When you’re searching for college scholarships, it’s tempting to fire up the computer and spend hours reading through scholarship websites. While the Internet is an abundant source of information, don’t miss scholarship opportunities in your own backyard.
Local organizations have money available for college students, but it requires some networking and creativity to discover them. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to find scholarships in places you may never have considered:
Does my employer offer tuition reimbursement or scholarships?
Many employers offer some form of tuition assistance to eligible students. Ask your manager or human resources representative to see what’s available and if you qualify. If you are a dependent student, your parents’ employers may have scholarship opportunities, too. If you’re looking for a job, ask when you apply or interview.
What clubs or fraternal organizations are in my community?
Social organizations often have scholarship opportunities available for members and their families. You may not have to be directly affiliated with an organization to apply, so be sure to contact local civic groups and clubs to ask about scholarships.
Is there an organization nearby that relates to my field of study?
Whether you’re going into business, criminal justice, education, healthcare, technology or design, chances are there’s a professional organization or foundation dedicated to your field of study. Many of these groups offer scholarships, so it’s worth the effort to ask.
Does my faith community offer scholarships?
If you are a member of a church, synagogue, temple, mosque or other religious organization, you may be eligible for a scholarship. Ask the leader of your congregation about religious-based scholarships.
Your local scholarship search can have benefits that go far beyond your city limits. Many community groups maintain close relationships with state and national organizations, which can offer networking, educational and scholarship opportunities.
Check the telephone book, search online for local organizations, and ask your friends, family and neighbors. You never know where you’ll find a scholarship.