.

Scholarship Sharing

A nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students from Virginia & Washington D.C. find resources to help them pay for college.

Consider prestigious scholarships in your search and application process.

Visit the App Store (iOS) or Google Play for tools like Scholly that will help you locate scholarships.

NOTE: The resources provided above are not sponsored by CNU. Questions regarding the above scholarships should be directed to the agency associated with the scholarship of interest.

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