In our article, How Do I Begin my Scholarship Search?, we recommended you personalize your scholarship search for better results. This starts by creating a personal inventory where you identify areas from your life that might lead to scholarships.

You can put almost anything from your background on your personal inventory. However, not everything you list will help you find a scholarship. The inventory is to help you generate ideas of where to look. Keep it updated as things change.

Once you’ve created a personal inventory, now what? Let’s review a few ways you can use your personal inventory.

One thing you might include is your intended career path. Let’s pretend you plan to be a certified public accountant (CPA). Here are possible places to look for scholarships based on this one item.

Use a Search Engine

Use a search engine, like Google, to find scholarships specific to future CPAs, or even students enrolled in an accounting degree. As you enter search words, change them around for different results. For example, enter “CPA scholarship,” “scholarship for accountant” or “accounting scholarship.” Also, look for general business scholarships. Include your gender, ethnicity or state of residence for more specific results.

As you do, you’ll find organizations offering scholarships to students like you. You might also locate websites with scholarship lists categorized for accounting students. Also, check out the related searches to find other possible options. You can even try using an online scholarship search site.

Ask Around

If you already work in the industry, ask people (e.g., co-workers, supervisors, HR department, etc.) if they know of organizations, such as professional associations, that offer scholarships. As you learn about possibilities, follow up with organizations to see if they offer scholarships.

Check an organization’s website to see if they provide scholarships. You’ll need to dig around as every website is different. Some companies offer their scholarships through their foundation. If it’s a local scholarship, information might not be on a website. But, it might be on their social media page. Also, feel free to call and ask them directly.

Check the University’s List

As we learn about scholarships, we add them to our external scholarship list. This list is divided into national and local. Under national, scholarships are categorized based on the criteria. For example, scholarships for accounting students are under business, which includes scholarships for all types of business students. We’d also recommend looking under your state in the local section to identify possible local scholarships.

Although our example focused on a specific career path, use these same search options for the items on your personal inventory. As you find opportunities, save the details (e.g., name, website, deadline, etc.) on a tracking list so you can find it again. Remember to check the criteria to make sure you’re eligible. Although a scholarship might show up on your initial search, you might also have to be a minority or have a certain GPA. Only apply for scholarships for which you meet 100% of the criteria.

If you have questions, contact your advisor or the scholarship department at

Center for Scholarship Excellence

University of Phoenix