The key to finding scholarships is to understand that most are targeted for specific student populations. This means two things. One, if you want a scholarship, you have to be part of that targeted population. Two, the people providing the scholarship what to get the information to the targeted students, not necessarily everyone who wants a scholarship. So you need to adjust your search accordingly.
This means that scholarships for residents of a specific area are often filtered through local high schools. Anyone seriously looking for a scholarship should already be working with their high school guidance counselor. However, the counselor’s office will often be the source of many local or regional scholarships.
Scholarships based on religion are likely to be found through your church while organizations such as civic clubs will have information on scholarships for their members. Businesses will often sponsor scholarships for employees and their families or for specific professions related to their business needs.
It’s not that you can’t find out information about such scholarships from other sources, it’s just that you’ll have to have some sort of relationship with these organizations to be eligible to apply. Therefore, looking for scholarships with organizations you already have relationships with is a good idea.
Chances are that your biggest scholarship will come from the college you eventually attend. If you think about it in terms of relationships, it makes sense. Colleges have the most money to give out and they’ll be spending on students who attend their school.
For an overview of private scholarships, read The Truth About Scholarships. For a review of scholarship search websites, see College Scholarship.org, Free Scholarship Search Engines, and The Scholarship Coach.