Parents: Partner, Don't Nag!

by Monica Matthews
(Jeddo, Michigan, USA)

Scholarships, every student wants to win them and every parent NEEDS their student to win them! College scholarships financially benefit both student and parent, so it makes sense for parents to partner with their students to help them win.


The problem is, students are so busy these days with sports, academics, community service, and part-time jobs that scholarship searching and applying often gets put off until deadlines have passed. All these things that make a student well-rounded also put limits on the time the student can spend finding and applying for college scholarships.

There are so many things a parent can to do help in the scholarship process. Parents can actively search for scholarships their student may qualify for and make a list of these scholarships. Scholarship searching is a tedious process, taking precious time away from a student’s study and work schedule. Moms and dads can accelerate this process by doing the searching for their student. Parents can make note of scholarship guidelines and requirements, such as what essays need to be written, word count limits and subject matter. Research into the organization offering the scholarship can be found by parents and passed along to their students. Folders organizing high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and scholarship applications can be purchased by parents and placed in designated areas.

When a scholarship deadline is looming, parents can present their student with all the information they have gathered and inform the student exactly what needs to be done in order to apply. Parents can be a second or third pair of eyes when it comes time to proofread each essay, making suggestions along the way. When the application is filled out, the essay is written, and all required materials are gathered, parents can help their students organize and get everything ready to be mailed or submitted online, making sure nothing is missing.

With so much of the scholarship preparation done for the student, parents will only need to nudge, not nag, their students in the scholarship process. They will have formed a partnership that results in more scholarships applied for and less stress for the whole family. The more scholarships a student applies for, the better chance they have of winning. PRICELESS!

Read more ideas and opportunities for Scholarships and Grants from other students and parents who have been through process.


Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Monica for some great advice on how parents can partner with their students to help them win scholarships. Applying to college, searching for scholarships and applying for financial aid can be very stressful for both students and parents. Treating this effort as a partnership is a great way to ensure success. Best of luck to you.


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How to Win the Best Federal, State, College or Private Scholarships for You or Your Dependent Student

by Olivia Dixon
(DeBary, FL, USA)

To: Parents of perspective college bound students: With the cost of a college education continuing to go up and the economy and wages remaining stagnant, the question of how you are going to fund your child's college education may seem difficult, if not impossible, to answer. This is especially true if your child is not gifted athletically, does not play a musical instrument exceptionally well or fails to score in the top 10% on the SAT or ACT. However, if you continue reading this letter, you will learn that while the task may seem daunting at times, there are some simple and straightforward steps to take to increase your child's odds of winning scholarships or grants.

The first and arguably most important step is to apply early and often. While this statement may seem obvious, the truth is that you cannot start applying too early. In fact, there is at least one scholarship where if you wait until you are in high school to apply, it is too late (Grauschopf). Additionally, there are numerous scholarships opportunities for high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

Once you have committed yourself to start looking for scholarships and/or grants, the next thing you should do is identify your child's special qualities/unique characteristics. If you do this, you may be surprised to find that there are several scholarships offered for those qualities or characteristics. For example, ScholarshipRed offers the chance to win a $250 scholarship if your child is a natural redhead. If your child is not a redhead, but is a lefty or a vegetarian or an excellent duck caller, then they can apply for one of the listed scholarships through Juanita College, The Vegetarian Resource Group, and the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest.

In addition to unusual scholarships based on hair color, eating habits, etc., there are also scholarships out there that are based on a child's hobbies or interests. So, whether your son or daughter is into skateboarding (Patrick Kerr Skateboarding Scholarship), surfing (Surfrider Foundation Thomas Pratte Memorial Scholarship), or has other interest, there are potential scholarships out there for them.

How about creativity? Is your child creative? If you answered yes to these questions, then have them look into scholarship sites where the applicant can create a video to win a scholarship ("Courageous Persuaders Video Scholarship Competition") or make their prom outfit out of duct tape (“Stuck at Prom”). These types of contests can be found at many different websites including scholarship search engines such as FastWeb.com, Scholarships.com, and CollegeBoard.org.

