Scholarships are available from civic organizations and community groups for graduating seniors, military families, non-traditional older students and many other groups. Your high school guidance counselor and the financial aid officer at your prospective college can help you with your search for appropriate scholarships.

Fill out the Pell grant application. You can access the application online at This is a prerequisite for most scholarship applications -- it demonstrates financial need and is the first source of help for most college students.

Gather applications from any available source. Check with your local library, civic organizations and conduct an online search at or

Organize a notebook that includes your applications and all supporting documents. Some applications will require letters of reference, an essay, short bio or financial documentation. Make copies of these papers so you can be ready to send out any application that may come your way.

Fill out each application in its entirety -- you don't want to be overlooked because you provided incomplete information. Pay attention to deadlines and the notification process and dates.

Follow up on any scholarships you've accepted with a thank you note to the appropriate entity.

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