Grants and scholarships for college are keenly on the minds of parents. The first part of this series, “Grants and Scholarships 101 for parents of college-bound teens” helps you get started, by overviewing the differences between grants and scholarships plus who will give your teen money. In this second part of the series, I will share how to apply for scholarships.
As you walk through these 5 steps, please keep in mind that these steps are meant to be repeated at least twice a year. I would recommend following these steps in July and January to best plan ahead.
1. Determine which scholarships – there are numerous websites that have listings of scholarships for your college-bound teen. Here are five websites which I discuss my likes/dislikes about each in the above FB Live video:
Other offline places to check may be your employer, credit union, professional associations and foundations in your local community.
2. Add deadlines to family calendar so that it’s visible and serves as a reminder. Also, your teen can add the deadlines to their phone so that the deadline is not missed. (see Tip #4)
3. Be prepared to write – Scholarship applications often require an essay (or two). If a scholarship application has an essay prompt, your teen must respond in a clear and compelling way. . . which takes practice and time. Your teen can get help with writing through a tutor, teacher feedback, writing program/camp, and reading for pleasure.
Good writing can help your teen stand out among other applications and potentially win the scholarship!
4. Meet the deadline – there are year-round deadlines for scholarships. That’s good news and bad news. The good news is that if you miss a deadline one month, you can always apply to another scholarship the next month. The bad news is that several of the major scholarships like Coca-Cola are one-time only. When the scholarship applies to a specific grade level, then you miss the opportunity altogether.
Make sure your teen meets the deadline.
5. Apply early and often – Many families wait until senior year of high school to start looking for scholarships. There are scholarships available for students as early as age 13. Yes, your middle-schooler can apply for scholarships that can be used for any college they attend. For a number of those scholarships for younger students, there is a wide age range which means that your teen can apply as soon as they’re eligible. If they don’t receive the scholarship the first time, they can re-apply the next year.
Now, do you get the Chicago reference in the title?
What additional steps should be included here? Please share in the comments below.
Author: Pamela E
Dr. Pamela has helped thousands of teens attend the college of their choice. She brings her 25 years experience in education to assist families, schools, and employers with college selection, admissions, financial aid, and more. Dr. Pamela holds a PhD from Stanford School of Education, and an MBA from Dartmouth.