It may seem like the fall of a student’s junior year it too soon to search for scholarships but it is not. In fact, I often tell parents to start searching for scholarship the moment that your student enters high school. It is an unusual time to talk about money for college. Most parents and students are thinking that there are four years until graduation. While life is going on college acceptances are just over the horizon. It is true that the early bird gets the scholarship. The key to having a scholarship strategy that works is staring early. There are some parents who have a formula for success. They have a binder where they are already collecting scholarship information. They attend every scholarship and grant training session that they can. Each parent and student should consider finding scholarships a team effort. Start by meeting with someone at your local library. There are a lot of college scholarship resources in the library and there is always someone who is willing to help.
Did you know that there are billions of dollars in scholarships that go unused every year? Some students say it is too hard to apply for scholarships. That is why I tell all students to get started on their scholarship search early. Starting early is the best way to prevent each student and parent from getting overwhelmed. You should have different types of scholarships in each section of your scholarship binder. You can also have your own library of scholarship books and articles that you are picking and reviewing. There are thousands of scholarships on Google. You can search by college major and interests. Ask your student to talk to their high school counselor about scholarships that are available. The school counselor should have information that they are receiving throughout the year. Let them know that you are interested in receiving information and that you will apply
There are a lot of scholarships that are based on a student’s performance in high school. Each student should work to obtain the highest grades possible. Get a tutor right away or make arrangements for the teacher to meet with your student. The critical issue for each parent is deciding how to use each year as leverage against the rising cost of college. Look for small and large opportunities to find scholarships in newspapers and in magazines. Call local college’s financial aid office to find out more about their scholarships and deadlines. Call your bank or credit union to see how you can start saving and if they have scholarships.
If you are the parent of a 11th grade student it’s time to get ready for senior year by asking your student to obtain scholarship recommendation letters from their teachers. Create a calendar with scholarship deadlines and ensure that your applications are submitted on time. Don’t allow yourself to get behind. It’s easy to miss out on a scholarship because your application was not submitted on time. Use the summer to get ahead of the game. Ask your son/daughter to write answers to several scholarship questions. Some of the questions to expect: How will you use our scholarship to complete your undergraduate degree? Why do you deserve this scholarship? How will you make a difference in the world after receiving your degree? Remember grammar and spelling count, if a student wants to have their scholarship application considered.
Investing in your son/daughter’s education is one of the best decisions a parent and student can make. Start your scholarship search early so that your student has the flexibility to pay for the college of their choice. Position yourself to reap the financial rewards of saving pursuing scholarships. You will not regret your investment of time and you can have money to pay for tuition, room and board and other expenses.