Ah money...college... I think they are not the best combination created by humans! We all go through the struggle of finding ways to pay for school. Education is the best investment that brings profit for a long run, BUT it is very expensive. Senior year when everyone is looking into colleges and financial aid is a very stressful time. I remember receiving a post office box full of letters from schools that I never knew existed (if you are now tag me at #geekcherfozil on Instagram or Twitter). I would open them, learn about all the cool majors and opportunities that their campus has to offer. My enthusiasm would go down immediately when I saw the price tag. I work at the Admissions office for my work-study job right now, and I hear from the admission counselors about how the prices listed in the booklet should not determine your choice of college. However, as an international student like me chances of securing a need based scholarship was very low. Therefore, merit or essay based scholarships were the only options. Here I will provide websites and tips in improving your chances of securing free money.Tip #0. Fill out your FAFSA application before January 1, if you are a Green card holder or an American citizen.Tip #1. Start Early!Many scholarships have early semester deadlines for the following school year. Make sure to look at the deadlines for filling the application and sending required materials along with it. Some applications are paper based so plan ahead about when you should finish gathering paperwork and have enough time to mail them by the deadline.Tip #2. Go online.This one is a no-brainer. There are dozens of databases that have information about scholarships that are offered for every level of education and interest. These scholarship databases provide general information about eligibility and other requirements. Most of them also have direct links to the scholarship application or at least to the provider's website. I will include some sources that I use for scholarship search.Tip #3. Search in your community.In my opinion, this one is the best way of getting free money for school. Some community, religious or cultural organizations offer scholarships in exchange of some sort of service. Some even give you money for just being a good student! These scholarships are easier to get as they have smaller application pool and some committee members may even know you in person.Note: International students this tip is valuable even in foreign countries.Tip #4. Ask your parents.No... I am not saying asking your parents for couple thousands dollars and calling it a scholarship (that would be nice though!). Ask your parents to find out whether their employers or organizations that they are part of give scholarships. YES! This is a real thing. There are so many scholarships offered by private businesses, such as insurance companies that offer scholarships to children of their employees. You might actually have a higher chances of getting them as many people do not know about them. So make sure to look for those.Tip#5a. Financial Aid Office.This advice is different for people at various education levels. If you are currently a college student, stop by your school's financial office to get information about outside scholarships. Sometimes there are would be scholarship money available throughout the year as some previous scholarship recipients leave for various reasons. Also, I know that my school hosts financial aid workshops and maybe your school does events like that, too.Note: International organizations offer scholarships for students from specific regions or nationality. For international students, your school financial aid should be aware of these scholarships. If they are not a participating school, you can always initiate a scholarship program that will benefit you and your other international fellows after you.Tip#5b. High school guidance counselor.If you are currently in high school, I feel you. Scholarship search, application and wait time is very daunting, but I promise all is worth it. Think about it as more scholarships leads to less student loans. Usually guidance counselors receive booklets about scholarships from national to local organizations. They are the greatest source of information. Also, don't limit yourself just your counselor, ask your teachers and even your coach if you are an athlete.Note: Many national and regional scholarships require permanent residency or citizenship; therefore, for international folks first read the requirements before applying. Some may not specifically list citizenship requirement on their scholarship page, but mention it under the official rules and conditions.Wow! I came out with a lot more information than I though I could come up with. Lets dive into actual list of scholarship databases. I am sharing only the ones that I like and I believe there are a lot more databases than listed here. Most of the databases let you complete your profile and try to match you with the scholarships that you might qualify for.I. Cappexscholarships.comThis site is my favorite one by far because it shows all the information about the scholarship and even the size of the applicant pool. Once you reach certain level of scholarship guru status, you become eligible to apply for scholarships offered by Cappex company that are available for only people at the same level as you.II. Fastweb.comThis website is sponsored by big companies and you can collect points by signing up to their email list and complete simple tasks. You are able to collect points for each task and later you can enter sweepstakes for a chance to win scholarships as much as $10,000!III. Studentaid.ed.govSince the domain is .gov it is possibly contains information about national scholarships that may require a US citizenship.IV. Collegepaystn.comThis website is for grants available for students residing in Tennessee.V. Collegeboard.comThis is the same website where you register for SAT and CLEP exams.VI. Schoolsoup.comVII. Collegenet.comVIII. Campusexplorer.comIX. Studentscholarships.orgX. Collegeforth.orgXI. Zinch.com/scholarshipsXII. Petersons.comXIII. Gocollege.comXIV. Scholarships.comXV. Scholarshipexperts.comXVI. Scholarshipamerica.orgXVII. Collegexpress.comXVIII. Moolahspot.comXIX. Scholarshipsandgrants.usXX. Scholarshipmonkey.comHuhh... (wiping sweat off my forehead). That was a lot of typing and research you guys. Alright! I have included everything that I knew about applying for scholarships. Hope you enjoyed reading this article (I know it is a little bit long, but hey research type is worth it) and good luck on your scholarships hunt journey!Cheers,GeekCherFozilP.S. For international folks if you want me to include databases specifically for international education let me know.