Nadir says: I don't like filling out forms. Come on, nobody likes filling out forms. The truth is that looking for scholarships felt like going out of my way to make more work for myself. More applications! More essays! Great.
I kept myself going by thinking about the fact that I wasn't working for free. I knew that if I was awarded even one of the scholarships that I applied for, then the hours I spent on those applications would pay off. I'd rather earn a scholarship than take out a bigger loan.
Scholarships are grants of money awarded to students, usually based on academic merit or financial aid. There are also other types of scholarships, including athletic scholarships and scholarships based on membership in a specific group (such as a specific religion or ethnicity). Like other kinds of grants, scholarships do not need to be paid back.
Scholarships can be a very important part of your financial aid package, if you are willing to find ones that you're eligible for and apply for them. Some schools automatically consider you for scholarships when you apply to them, but you can get more money by finding and applying to scholarships yourself!
In some cases, a scholarship requires the recipient to keep meeting some kind of standard in order to keep receiving funds, such as maintaining a high grade-point average or playing a college sport. Grants do not usually have these kind of after-the-fact requirements.
The truth is that there's a lot of overlap between these two kinds of financial aid. Some scholarships are basically just grants, and some grants may have continuing eligibility requirements. Whether you're applying for a grant, a scholarship or a loan, you should always read the details of any financial aid award very carefully.
This is not a complete list of scholarship resources. Not even close. But it is a place to get started. If you don't see information here about scholarships that you might qualify for, don't give up. There are lots of resources out there! Here are a few further places to look for help:
Finally, remember that just because you don't qualify for a scholarship right now does not mean that you won't next semester or next year. Many scholarships have minimum GPA requirements, or require that you be enrolled in college full-time, or that you be pursuing a specific major. That kind of stuff isn't set in stone! It's a good idea to take notes on scholarships even if you don't plan to apply for them... yet.
The Arizona Community Foundation is a private organization that oversees dozens of scholarship and educational grant programs. There are so many that they created a separate website specifically to let you sort through them. Use the search tab to narrow things down based on your GPA, college major, or keywords that describe what you're looking for.
The University of Arizona recently launched "Scholarship Universe," a search engine that asks you questions and determines which UA scholarships you are eligible for. The UA also maintains a page linking to dozens of free scholarship search tools, including several that focus on scholarships for Arizona residents.
Arizona State University has a search engine of their own, focusing on scholarships for ASU students. Some ASU scholarships aren't listed in this search tool, so make sure to also check the list of scholarships available from each ASU college.
Scholarships for specific groups
You can find links to scholarships for specific student groups on these pages (these links are also in the menu at the top of every page under "College Costs" > "Finding Scholarships").