Mid-terms are coming and if you’re like me, you are preparing for one of the most important research opportunities of your academic career. Now, I’m not talking about a paper or a project; it’s time to start researching scholarships for next year. There are two times out of the year when you should begin looking for scholarships, fall and spring. During the month of October, many scholarship applications open up. Now is the time to begin this process.  As I begin this process myself, I would like to share with you tips to succeed while performing this task.

Now, you’re probably wondering where you would look for these scholarships. The answer is very simple: your school’s website. These are by far the easiest scholarships for which you can apply. Most of these scholarships have a common application which means you only fill out one application and it is used to apply to many scholarships all at once. These are open to all majors, so if you’re still undecided, there’s a scholarship for that. Most of the scholarship applications can be found either on the financial aid page or just enter “scholarships” in the search box of your school’s website. If you a majoring in a particular subject or have selected a major, you can look on your department’s home page. Many academic majors offer scholarships just for students of that particular program. These scholarships often don’t have many candidates because many students don’t know that they exist.

Another place you can seek scholarships is the Financial Aid Office or Office of Scholarships. Here you can speak to a counselor to see what is available and how to apply. They can help you with the application process and guide you in the right direction. You may find many that many of the scholarships are need-based, so also remember that you must fill out your Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA.) This form will determine your financial need for your school. If you have not already filled one out, you must do it before you apply for these scholarships because it may take a few days for your school to get the results. If you have already filled one out, then this is one step that you have already completed. The FAFSA is usually completed in the spring and is good for the entire academic year. The FAFSA requires income tax information from you or your parents, so the best time to fill it out is right after you file your taxes.

Did you know that NSCS offers scholarships? These are available on their website. These scholarships vary in amounts and many are open during different parts of the year. If you have just been inducted, you can apply for the Induction Scholarship. All you would have to do is look on the website,, and click on the scholarship tab. You can also receive scholarships for participating in many of the society’s contests and activities. Keep checking the website or “like” them on Facebook, there are always announcements about scholarships and other activities dedicated to our members.

These are just a few, easy ways to go about looking for scholarships. There are many other websites that are available to help in the search. Just be careful when you look at these websites. You do not want to sign up for a site that sends you spam or makes your private information public.  Happy searching!


Mark Belmarez is currently a student at the University of Houston where he is majoring in Business and Hotel & Restaurant Management. He is a graduate of Houston Community College where he received his Associate Degree of Applied Science in Hotel/Restaurant Management as well as his Associate Degree of Arts, both with highest honors. While at Houston Community College, he joined The National Society of Collegiate Scholars and served as the VP of PACE for the Houston Community College Chapter. He was also the Treasurer for the Student Government Association for the Central Campus of HCC and the President of the Omega Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Houston Community College. He has received the Student Leader of the Year Award for the Central Campus of Houston Community College, the Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarship, the Herbert Wilson Scholarship, and the NSCS Chapter Award.

Mark is very much the non-traditional student. He first started his college career in 1994 at Sam Houston State University, but left school in 1996 to work as a general manager of a restaurant. Fourteen years later, he returned to school and enrolled at Houston Community College. It is there that he found a gift for helping students understand the importance of filing a degree plan and only taking classes that they need to take. Since his transfer to the University of Houston, he has been giving advice to other community college students about making the switch from community college to the university.