3 Unusual Tips for Finding Great Scholarships

A blonde girl looking through binoculars in the field.

Flickr user Andy Wright

You’ve gone the usual route for finding scholarships: checking online databases, asking your high school guidance counselor’s office or teachers, and talking to your future or potential colleges. Now what? Even if you only have a few scholarships you think you may qualify for, you may actually find a few more great ones following these unusual tips.

Check Locally

You’ve most likely already checked for national scholarships and even regional awards (northeast, northwest, etc) or state, but you may have not looked locally. This means within your county or even your town. You may be surprised! Your town or nearby area may have specific scholarships dedicated to within your city’s borders.

While you’d expect your guidance counselor to know of these, they simply can’t know everything. Call up your local boards (town, city, and county) and ask if they have any scholarships dedicated to the area. You’ll also want to check in with nearby libraries. Go outside your area and also check with the surrounding towns!

Look For Those Oddball Scholarships

You’ve checked the regular scholarship databases, but what about those “weird” ones? Everyone has different lives, talents, and passions and you may be surprised that there’s a scholarship that almost seems tailor made for you.

Some examples of those odder scholarships available are the Stuck at Prom Scholarship (design, create, and wear a prom wardrobe using Duck Brand Duct Tape!), Valeant Dermatology Scholarship (for students who are being treated for acne), and the Tall Clubs International Foundation Scholarship (for women over 5’10” and men over 6’2”).

There are plenty of weird scholarship databases out there so make sure to add them to your list! Several also have due dates for mid next year, so keep on turning out those applications.

Ask Friends of the Family

Your family most likely has professional connections, friends in other industries, and co-workers. If you’re able to, or you can ask your parents to, make sure to talk to them about scholarships available through their company or that they may be aware of. Many companies give out scholarships (like the Duck Brand Duct Tape mentioned above), so you may be able to find the right award or grant just by talking to a family friend. They may also have suggestions you didn’t think of.

If you don’t feel entirely comfortable talking to your family’s professional contacts, as they may be unknown to you or only acquaintances, ask your parents. They should be happy that they could shave possibly a few thousand dollars off your college tuition simply by asking their friends.

These are only a few unusual tips you can use to your advantage when it comes to your scholarship hunt! Use these ideas after you’ve used up all the “normal” avenues for searching for grants and awards. Don’t forget to look year after year too! Some scholarships will open up or be created in your later years of college, so don’t assume you should stop after you begin your freshman year!

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