As a parent of a college bound child, you are probably well aware of how much burden student loans can be once your child graduates and joins the workforce. Searching for scholarships while your child is still in high school can help minimize the amount of your child’s overall college tuition. However, to actually win scholarship awards, there are certain ways your child can maximize his/her potential. Below we’ve highlighted seven actionable tips for high school scholarship seekers.
Use Scholarship Matching Tools
When searching for high school scholarships, there are sites such as Scholly, Unigo, Cappex, NSHSS, and Fastweb that can be of great help when looking for the latest opportunities. Essentially, these sites provide you with the best-suited scholarships for your child. Make sure your child reads through the scholarship rules provided before she applies
Naturally, she should focus on a scholarship that matches her grades and requisites for the application. For instance, if the scholarship has an inclination towards volunteerism, encourage her tonot apply if she’s never been involved in community volunteer work.
Start Your Search Early
You do not have to wait until your child’s final year of high school to apply for a scholarships. Most of those who get scholarships are those who have done an extensive research on a particular scholarship and know what is expected. Those awarding the scholarship will be impressed by highly motivated students. In addition, it shows you not only want the scholarship, but your child know the value of the scholarship.
Make Sure Your Child Articulates Her Abilities By Writing an Outstanding Essay
If the scholarship she seeks requires her to write an essay on a certain topic, do not shy away. Have her do the extensive research on the topic an. If she’s feeling nervous about her abilities, have her talk to the guidance counselor at her school to help her develop a unique angle for her essay. As she writes, she’ll not only practice her writing skills but begin to get the gist of why the scholarship is important to her and the value it will bring to her college education.
Look Beyond High School Grades
Not all scholarships require that your child has a 3.5+ GPA to qualify. There are scholarships that consider talent and contributors over grades. In such cases, find out what unique talent your child brings to the table that will earn him that scholarship.
For instance, he may have leadership skills, volunteered for a local cause, or excel as an athlete. In turn, not only can he find opportunities that focus on these non-academic achievements, but he can also highlight these attributes in his application. Remind him to not just mention the unique skill that he has. Be sure to portray how he has applied his skills over his years in high school. Furthermore, he can use recommendations from his teachers, coaches, pastor, High School counselor as well as community members who know him well.
Join Academic Student Organizations
There are academic-based student groups and reputable honor societies that can be of great help and boost chances of getting a scholarship. Examples include the Science National Honor Society (SNHS), National Art Honor Society (NAHS), Tri-M (Music), and the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). The high achievers in these organizations have great access to scholarships and awards.
If your child has a talent in music, have her join an academic based student group that will foster this dream and enable her to get a scholarship. If she is into science, have her join an organization while in high school that provides exposure for this.
Networking is a good way to find scholarships that are not mentioned in scholarship advertisements. For instance, the company you work for maybe providing scholarships for family members. Make inquiries with your employer’s human resources department, as many business offer scholarship awards. All you need to do is get information on the rules and regulations for your child to apply for these scholarship. These requirements may be grade point average, extracurricular involvement, or sports based scholarship.
Attach All Required Scholarship Application Materials
If there are documents required during the scholarship application, it means they are mandatory. These documents include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays, among others. Make sure these are mailed in or uploaded based on the application instructions. Have your child read the required application materials thoroughly to ensure a complete submission.
Finally, for certain scholarships it may be necessary for your child to polish her interview skills. Make sure she dresses appropriately for the interview. Often times this means business casual attire. Have her practice interviewing with a friend or a family member. Encourage her to be herself, express herself freely during the interview, and make sure her responses are in line with what she wrote in her application. Good luck and congratulations on having a kiddo that’s heading to college!