Seeking scholarships

scholarship Concept. Chart with keywords and icons on gray background.Your child has the chance to reduce the amount of debt he may have to incur if he searches aggressively and submits applications for scholarships while he waits for college decision letters to arrive.  Many scholarship deadlines fall in January and February, at which point they begin to drop off until the fall.  Check with your employer and/or union about monies for college that they may award, as well as with membership organizations to which you belong.  These entities frequently sponsor scholarship competitions open only to the children of their employees or members.  One young man I know won a $10,000 award from UPS, his father’s employer, in addition to smaller scholarships that he found online.

Your child can also win scholarships based on personal and family characteristics, the type of college or university he plans to attend, his intended major, and more.  Online search engines like Fastweb and Scholly have made it possible for students to complete a personal profile and then wait no more than a few seconds to get hundreds of results.  Giving your child information on any family member who has served in the military (past or present, including branch of service and wars in which the person fought) and on any union, social, or membership organizations to which you belong will enhance his search results.  Many students lack these details when they sit down to enter their profiles and miss out on valuable opportunities.

Award sponsors especially like to see that others have already invested in an applicant, so don’t hesitate to start small.  That $250 scholarship from the local rotary club could eventually lay the groundwork for something much larger than that.  Your child may have to submit an essay as part of the process.  Seniors can sometimes repurpose college application essays.  Even writing one from scratch does not sound that bad when you think of the possible return.  As Spelman’s Arlene Cash told me when I interviewed her for my book, The Thinking Parent’s Guide to College Admissions, “Don’t tell me you are not willing to write an essay—that essay could be worth $4,000!”

Feel free to contact me if your child could use some support developing those scholarship application essays.