Where can you find scholarships? Find out!

It’s no secret that a college education does not come cheaply or without hard work.  While the kids scoot off to some of the best and most demanding years of their lives, someone has to pay the bill.  Whether you are paying for your child’s education out of pocket or planning to take out student loans or another mortgage on the house, do not underestimate the value and availability of scholarships. From athletic to musical to academic ability, students’ skills and dedication could mean big bucks in scholarship awards to offset colleges’ rising tuition and fees.

Why Scholarships?

While loans, grants, work study, and paying out of pocket are a great start, scholarships should be thoroughly investigated as well.  Unlike loans, scholarships offer college money to deserving students that does not have to be repaid.  Also unlike many loans, and grants as well, scholarships are awarded not based on financial need but on merit.  Most every student and family could use a hand paying for college, and scholarships are a great way to have your expenses lessened and your child recognized for their hard work, academic promise, and dedication.  Scholarships are offered through the school in nearly every area of study, with guidelines for application that usually include a brief questionnaire and demonstration of the student’s talent in his or her course of study.  Some other scholarships require letters of recommendation and/or an interview.  Award amounts vary, some as little as $50 (which can help pay for textbooks), and some that can cover a full semester’s tuition and fees.  Scholarship awards do not take into account a student’s financial need or other aid received, including other scholarships, and there is no penalty or cost for applying.  Encourage your child to take advantage of the many opportunities presented by scholarships, which can greatly offset expensive education bills.

Can My Child Apply for Scholarships Through the College?

The ideal place to start your search for scholarships is right at your child’s college.  Each academic department offers scholarships and encourages all students to apply.  Have your child check his or her school-designated email account regularly for updates and application deadlines, as these scholarship opportunities typically arise in the middle of the semester.  There may also be announcements made in your child’s classes or via bulletin boards throughout campus, so your child can help find the scholarships that fit him or her best.  Depending on the major and college, there can be dozens of scholarships for which your child can apply.

Are There Opportunities for Scholarships Outside of my Child’s School?

Beyond the college, there are many ways for your child to apply for and receive scholarships.  Foundations and organizations offer a ton of opportunities for students based on their fields of study and other factors including military relation or service, work or community service experience, or other personal affiliations such as religion.  To find these scholarships, you and your child can visit websites like ScholarshipHelp.org, FastWeb.com, and Scholarships.com.  These websites offer lengthy lists of scholarships for which your child can apply.  Much like the awards available through the school, these awards go to the most qualified student based on merit.  In addition to these, your child may be eligible to receive scholarships from his or her high school, athletic organizations, and musical or performing arts training schools.  Keeping an up-to-date list of your child’s activities, awards, recommendations, grades, and community is key to opening the door for many scholarship opportunities.

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