A guest post by Bobby Touran, founder of ApplyKit
Parents helping their children apply for college often wonder, “How can I help my child look for scholarships?” This is a great service you can provide both for yourself and your child. Scholarships don’t have to be paid back. This obviously means that the more scholarships you find, the less you have to pay.
Many teens are unaware of the cost of college, so you need to be active in encouraging your child to find scholarship money. Some parents choose to use a reward system with their teen. This could include buying them financial rewards like 10 percent of any scholarship money they receive.
While Your Student is in High School
Most scholarships are merit-based. The money is awarded to students who have excelled in one way or another in high school. To give them the best chance of being awarded a college scholarship, encourage your teen to participate in extracurricular activities. A student good at sports should be encouraged to join a team. A leadership role on a team, like being a quarterback or catcher, can be a significant asset when applying to school.
Make sure to check with local community groups and churches. Encourage your child to participate in these groups after school and on weekends. It will be good both for scholarships and general admissions.
Types of Scholarships
The most common type of scholarships are academic awards. Just like colleges, organizations looking to award scholarships look at courses as well as grades. So, you should encourage your child to take advanced placement courses during high school. Scholarships for sports are also quite common. If your child is athletically gifted, and was on a school team in high school, make sure to search for scholarships of this type.
Where to Begin the Search
The first thing you and your child will need to do is apply for Federal financial aid. Most scholarships require that you have already completed your FAFSA application. Make sure to work with your child in consultation with their high school. Guidance counselors are a treasure trove of information on scholarships. Not only do they know which ones exist, but they also know how best to apply for them! Many secondary schools offer scholarships for their students.
National scholarships are easy to find online, but the competition for these large awards can be fierce. Try to find more unusual sources as you look for scholarships with your child. One of the best places to look is at local businesses. Many companies offer scholarships to local teens, especially those that have performed community service. Local sports teams, even small ones, frequently offer scholarships.
Helping your child find scholarships can be a long, arduous process. But, it serves as a welcome lesson in finance, time management, networking and research skills. Make sure you work with your teen as you look for scholarships together. Best of all, this can be a wonderful bonding experience between parent and child. Remember these tips and it will be a rewarding experience for you both!
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Bobby Touran is the founder and CEO of ApplyKit. ApplyKit helps students manage their entire college application process and also provides key resources to help them excel every step of the way.
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