What Scholarships to Look For
When applying for scholarships, the first step is going to the online scholarship search engines. This is a great place to start, but it’s also important to consider your roots. Going to the search engines is going to bring up loads of options – which is a great thing. However, scholarships are hard to win. Going towards search engines can often mean competing with hundreds or thousands of people with only one grand prize winner. This is usually less than a 1% chance of winning. This is why another approach is critical.
If you stick with entering the scholarships found on search engines, you do have a chance of winning a scholarship. However, you are much more likely to win a scholarship when you narrow down your choices.
One new way to narrow down your scholarship search is to find a specific niche of scholarship, or weird scholarships. There are plenty of extremely specific scholarships that pertain to only people who have glasses, have red hair, are 4’10” tall, and many more. By applying to these scholarships, you are increasing your chances of winning because you are competing in a smaller niche. If you are not that special, then there are still other ways to increase your chances of winning a scholarship.
One of the biggest, most overlooked ways to narrow down your search is search by location. By remaining local, scholarship rewards might be lower. There may be less of a cash award, but they are also easier to win. This means that there’s a better chance of actually being chosen for the award.
In general, people head towards the search engines, but community scholarships are almost always available. Due to locality requirements, less people are going to enter the scholarship. Along with this, less people know about the scholarship.
Since local scholarships are harder to find, there are a few pointers to help out.
Firstly, ask your guidance counselor. This only works if you’re in college or high school, but they are the most knowledgeable on local opportunities. They are usually kept up to date on what’s available. To top it all off, it’s their job to communicate with you on which scholarships best fit you, so scheduling a visit with them will be a big help. It seems minor, and they can have a stereotype of being unhelpful, but it’s always good to at least check out what they have to offer.
Another way to find local scholarships is by simply making a list of businesses you or your family uses. For example, look to a phone company, bank, cable company or doctor’s offices. All of these can be leads on scholarships. You can begin by asking if they offer scholarships. If you’re under your parents’ jurisdiction it will help if they’re near by. Sometimes their information is needed in order for customer service representatives to even talk to you.
With digital media this outreaching to companies is becoming even easier. Many companies have people to email. Some even have an instant messaging option. No matter the method, an employee for the company should know they answer, and if they don’t they can always connect you with someone who does. It will also help to seek out organizations that you have an established relationship with.
It’s also good if you have been working with an organization for years. An extensive history shows that they’re definitely a top contender to seek out and ask if they have scholarship opportunities.
While it’s becoming outdated, newspapers are also a good place to look for scholarships. For example, if your town has a local newspaper, there might be different opportunities listed there. The smaller the town is the more likely finding (and winning) a scholarship will be.
The last way is to look at a local college’s websites. It may not be your college, but looking on other school’s sites will help. They may have scholarships listed that your own school doesn’t even know about. It can help to expand the local search. This may be a state-wide scholarship or a county-wide scholarship, either way, it’s a great idea to look into these closely. A state-wide scholarship means there’s the elimination of scholars from the 49 other states. Not needing to compete with these scholars highly increases your chances of winning the money you may need.
Competing for a federal scholarship is still a good idea. There is still a chance of winning and it’s a good idea to continue to enter these competitions. It’s simply important to remember to check out local opportunities. When times get rough, or you just can’t win, always go back to your roots.