Scholarships are sometimes called “gift aid” because they’re free money — nothing’s borrowed, interest doesn’t accumulate, nothing’s repaid, and they’re not an like an hourly wage.
How can your student get such an award? There are many different scholarships out there, and there’s no one place to find them all, so you need to go searching for them!
When to Start Searching
Do you have a high school senior planning to begin college next fall? If so, your scholarship search should be well underway. The same goes for your student if he or she is already in college.
When to Stop Searching
Different scholarship providers offer their awards at different times, so a single search won’t do. Students who land the most scholarships periodically conduct searches right up until they graduate.
Where to Search
It’s likely there are scholarship providers right in your home town — churches, civic clubs, employers, high schools, local foundations, labor unions, etc. Your student should ask the high school counseling staff for information it has on scholarship opportunities. Inquire, too, with anyone who might be able to steer you toward scholarships — clergy, members of civic groups, supervisors, union reps, etc.
Colleges use scholarships to recruit potential freshmen and recognize outstanding current students. Check with financial aid offices to see if your student need to do anything other than your FAFSA to be considered for scholarships. Review the website for your student’s academic departmental scholarships, too.
There are also national and statewide scholarship providers. Do Google searches and use internet-based scholarship search engines to find them. There’s no certainty that any search engine will yield scholarship opportunities for your student, but two that are fairly effective and reputable are Big Future by College Board and Fastweb.
How to Apply
What comes after locating a scholarship for which your student seems well-matched? Check out Things to Do When Applying for Scholarships for more information.
The most important thing is for you and your student to persistently go after scholarships that could help make college more affordable. What are you waiting for?
College Affordability Solutions offers 40 years experience in helping students secure financial aid, including scholarships. Call (512) 366-5354 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-charge consultation.