At this point in the semester, most seniors are ready for a break. The problem is, it’s not time for one just yet. With admission applications out of the way, the scholarship search and application process needs to be kicked into high gear.
With college costs on the rise, it’s best to search early and often for scholarships because the competition can be stiff. Most parents don’t realize that students can begin applying to some scholarships in their freshman year of high school. If they begin the process early, and start racking up scholarships, that can take a lot of financial pressure off of senior year. Many students, though, find the scholarship search confusing and overwhelming, and they end up just doing the bare minimum of filling out FAFSA and submitting scholarship applications at the colleges to which they’ve applied. They aren’t utilizing all the resources out there, and trust me, there are a lot of opportunities if you’re willing to search.
Landmark 12 Consulting can take the guess work, and the grunt work, out of the search. Here are some tips regarding where to begin the scholarship search:
- High Schools. Students should check with their guidance counselors for scholarships awarded by local businesses. Oftentimes, these scholarships don’t have a website, and paper copies are delivered to high schools. And it’s time to apply to these local scholarships! Most applications are due between late February and early May, and you have a greater chance of winning because the applicant pool is smaller compared to that of national scholarships.
- Online resources. Websites such as FastWeb.com, FinAid.org and CollegeBoard.com can be very helpful. When searching, it’s important to remember that what makes you unique may be what scores you a scholarship. Look for ones that are geared toward your academic or athletic achievements.
- Community organizations. Students should check with any organizations they’re associated with because many offer scholarships. These scholarships tend to be small, which is why a lot of students decide not to apply (making it a little less competitive for those who do). However, smaller scholarships will quickly add up. And again, it’s time to apply to scholarships offered by local organizations and businesses.
- Religious organizations. A lot of religious organizations offer some form of assistance, and they’re a good potential source of college funding.
- College majors. When looking for scholarships at individual colleges, students who know what they want to major in should check for scholarships in that particular field of study. Because many incoming freshmen are undecided, this type of scholarship tends to be less competitive.
- Work. Parents, ask your employer if they offer scholarships for children of employees. Many large organizations do offer scholarships.
Need more advice? Landmark 12 is just a phone call away. Students have invested so much time and energy into the college application process, and we don’t want to see them cheat themselves out of tuition assistance by not investing that same time and energy into the scholarship application process. We’re here to help on this last leg of the college planning journey.