As the parent of a teenager, one of the most enduring gifts you could possibly give your teen is access to scholarships for a college education.
Often teens are left to their own devices to search out scholarships for college. I would strongly encourage parents to be their child’s advocate, coach, and mentor in seeking out college scholarships and applying for them. Make time to go with your teen to the school career center to research scholarships for which they may qualify. The public library should also be used. Making the time sacrifice now could mean the difference in thousands of dollars saved over the college years. Committing to a serious and extended sacrifice of time could well turn into over $100,000 in college savings.
For seniors, fall semester is definitely the time to get serious on the scholarship search and the college application process. Most applications are due January through March. During the fall semester, you and your teen should make your school career center and your public library your BFF (Best Friend Forever). At this stage, you need all the allies you can muster. There are full ride scholarships available to qualifying students that will pay all expenses short of the expected family contribution. There are also scholarships available for students receiving the GED. What it takes is time, patience, persistence, and focus to search out these scholarships. Seek help wherever you can find it. The reward is huge!
Freshman year is not too early to begin a serious scholarship search. Scholarships that are available today will more than likely be available in three years. Beginning the search in the freshman year allows teens plenty of time to meet necessary requirements of GPA, community service, volunteer hours, extracurricular activities, awards & recognitions, and leadership.
And don’t forget the essays. Some scholarship applications require as many as 4-6 essays ranging in topics from what has been your most embarrassing situation and how did you handle it to share a time when you were proud of a friend or family member. As the parent of a teenager, you will not be sorry if you begin a portfolio of possible scholarships as early as freshman year. Work patiently and persistently with your teen, the school Career Center, and your public library.
Patience and Persistence should be a parent’s mantra during the scholarship application process. Your teen will give you many reasons why they might not want to apply. The reason I’ve heard most is they feel they can’t win it. Encourage your teen to always think positively and never feel s/he is “not good enough” to win a particular scholarship. If they meet the qualifications, send in the completed application and make certain to submit before the application deadline.