Looking to piece together your paying-for-college plan? Consider free money, like scholarships. These scholarship search tips and resources will help you get started.
When your teenager says that they are bored, share this suggestion – start looking for scholarships for their higher education. Scholarships are free money and they do not have to be repaid, unlike a loan. While your student has some down time, it’s a great opportunity to start searching for scholarships that can support their higher education without costing anything for your family.
Why start the scholarship search early
It’s important to start searching for scholarships early as some applications may have deadlines a year out from when the dollars are released. So if your student would like to earn these scholarships to cover their college costs for freshman year, then they will need to fill out the application the summer before their senior year of high school. Also, it takes time to do the research to find all the available scholarships for which your student may be qualified to augment college savings.
Before starting the scholarship search
Your teenager can prepare for their scholarship search earlier in their high school years, or even middle school. Besides academic grades, scholarship organizations put a high emphasis on activities outside of the regular classroom. So what is your student passionate about? This can lead to volunteering opportunities to add to their scholarship applications and might even inspire what field they will want to study for their higher education. Are there any extracurricular academic clubs that they have joined and any sports in which they participate? Do they work a part-time job to add to their college savings? Not only do these activities show off your student’s skills, but also shows that they enjoy challenges and have good time management. Many organizations with which your child might do community service, volunteer work, participate in athletically or academically, also offer specialized grants for individuals who have worked with them.
Tips for how to get going on the scholarship search
It can be hard to know where to start looking for scholarships. You can learn more by visiting Federal Student Aid, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Education. This is the federal agency for which you will fill out the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine how much federal financial aid your student will receive. The agency offers tips and advice on scholarships, including what other sources to tap for more information, including the free scholarship search tool from the U.S. Department of Labor.