If I could talk to parents when their children are beginning high school, I would tell them two things: Encourage your child to take challenging courses and make the best grades possible and help them to get involved in community service that they can pursue for the next four years. Of course, as an independent college consultant, I advise families on all areas of the college planning process, but these two bits of advice for students can make the biggest difference when it comes to getting college scholarships.
College expenses are at an all time high and will continue to increase in both public and private colleges and universities. But with college scholarships, some private schools can actually cost less than public universities. This year I have had students receive from $5,000 to 30,000 a year in college scholarships. One of the best sources for merit scholarships are the schools themselves.
College scholarships are available to students who have demonstrated considerable merit or financial need. Any student who feels that he or she cannot afford a college education should seek out college scholarships, because the funds are available for those who look for them. Scholarships are a great way to pay for college because you don't have to pay them back! Qualified students have a good chance of gaining a scholarship
Awards related to student employment can come from unexpected sources. For example, there are a number of scholarships for golf caddies. Awards are given in the visual arts, dance, music, creative writing, and theater. Audition or submission of appropriate materials is required. Awards may be used for tuition, fees, books and supplies.
Talent or merit-based scholarships are given to students who can demonstrate a specific talent or academic strength. Examples of talent include excelling in athletics, playing a musical instrument, or participating in community service or volunteer experiences. Recently, I have seen academically strong students with a commitment to volunteering receive some of the biggest scholarships.
You can also search for more unique scholarship opportunities to help finance your college education. There are many of them. Search engines can also scrutinize your credentials with the criteria to qualify for the scholarship. You should never pay for a scholarship service. Don’t sign up with scholarship services that promise to do the work for you. Nothing can replace the research and hard work that you do to locate and apply for scholarships.