Scholarships are monetary gifts awarded on basis of academic performance or other talents or achievements. Some scholarships are based on financial need, while others are not. Scholarships may come from a community or professional group, business, labor union, religious organization, or national foundation.
Community Organization-Sponsored Scholarships
Many civic and community groups such as Rotary Club, Elks, American Legion, 4H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Chamber of Commerce, PTA, and others offer scholarships and other assistance. Contact the various patriotic, civic, fraternal, religious, ethnic, social, and professional organizations in your community for more information.
Many private businesses and corporations offer scholarships or loans to employees' children or to students who live in the community where the company is located. Others offer aid to students majoring in fields related to the company's activities or interests. Personnel offices at some companies have application information and forms available. Check with online sources and scholarship search engines, as well as your local library for more information.
Professional-, Career-, and Trade Association-Sponsored Scholarships
Libraries have directories of scholarships and loans offered by professional, career, and trade associations in your proposed career or field of study. Also, ask your art or shop instructor, coach or bandmaster about schools and colleges looking for students with your talents. Scholarship leads also may be listed in trade magazines related to your special interests and skills.
National Merit Scholarships
The independent, non-profit Merit Scholarship Corporation awards about 5,000 scholarships each year. Students compete on the basis of test scores, academic and extracurricular achievements, and school recommendations. Taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in the fall of your junior year in high school will enter you in the competition.