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Finding Scholarships

February 26, 2014

By Judy Razo

Find the tuition maze!

If you have children in grades eight through twelve or in their first three years of college, your child should be applying for scholarships. That’s correct, from the ages of 14 to 21, your child should be applying to about 10 scholarships for every $1,000 of college that you would like paid regardless of how much Financial Aid you think your child will receive.

I know, it sounds like a lot of work and there will be many other things to worry about, like his or her GPA, AP classes, the SAT and ACT, extracurricular activities and even prom. But your child graduating from college with zero or no debt for either one of you will make it all worth it.

So where can you find all of these magical scholarships? You need to dig for them and here’s how:

  • Start local. Many community organizations and local business in the city or town you live in will offer scholarships. Start by asking around at your own place of employment or that of your spouse, friends, and relatives. These may not be huge scholarships but they will be easier to get and small amounts add up in a big way.
  • Go national. Start looking for scholarships from around the country. You can do a simple Internet search for “scholarships” or have your child sign up for scholarship search services such as College Greenlight, BigFuture by College Board, or Fastweb. These services are free and will match your child with scholarships he or she qualifies for, taking some of the legwork out of having to research the scholarships one by one.
  • Go for gold! Cheer on your child’s favorite talents by encouraging him or her to participate in contests and competitions using those talents. There are competitions for many talents such as writing, singing, dancing, sports, and even pageants, to name a few. Many of these contests offer cash prizes or scholarships to the winners—all money that can go toward paying for college.

Encourage your child to apply for smaller scholarships along with large ones. Competition for larger scholarships is a lot steeper than for small ones so the chances of winning a smaller or less known scholarship is greater. However, don’t shy away from big ones like from Coca-Cola or Dell either; you never know what scholarships your child will win unless you try.

Lastly, remember to let your child do most of the work when applying to scholarships but don’t leave it entirely up to him or her. Guide your child through the process, help him or her with research, and always proofread his or her applications. These tactics will help your child learn the process so he or she knows how to apply to scholarships on his or her own once your child has left home for college.

Good luck!

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