Tips for applying for scholarships and using SmarterSelect

  • Start searching for scholarships early. Check out our Resource Center for a college preparation timeline.
  • Answer all optional questions on scholarship-matching websites.
  • Use a free scholarship matching service such as
  • Look for local scholarships on bulletin boards in your school and at libraries.
  • Apply to every scholarship you are eligible for.
  • Read and follow the instructions for the scholarship application process.
  • Create an outline to help you write your application/admission essay.
  • Personalize your essay and be passionate! Write on subjects that you are knowledgeable about.
  • Proofread and spell check your application and essay.
  • Keep copies of your applications and any supporting materials.
  • Google your name and make sure you have a professional online profile.

SmarterSelect Tips

  • Select a unique email and password for your student log-in.  Please keep your information confidential.  We will communicate with you via email regarding your scholarship application, so please check it frequently.  If you forget your log-in password, you may reset it during the log-in phase however, we recommend using a desktop computer to complete this task.
  • After you have successfully completed the scholarship matching questionnaire, be sure to click the checkbox by each scholarship you wish to apply for.  You must click the "Save to my Applications" button to add them to your account profile.  Please note, you must also complete and submit each application form to apply for multiple scholarships (if applicable).  The information will pre-populate from one application to the next, however you must answer any additional questions or attach relevant documentation for select scholarships.  You must click the "Submit" button for each application to successfully apply.

  • Keep the required college/financial documents in a centralized safe location.  These include but are not limited to: Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), College Acceptance Letter, College Financial Aid Award Letter, and a copy of your transcript from your most recently attended institution.

  • Print off copies of all of your submitted applications.  We also recommend storing them in a safe location.  The HCEF will not be liable for any incomplete applications caused by transmittal errors, communication errors, or other submission conflicts.