If you've ever wondered why community organizations have so many pancake breakfast fundraisers, one reason is that some provide money for scholarships. Usually you don't have to be a member of these organizations to apply. In fact, many community groups sponsor scholarships that are open to all students who live in the area. If you are a college student, you may have two communities: your hometown and where you go to college. Don't neglect to check for scholarships and awards in both of these places.
How do you find these organizations? Many local government websites list them. Visit the websites for your town, city and state. Also visit or call your community association or center. You can also use the phone book to look up organizations. Some phone books even have a calendar of annual events that are sponsored by various civic groups. Finally, don't forget to visit the public library and ask the reference librarian for help.
Businesses like to return some of their profits to employees and students in the community. Many offer scholarships as a way to reward students who both study and work. Ask your manager if your employer has a scholarship fund and how you can apply. Some companies—particularly large companies that have offices, distributorships or factories in your community—offer scholarships that all students in the community are eligible to win. Check with the Chamber of Commerce for a list of the largest employers in the area. You can call the public relations or community outreach department in these companies to inquire about any scholarship opportunities. Visit the large department and chain stores in the area and ask the store manager or customer service manager about college scholarships.
There is an association for every profession you can imagine. Whether you want to be a doctor, teacher or helicopter pilot, there are professional organizations that exist not only to advance the profession, but also to encourage students to enter that field by awarding grants and scholarships. To find these associations, contact people who are already in the profession. If you think you want to become a computer programmer, ask computer programmers about the associations to which they belong. Also look at the trade magazines that exist for the profession since they have advertisements for various professional organizations. Finally, do a web search for professional associations at the local, state and national level.
If you've never received a personal "thank you" from large companies like Coca-Cola, Calgon, Tylenol or Microsoft, here it is. A lot of these conglomerates have charitable foundations that award scholarships. Companies give these awards to give something back to the community (and the positive PR sure doesn't hurt either). When you visit business websites, look for links to their foundations, which often manage the scholarship programs. Many corporations offer similar types of scholarships. What if you're a student film maker? Think about all the companies that make money or sell products to you from cameras to editing software to tripods. Are you into industrial music? What special equipment or instruments do you use? Consider the companies that will benefit from more people using their products and services. Some corporations also offer awards to attract future employees. For example, Microsoft, the software company, sponsors a scholarship program for student programmers. Be sure to investigate companies that employ people in your field of study—especially if it is highly competitive—to see if they offer scholarships.
Gen and Kelly Tanabe
Founders of SuperCollege and authors of 13 books on college planning.
By: Gen & Kelly Tanabe
The goal of The Ultimate Scholarship Book is simple: To help you find free money. Inside you'll find the most up-to-date and comprehensive listing of more than 1.5 million awards. An easy-to-use index makes finding the right scholarships ridiculously quick. And it wouldn't be the Ultimate book without a section of little known insider tips and strategies that show you how to actually win the scholarships you find!
By: Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Learn how to go back to school without going broke. This is the only book that shows you how to find the best scholarships for adult students, get your employer to pay, have your student loans forgiven and much more.