When it comes right down to it, local scholarships are the lifeblood of all scholarships. Local scholarships have always been here and will still be here when the government runs out of money for whatever happens to be its favored group of the moment.
And you know what’s really special about local scholarships? It’s all about you and who you really are. These local people know you and think you are worthy of their investment.
Local scholarships mean something. What do local scholarships mean? Local scholarships are provided by people who are actually spending their own hard-earned money on you because they believe in you.
Those who provide local scholarships don’t necessarily believe in you because you’re black or Hispanic or a woman or even because you’re left-handed or once attended a nudist camp. No, they believe in who you are today and what they believe you can become some day. That’s an honor.
It means something also because of what it is not. And one thing local scholarships are not is government scholarships.
Government scholarships are awarded based on what category you might fit into. What ethnicity are you? What gender are you? Do you have a desperate need for the money? The more dire your circumstances, the more you need us, the more we will give you.
In other words, scholarships that come from the government are rarely about merit. At least, it seems to be the last thing considered.
Consider for a moment the merits of local scholarships. Sure, they may not be worth as much as many national scholarships. The Pell Grant—the most common award issued by the government—can be worth up to $5,800. That’s a fair chunk of change.
Your local scholarships are generally going to be worth in the neighborhood of $250 to $1,000. Okay, so you won’t retire on that kind of money, but remember, financing all your dreams and adventures isn’t the purpose of scholarship money. Even $250 will help you buy some of those expensive college books. Every little bit helps, and it does add up.
The competition for these local scholarships will be limited. They’re local, remember? But that doesn’t mean they will be easy to get either. It just means you will be competing against some of your classmates and other relative locals rather than the best and brightest in the entire country.
Where do you start in your search for local scholarships? How about your high school?
Another good place to look for local scholarships is the company your parents or other relatives work for or any other local company that interests you. These companies often sponsor local scholarships for promising students.
Think about your extracurricular activities for more scholarship opportunities. Maybe there is something available through a sport or club you participate in. Or perhaps there are scholarship possibilities through an organization you volunteer with.
Don’t overlook local businesses and college or church groups. A trip to your local rotary club and similar organizations may be well worth your while as well.