In addition to the plethora of scholarships that are available, do not forget to see if your child qualifies for any grants. Grants are distinctly different from both scholarships and student loans because you do not have to pay them back and they are primarily need-based, compared to traditionally merit-based scholarships. Students seeking grant money can begin by searching for grants by topic or by need, through the federal and state government, colleges and universities, and public and private organizations. A few of the federal grant programs are the Pell Grant program, the Academic Competitiveness (AC) Grant, and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART Grant.) The Pell Grant, created in the 1970s, is likely the most popular program of federal funding and recently the maximum Pell Grant award was over $5,500. The Academic Competitiveness Grant is available to undergraduate freshmen and sophomores with excellent academic records along with demonstrated talent for leadership and service. The SMART Grant follows the Academic Competitiveness Grant with $4,000 awards to undergraduate juniors and seniors. However, students must be studying computer science, engineering, mathematics, or sciences to be eligible.

State Grant programs are given to resident students based on merit, need, and area of study. In addition, most community and state colleges, as well as universities offer tuition waivers and other grants based on financial need. (Tuition waivers and grants are based on the FAFSA and college tuition waiver applications.)

Finally, many kids find it necessary and/or beneficial to hold part time jobs while in high school. If your child will be working while in high school, have him/her seek employment with employers who offer their employees college scholarship opportunities (e.g. Lowes, Chick-fil-A, etc.)

While all of the above tips/secrets are important for winning scholarships or obtaining grants, the most important thing to remember is do not get discouraged and do not give up. There are numerous opportunities just waiting for you or your child to seek them out. However, you cannot win if you do not apply.

Read more How to Win Scholarships Advice from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Olivia for a great summary of college or private scholarships in your essay “How to Win the Best Federal, State, College or Private
Scholarships for You or Your Dependent Student”. Check out our scholarship lists and deadlines for Scholarships for High School Seniors and Scholarships for College Students. Best of luck to you.


How to Win Scholarships Advice

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As a Parent

by Debbie Kirkendall
(Choctaw Ok )

As a parent we all want more for our children, and the number one goal we want is for our kids is for them to attend college, as a single parent money is a major issue. All I ever wanted is for her to achieve her goals and her number one goal is to work in Sports Management, her dream job would be to work with the Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Team or the New England Patriots and she knows college is her first step in achieving her goal.

Below are five hints to remember:

1. Don’t wait until the last minute; as a parent push them, help them, as a parent you can always ask the teachers to e-mail you if their grades are slipping you should start this their freshman year of high school. At the beginning of their junior year they should already be looking into schools they might want to attend and looking at the cost don’t wait until the last minute start looking on line at the free scholarships. Also in their junior year they should be taking the ACT and keeping their grades up.

2. Have your child talk to the school counselor, ours were great, but again your child has to do some work, writing and applying for the scholarships. My daughter was a soccer manager and a wrestling mat maid and yes they are busy but remind them of their goals. The counselor also made sure we all applied for the FAFSA it was great for us and it took a load off my mind so please apply even if you think you won’t qualify.

3. Apply and write essays, keep trying, don’t give up. In hindsight I should have pushed harder on the essay’s but, I backed off this is her life and it’s her lesson to learn. She now knows the cost of college and she will have student loans she will have to work to pay back but it is making her work harder to reach her goals.

4. Don’t take your education for granted, this is a big one, the one my daughter blows up when she see’s athletes, or just students that have a full ride and blow it. College is full of parties and fun but to throw away a free education is just sad and one day they will regret what they threw away and can’t get back.

5. As a parent I told my daughter if you want it bad enough go for it, it will mean more to you if you work for it, for nothing in life is free; all we can ask for is a little help along the way don’t be afraid to ask for help. The college has many forms of help financial, tutors, or there are just people there if you need to talk.

As parents all we wish for is our children’s well being and happiness.


Read more tips about available Finding Money to Pay for College from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Debbie for sharing your tips as a parent looking for financial aid for college. Good luck to you. Check out some of our scholarships below.



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