16 Nov

High School Juniors and Seniors, Start Your Scholarship Searches!

Scholarships and financial aid are NOT just for high school students, but getting an early start means your student will have the opportunity to apply to scholarships throughout high school and college. A huge number of organizations offer scholarships only to high school seniors, which means your student should prepare early in senior year (or better yet, even sooner) to ensure he or she has the best range of options. Remember, when it comes to covering college costs, every little bit helps!

Go Local

It may be tempting to do a quick search at nationwide scholarship search engines like FastWeb or College Board, but students should really be focused on the more localized scholarship opportunities. Scholarships available only to state, county, or city residents naturally have a smaller eligibility base–which means your student already has a greater chance of winning.

Me, Me, Me

Another great way for students to find scholarships with smaller applicant pools is to focus on what is unique about them. Even national scholarships with specific criteria are worth looking into. Students can focus their scholarship searches on skills, sports, hobbies, experiences, medical issues, intended career or major, or other personalized characteristics. In the past we have seen students apply for scholarships based on left-handedness, having a twin, photography, cooking or dancing skills, having a sibling who battled cancer, and various majors.

Beyond the Internet

Running a Google search can be a great way to begin a scholarship list, but students need to go beyond simple internet queries. In general, the easier it is to locate a particular scholarship, the more applicants there will be to compete with. Do some extra leg work to find local and regional scholarships that aren’t included in the results from popular internet scholarship search sites.  At the very least, students should also discuss scholarship opportunities with:

  • Their high school counseling office,
  • Their (potential) college financial aid office,
  • Local service organizations (ex. Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions), and
  • Local or national organizations related to their interests or intended field of study.

Further Reading

I am a big believer in the helpfulness of scholarship funds in helping to meet the cost of college. You may want to take a look at these other scholarship-related articles for more information about how to help increase your child’s scholarship-winning potential:

All the best,
Deborah Fox

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