Regardless of whether you can afford college, every parent wants their student to get scholarships. It’s free money that can help relieve some of the financial burdens that college puts on a student and their family.
As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to help your student as they look for and apply for scholarships. However, there’s a lot that you can do to support them.
Here are just a few ways parents can help with scholarships and scholarship applications:
1. Help Your Student Get Organized
Being organized is a crucial skill to have when searching and applying for scholarships. The process is tedious and time-consuming. Therefore, your student may quickly feel overwhelmed and disorganized and not want to continue. This is a great area where parents can help with scholarships.
The goal isn’t to take over but rather to support and help build organizational skills with them. Encourage your student to get a planner or a notebook. Better yet, have them set up a Google doc for scholarships with the name of the scholarship, requirements, due dates, and any additional information needed. This will allow you both to have access to the scholarship information.
As you and your student find scholarships, you both can add them to the Google doc. When your student submits an application, they will update the document. Ensuring both of you know which scholarships have completed applications and which ones that don’t.
2. Help With Searching For Scholarships
I recommend that you help your student search for scholarships. While this may go against the “don’t do it for them” thought, the benefits far out weight the drawbacks. My mom did a lot of searching for me and she didn’t do it because I was lazy or unmotivated she did it because she knew I needed the additional support.
I was going to school full-time, studying, working, and training in martial arts. My schedule was so busy. I just didn’t have a lot of extra time to search for scholarships. My mom was priceless in this area. If she heard of or saw any opportunities she would text or email me the link. That’s all I needed. Sometimes I felt a little maxed out, so I greatly appreciated this additional support.
The best way to find scholarships is online. If you need a starting point, here are 15 Websites For Scholarships Or Grants. Some of the websites will overlap in their information, but it’s still worth consulting each of them regularly to see if new scholarships are available.
Also, I highly recommend following a few Instagram accounts for scholarships. When it comes to social media, there are both good and bad aspects. However, one of its biggest benefits is connectivity. A social media platform such as Instagram allows you to stay up-to-date and get information quickly. Furthermore, following Instagram accounts that give scholarship information is smart because it reminds you to keep looking for them. Sometimes life gets so busy you forget to go to specific websites and search. Here are 10 Instagram Accounts Students Should Follow For Scholarships.
3. Help Them With Proofreading
Having a second pair of eyes proofread an essay can make all the difference. Poor grammar and misspelled words can make your student look lazy like they didn’t care enough to proofread and edit their mistakes. The last thing you want is for your student to be overlooked for a scholarship because they killed their chance from a simple grammar mistake or incorrect spelling.
Use spell check but don’t solely rely on it, spell check has its limitations. It won’t catch homophonic errors or words that are spelled correctly but misused. There are several good websites that you can plug your paper into for free and check for grammar and punctuation mistakes. I frequently used, Grammarly.
4. Help Your Student To Think Outside The Box
When looking for scholarships encourage your student to think outside the box. There are so many different types of scholarships. The two below are perfect examples of how different scholarships can be.
The Vegetarian Resource Group will award, one award of $10,000 and two awards of $5,000 will be given. Entries may only be sent by students graduating from high school in Spring 2023. The deadline is February 20, 2024.
The Tall Clubs International Scholarship will award, one award of $1,000. Entries may only be from incoming freshmen who are tall. Men must be at least 6’2 and women must be at least 5’10. The deadline is January 1, 2024.
Who would have thought there were scholarships for vegetarians and tall people? I’m sure if you can think of it there’s a scholarship for it. Do some digging and search around for unique scholarship opportunities because they will have less competition.
Parents, Think About Who You Know
Does your employer offer scholarships? Many businesses now pay for college for family members through tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement programs or tuition assistance programs are offered as employee benefits. Be sure to check with your employer or reach out to HR to see if this is an option. Your student may even get a job at one of these businesses to take advantage of tuition reimbursement. Here is a huge list of Companies That Will Pay For College.
If you are military be sure to look at scholarships for dependents of veterans. Check with small and local businesses as they are big supports of the community and may offer local high school students scholarships. Do you know anyone who is in the Kiwanis, Rotary, Elks, Moose, Eagles, or Optimist Clubs? Many times, students are not familiar with these types of clubs and almost all have some type of scholarship.
I entered an Oral Speech Contest put on by our local Optimist Club because my parents knew of a friend whose dad was in it. Here is the contest I entered, Optimist International Oratorical Contest. It’s a great contest to enter. I learned a lot about speech writing and public speaking. I believe the experience and what I learned, along with the skills I gained in karate are why I have no problem with public speaking. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the contest, but I did advance on in a few rounds which had a very nice paycheck when I did.
5. Help Your Student Fill Out The FAFSA
The FAFSA application can be overwhelming to your student. They have most likely never dealt with such a comprehensive application nor are they familiar with the tax data that will be required. I recommend filling out the application together. Typically, much of the information needed will be the parent’s information.
6. Help Your Student With Reminders
Every scholarship is different, and they will have various deadlines. This can make it difficult to stay on top of due dates. Checking in is a great way to help them stay on track. Email or text your student when deadlines are approaching to remind them to apply on time.
7. Help Your Student By Offering Encouragement
Your student may need lots of encouragement. It can be frustrating and extremely stressful writing essay after essay and submitting application after application trying to convince some mysterious panel of people that they are worthy of a scholarship—worthy of their money. It’s a lot of pressure. Especially, if they’ve applied to a few dozen and haven’t won anything. They may feel like going to college will cause too much debt or that they haven’t helped take the financial burden off of you, the parent.
Remind your student that applying for scholarships is a numbers game, you will apply to a lot of them and only get a few. Some scholarships will have thousands of applications. This makes the review process incredibly competitive. Those reviewing the applications and essays are looking for any reason to help them narrow down the winner. This process isn’t easy on a student. They may lose hope and start to believe that they will never get them—sometimes I did. As a parent, providing reassurance and support during these times can go a long way. Empower them to do their best.
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If you are looking for more information on how to support your student, Monica Matthews, at How to Win College Scholarships, has written two ebooks, a parent and student version of, “How to Win College Scholarships”. What I like about her approach is she wants parents and students to come together to form a partnership for the scholarship process. This is the best and most efficient way to search and apply for scholarships. She also has an amazing “Scholarship Toolkit Organizer” that goes far beyond the typical spreadsheet and is an essential must-have tool for all scholarship-searching families.
Here are a few useful tips on How Students Can Create Motivation For Sucess.
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