How to Find and Secure Scholarships
Many parents who are getting ready to send their child to college are often overheard, muttering, “He better get a scholarship, or this college thing isn’t going to happen.”
Good news! There are a lot of college scholarships out there that your child can apply for. It’s just a matter of finding them, applying, and then waiting to see what happens.
Different types of college scholarships available
When a student applies to a college, the college may award them a merit-based scholarship based on their academic achievement or a combination of academics and a special talent, like sports or music. Most colleges automatically consider applicants for merit-based scholarships when they apply; others, however, require an additional essay or other requirements to be considered. Your child will most likely find out if he or she has been awarded one of these scholarships in his/her acceptance letter. In the meantime, they should also actively apply for other scholarships.
Scholarships geared toward particular groups of people
Many scholarships are geared toward a certain segment of students like women, minorities, or children of parents in the military. These can be found via some of the websites listed below or by searching the internet, newspaper, and publications or websites that cater to these groups, or by word-of-mouth. One caveat: watch out for scholarship scams. Before you apply for a scholarship or sign up for a scholarship service, talk to your child’s guidance counselor or call the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060 to make sure it’s legitimate.
Companies like to invest in future generations and that sometimes comes in the form of scholarships. Some companies might only allow students of employees to apply and others might open it up to the entire community. Does your workplace offer scholarships? Find out and see how your child can apply.
If you look around your community, you’ll find many generous organizations like churches, the Rotary Club, and the Boy Scouts, who want to help deserving students. Local businesses also like to support students from their communities. Next time you’re visiting or speaking with someone affiliated with these organizations, just ask if they offer scholarships and, if so, where and how your child can apply.
Local government scholarships
Scholarship listings can also be found under local government websites, such as the City of Boston’s Scholarship Guide. Look for these on your state's department of education or higher education website.
Other places to look for scholarships:
You and your child should definitely speak with their guidance counselor for advice on scholarships. This is something they deal with on a regular basis and will most likely have a list of resources for you to review. Some of these resources might include one or more of the following websites.
There is a new website/app in the scholarship space called Scholly that was featured on ABC's Shark Tank. You can register online for a one-time fee of $2.99 or download the app to your smartphone for $ 0.99. After entering a few personal details the app will return hundreds of scholarships that a student is eligible for. It even includes links to winning essays to help improve a student's chances of getting the scholarship.
Other helpful websites include:
The key is to “tune in” to all of the scholarship talk around you. The truth is, there are a lot of scholarships that end up going unclaimed because either nobody knows about them or students just didn’t take the time to apply. If money is an issue, then seeking out these scholarships should be a priority. Even if the scholarship offers just a few hundred dollars, every little bit helps!
As an FYI, you will probably have to play a leading role in this process since your child is likely already overwhelmed taking any last minute standardized tests, looking at colleges, and completing college applications. If you throw looking for scholarships on top of that, they might explode, and it won’t be pretty!
Good ACT & SAT scores will help when applying for scholarships
Obviously having good grades and a stellar SAT/ACT score will work toward your child’s advantage when applying for scholarships. We can’t help them with their high school grades, but we can definitely help them properly prepare for the SAT Test and maximize their ACT Test prep efforts. In fact, many parents come to us looking to increase their child’s score for this very reason.