When it comes to securing scholarships for your child’s education, businesses, school networks, educational institutions, and religious organizations are great places to start.
As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to help your child through the application process, from assisting them to figure out where to research to proofreading essays.
Here are more great ways to help your child find scholarships.
Ask Your Employer
Many businesses, especially large ones, offer college scholarships or grants to the children of their valued employees. These initiatives often aren’t widely publicized, so ask your boss whether your company provides scholarships. If not, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of resources at your disposal to help you find great scholarship opportunities for your child.
Speak to Key Staff at Your Child’s School
As an active parent, you’ve probably made connections at your child’s school. Now is the time to use them. Ask a key staff member you have a good relationship with whether the school offers scholarships or grants for graduating students. Even if it doesn’t, teachers and guidance counselors may be able to point you towards grants and scholarships you’d never find on your own.
Contact Alumni Organizations
If your child has his or her heart set on a particular school, contact the local alumni organization, and ask about scholarship or grant opportunities. Some alumni organizations offer scholarships to assist local students on their academic journey. If there aren’t a lot of locals attending your child’s dream college, the chance of securing this kind of scholarship or grant could be quite high.
Speak to People Within Your Community
Is your child an active member of the community? Their community spirit could be the key to securing a lucrative grant or scholarship. If your child has never joined community groups, there’s no better time to change that. Encourage participation, as the connections he or she makes could help secure college funds.
Reach out to people running organizations your child is involved with, like sporting teams and your local church. While local organizations don’t typically offer large grants, they could cover the cost of textbooks or the security deposit on a rental. These grants usually have fewer applicants than larger monetary prizes, so your child’s chances of securing one are pretty good.
Conduct an Online Search
The internet can help you find almost anything these days, including scholarships and grants for your child. Scholarships.com and BigFuture, part of CollegeBoard, both have searchable databases. These sites are handy because they make it easy to filter out scholarships that don’t match your child’s background or interests.
College-Scholarships.com also has a comprehensive list of more than 70 websites with scholarship and grant searches. If you’ve got the time, you can use these sites to find the scholarships and grants that would best suit your child. Present them with your list of relevant opportunities and encourage them to apply. Remember to include all relevant opportunities. A long list is a good list, as experts say that for every 10 scholarships and grants you apply for, you’ll probably only get one or two.
Organize the Information
Chances are your initial research returned a lot of results. Knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. Help your child get organized by compiling all the information, including application needs, essay topics, and deadlines in one place.
If it helps, you can work with your child to schedule scholarship check-ins between the two of you to go over outstanding items or completed applications.
Staying organized and getting your applications in early will ensure that you don’t miss anything essential and lose out on free money.
Let Your Child Do The Work
It can be tempting to step in and do the work to complete the essays and applications. But don’t do this! Your child needs to fill out the application and complete the essay on their own.
Truthfully, many people sitting on boards for scholarships have seen thousands of applications over the years. Many of them are well aware of when a parent has done the work for their child. The last thing you want is for your child to lose out on extra funding because you got caught doing the work.
Instead, be a support system to help your child through the process.
Brainstorm Essay Topics
One thing you can do to help your child through the essay process is to brainstorm essay topics. Whether it’s while you’re prepping dinner for the night or a sit-down brainstorm session, helping them come up with ideas that inspire them can make all the difference.
Once they decide on a topic they really love, you can rest assured that you helped them find a topic they’re going to put their all in.
Proofread Your Child’s Application and Essay
A good application and essay are essential for scoring the best scholarships and grants. However, careless typos and poor grammar can easily let an application or essay down. Sometimes students are too close to their work to see the mistakes. That’s when an extra pair of eyes come in handy, and you can provide them.
Offer to proofread your child’s applications and essays before they’re submitted. Mark any errors you find or places where the work could be improved. Make sure you also take time to praise your child for the work, so he or she doesn’t feel discouraged. Make sure your son or daughter understands that you’re simply making sure the application and supporting documents are the best they can be.
Be Their Support System
Applying for scholarships is time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes disappointing. Whatever happens, be a positive force for your child. Be the support system they can turn to throughout the entire process.
More importantly, be there for them if they don’t end up getting the scholarship and encourage them to find ways to learn from the experience. Then, show them how they can use those lessons for future scholarship applications.
Motivate Them To Keep Going
There are thousands upon thousands of scholarships out there. It can seem exhausting and pointless to apply for every single on that your child is qualified for.
Yet, there’s no doubt how important it can be. Those few hundred or thousand dollars can mean the difference between closing the aid gap. Find ways to motivate your student to complete all the essays you’ve decided on.
Motivation can come from anywhere: a trip to their favorite restaurant, extra tv time, or you cooking their favorite meal one night that week.
Whatever the case, given how vital applying for scholarships is, make sure you work together to stay motivated and excited about the prospect of more aid.
Keep a Calendar of Deadlines
All scholarships and grants have strict deadlines your child must adhere to. Ask for details of all scholarship and grant your child is applying for, Then write down the deadlines on your calendar. Follow up with your child to ensure all application materials are submitted before their due dates.
Your child will still need to complete scholarship and grant applications, but identifying good opportunities for them can ease stress during the transition to college. Helping your child connect to organizations offering scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden of their education.