When you start exploring what kinds of college scholarships are out there available for you it's best to not just limit yourself to what you can find by searching online. Don't get me wrong! You will find a large wealth of scholarships online and you definitely should take advantage of these scholarships and apply for the ones you do come across that you qualify for. The problem is that there are also scholarships out there that are not listed online that can be found in your own backyard if you just do a little creative digging. As I continue my own college education and apply every year for new scholarships, I come across new places to look and new resources each time. Here are my top five best places I like to look offline to find scholarships!
1) Your College Financial Aid Office - If you don't go anywhere else other than here, this is one place you should always stop for scholarship information! For those still in high school you should be visiting your high school counselor for opportunities available to you. You will usually need to make an appointment with someone in the financial aid office so come to your appointment prepared with information that can help them determine which scholarships you might qualify for such as financial background, special interests, volunteer and or club/activity history, career interest, etc. It might also be a good idea to bring a copy of your current FAFSA so they can pull qualifying information from that if necessary. Your college financial aid office will have a wealth of information when it comes to state and local scholarships that you may not find online.
2) Your Employer - Many companies offer educational scholarships to their employers. It definitely is worth looking into to see if your employer offers these kinds of scholarships to it's employers. Don't forget to also have your parents check what scholarships their employers might offer. Some offer educational scholarships to children of their employees. If you or your parents are union members there could be scholarships offered to look into as well!
3) Hit the Books - One thing I did different this year was I ordered scholarship resource books in addition to my online search of scholarships. I actually found a great deal of scholarships in these books that were not listed online! I recommend investing in a recent year's copy of a scholarship book list or vising your library to see what hidden scholarship gems you can find!
4) Look Locally - Looking in your own community can be a great way to find some local scholarships, meaning less competition and a better chance you just might cash in on some fantastic scholarships for school! If you or your parents are members of a local area church or religious organization you can start there to see if any scholarship opportunities might be available. Also, check with your local Chamber of Commerce, community associations and clubs you or your parents might belong to, and even inquire within your local government for opportunities. Just remember it never hurts to call and ask!
5) Your Friends - Yes, really! If you have some friends that are actively looking for scholarships look at this as a way to work together and enhance your chances, not as competition! Plan to meet together once a week or twice a month and have each person bring some new local opportunities they came across to share with everyone. You never know what you just might find!
Do you have some great ideas on how to find scholarships offline? Comment and share!