It may seem like the fall of a student’s junior year is too early to be looking for scholarships, but it’s not. In fact, I often tell parents to start looking for a scholarship the moment their student enters high school. It’s an unusual time to be talking about money for college. Most parents and students think graduation is four years away. As life goes on, college acceptances are on the horizon. It is true that the early riser gets the scholarship. The key to having a scholarship strategy that works is to start early. There are some parents who have a formula for success. They have a folder where they are already collecting information on scholarships. They attend as many scholarship and grant training sessions as they can. Every parent and student should consider finding scholarships as a team effort. Start by meeting with someone at your local library. There are many college scholarship resources in the library and there is always someone willing to help.
Did you know that there are billions of dollars in scholarships that go unused every year? Some students say that it is too difficult to apply for scholarships. This is why I tell all students to start your scholarship search early. Starting early is the best way to prevent each student and parent from feeling overwhelmed. You should have different types of scholarships in each section of your scholarship folder. You may also have your own library of scholarship books and articles that you are curating 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 available scholarships. The school counselor should have the information they are receiving throughout the year. Let them know that he is interested in receiving information and will be applying
There are many scholarships that are based on a student’s performance in high school. Each student must work to earn the highest grades possible. Get a tutor right away or arrange for the teacher to meet with your student. The critical issue for every parent is deciding how to use each year as leverage against the rising cost of college. Look for small and large scholarship opportunities in newspapers and magazines. Call your local college financial aid office for more information about your scholarships and deadlines. Call your bank or credit union to see how you can start saving and if they have scholarships.
If you’re the parent of an 11th grader, it’s time to prepare for senior year by asking your student to get scholarship letters of recommendation from their teachers. Create a calendar with scholarship deadlines and make sure your applications are submitted on time. Don’t let yourself be left behind. It’s easy to miss out on a scholarship because your application wasn’t submitted on time. Use the summer to get ahead of the game. Ask your son/daughter to write the answers to various questions about scholarships. Some of the questions to look forward to: How will you use our scholarship to complete your college degree? Why do you deserve this scholarship? How will you make a difference in the world after receiving your degree? Remember that grammar and spelling count, if a student wishes 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 your student has the flexibility to pay for the college of their choice. Position yourself to reap the financial rewards of saving for scholarships. You won’t regret your investment of time, and you may have money to pay for tuition, room and board, and other expenses.