Paying for a university or college education is a daunting task for each and every family, and like finding the right university, finding the right scholarships requires effort and time. Parents can and should play and dynamic role in assisting their children secure these scholarships; students are often too busy to give the scholarship search the time it is due without support.
By following the easy tips below, you will not be let the perfect scholarships slip by unnoticed.
Start early and organize:
Like applying to universities, if you do your research early, you will find scholarships that your kid will be competitive for. I advise students to research scholarships at least one year before applying. This way, students can obtain a head start on meeting the scholarship’s requirements and bolstering their credentials to be a competitive applicant.
Use multiple resources to find scholarship information:
There are $32 billion in scholarships available. With that in mind, the real question seems to be not whether one can secure a scholarship but whether one can get an appropriate scholarship. While the internet is a helpful resource in tracking down scholarships, it is not the only resource. Ask colleagues, as well as members of philanthropic organizations, civic groups and churches. Have your kid let his guidance counselor know that he is excited about applying for scholarships. This way, when opportunities present themselves, these folks will share them with you.
Motivate your child to apply
Unlike admissions decisions, where admissions counselor are looking for students to meet certain non-academic and academic criteria, scholarship committee members are free to select applicants whom they feel would benefit and help from the scholarship. So, even if you feel that your kid might not be qualified, scholarship committees could potentially find something endearing in his admission application, interview, or essay that would make him a valuable recipient.
Make it easy to apply:
While most scholarships have deadlines at the beginning of each and every month, there are bound to be times when you will find a prefect scholarship with a deadline in just a few days. Do not get discouraged! Instead, have the following ready to send at a moment’s notice:
Official copies of your kid’s transcript. Once your kid has received his fall semester grades, have him ask his guidance counselor or teacher for at least ten copies of his college transcript and keep them in sealed envelopes.
Non-specific letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselor. Have your child ask his guidance counselor and one teacher to make ten copies of a non-specific letter of recommendation. They will generally need at least two weeks’ notice for this, so it is significant that your kid let them know that he is applying for scholarships and may ask for these letters on short notice period. Provide recommenders with self-addressed stamped envelopes thus they can send these letters to organizations whenever needed.
A strong personal statement that truly reflects your child. As with college essays students should have a outline of a personal statement that reveals their unique traits. Once they have this foundation, they can simply tailor it to particular scholarship organizations.
Commit one day a week for scholarships:
Memorize, a scholarship committee cannot award a scholarship if your kid doesn’t apply. Of course, it is overwhelming to complete twenty scholarship applications the day before they are due. Like a marathon, applying for scholarships is something that takes nonstop effort. I advise students to save themselves the stress of last minute applications by committing one day a week to apply and research for scholarships.
As adults, we can support our high school students through this long process just by giving them a little push whenever they are feeling discouraged. The effort will definitely be worth it when they receive a Scholarship letter that reads, “Congratulations! The Scholarship Committee is happy to award you a scholarship!”