The number of scholarships available can be overwhelming! You might be going through scholarship lists and not know where to start. National scholarships with big scholarship amounts can be attractive. However, these types of scholarships will have a lot of competition. Consider focusing your time on the local scholarships. Local scholarship might have a smaller dollar amount, but they will also have a smaller applicant pool. Smaller applicant pools will give you a better chance of winning a scholarship! Therefore, the best way to find scholarships with fewer applicants is to look locally! Check out these nine places to find local scholarships.
High School Counseling Office
Many counseling offices have lists of local scholarships. In addition to the scholarships you might find on your own, your school counselor will know about local scholarships that are not advertised anywhere else.
Colleges in Your Area
If you are still in high school or already in college, check the websites of local colleges for outside scholarship listings. Many colleges have information about outside scholarships available on their website. Just like school counselors, college financial aid offices might know about scholarships that are not advertised any where else.
Many employers offer scholarships to individuals affiliated with the company or organization, including children of employees. Sometimes these scholarships are well publicized. But, if they are not advertised, check with the human resources department to see if there are scholarship opportunities.
Full-time employees are not the only ones who can receive a scholarship from their employer. If you have a part-time job, there are many companies that offer scholarships to part-time employees. Check with your supervisor or the corporate website to learn if your employer offers scholarships.
If you attend services at your church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious organization, there might be a scholarship available for you. Check with the leadership of the facility to see if there are scholarships available at the local level or the national level. For example, a church that is a specific denomination may have scholarships at the local, state, or national level.
There are many community organizations throughout the country that do a lot of good things in their communities, including providing or administering scholarships to local students. If you don’t know of community foundations in your area, do a quick search online with the name of your city, region, county, or state with the words “community foundation” following. Community foundation organizations vary throughout the country but you might find your local organization has a listing of over 100 (or more!) scholarships for students in your area!
Many local and small business owners love to give back to their community, including providing scholarships to local students. Think about businesses that you or your family frequent on a regular basis and ask if they offer scholarships. For example, check with your bank, credit union, doctor, grocery store, lawyer and utility company to see if they offer a scholarship. You can also check with the chamber of commerce in your community to see if they have a listing of scholarships offered by local businesses.
Local Chapters of National Organizations
Is there a national organization you support or identify with their cause? In addition to checking with the national organization, local chapters sometimes offer scholarships to local students.
State and Local Governments
Check with your city, county, and state governments to see if they offer scholarships. Many government agencies offer scholarships to local students. Don’t stop at the general government office, such as the City of [your hometown]. Continue your search to see if specific offices within the government offer scholarships. For example, check with the Department of Education, Parks and Recreation, and Police Department. Some municipalities will list all of the scholarship opportunities in one place, but others will require you to do a little searching around to find the opportunities.
Local scholarships typically have smaller applicants pools and a smaller applicant pool means you might have a better chance of winning! Check locally for scholarships so you can increase your chance of winning!