Help with Scholarships

by Evinn

My Scholarship Broker: My Mother, Disabled Veteran - “Mother!” I asked, I am too busy working part-time, applying to college, completing homework assignments, participating in extracurricular activities, and of course, hanging-out with my friends, I need help with scholarships to pay for this college dream, can you help?

I do not know about most of you, but my mother is the closest thing to “Wonder Woman,” that I know. She reared my sister and I alone, as a single-parent, while serving 24 years in the military, therefore, I know she will help broker scholarships for me. My guidance counselor told me she has 300 other students needing her assistance too, so asking my mother for help with scholarships was well worth a try. Well it worked!

She immediately devised a strategy, contract of accountability, and timeline. As thorough as she is, my mother also investigated the scholarships, went to the library and researched, then each day, we would brainstorm for 15 minutes (this was clearly spelled out in the contract), usually between school and me getting ready for work. Almost daily, she would email me the essay questions, throughout the day, and usually by the evening or days later, I would have a response. Many times, she cataloged responses from other scholarships I submitted, so that I could tweak the language and recycle. She interviewed me to help me construct the outlining of an accomplishment resume, which helped me to formulate a plan for college and the rest of my life. She was beast! She found scholarships I had no idea existed. From the Georgia’s Fire Sprinkler Association to “Courage to Grow” and from Super Hero to the Google Generation, she identified scholarships from all genres and organizations.

Everyone does not have a mother like mine but surely you have an Aunt Sally, who is a retired executive or a neighbor who is a retired school administrator. They will love to help you with scholarships. They have so much experience and organization talent ready to be pulled out, at a moment’s notice. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

This is a gift that few students ask of relatives, neighbors, or friends. The gift of assistance in the scholarship search, no checks or gift cards but giving brain-power. So the next time a family member, relative, or friend asks you what you want for graduation, tell them assistance with your scholarship search. See what type of response you will receive, then get the contract ready.

Read more tips about available Help with Scholarships from other students and parents who have been through process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

What a great idea Evinn to ask for help with scholarships someone you know in your scholarship search as a “gift” for you. I’m sure many parents, relatives or friends would love to help if asked. Good luck to you in college and your scholarship searches.

A parent's time can be worth big money

(by Sharon, Kansas)

Money makes the world go round. It’s also a major factor in making college plans.

Not long after my son started high school, I started to think about college for him. It was not if he would go or where but how it would be financed. My husband and I had saved for college but with more than one kid to send to college our contribution would not be as much as we would like it to be. I wanted to try to keep my son out of as much debt as possible and so I decided to do this not with money but with my time.

Parents are always willing to share what their experiences were when sending their child to college and what I heard was it was time consuming. I work part time and thought I could carve out time for my son knowing what I could accomplish could make an impact on him for many years down the road. Sophomore year was when I started to get myself educated about college tuition, scholarships and loans. This was a great time to start because I was not under
any pressure or deadlines. I searched the internet weekly bookmarking sites and making notes. I had bookmarked folders full of information on scholarship search engines, scholarship sweepstakes, Stafford Loans, FAFSA and anything I felt was information we could use. By the end of the year getting ready for college was not that overwhelming anymore and my reward was a huge sense of relief.

So what would come next on my journey to try to find money for my son’s college career…organization. My searching for scholarships was a work in progress until I finally decided what the number one priority should be. It should be not missing deadlines when applying for scholarships. In my son’s junior year I started to go through the long list of scholarships I had accumulated looking for dates of when they were due. I set up a folder for each month of the year and would transfer each scholarship over to the correct monthly folder. This organized the information and showed how much work would be ahead of my son.

Up until this point I had my child involved by discussing his interests and desires but I was the one spending time searching. The summer before his senior year we started a routine to review the scholarships and determine those he wanted to enter. As with many teenagers he didn’t want to spend large chunks of time working on this so I made a deal. Every couple of days I would ask him for 30 minutes of his time. We would review what scholarships we could in that time and be done. Even though the list was long and it took awhile, it cleaned up our possibilities and let us focus on what he was interested in.

As you can see this process had been going on for two years and we were now at the beginning of tackling applications. This is stage two and it began with me explaining how to meet deadlines. I explained that he needed to give himself about a month to do the work and get any additional information he would need such as reference letters. I pointed out how he would need to juggle his time since he had commitments to school work and other activities. At the beginning of his senior year in September we started looking at scholarships with deadlines in October. It is some of these early deadlines that many students miss but not your student if you have them well organized. December is a very busy month and January will arrived before you know it. Take November to really assess the next several months. How many scholarships do you have saved, can you really accomplish them all and decide what your priorities are. Completing the FASFA will start also after the first of the year so lay out your game plan ahead of time.

Yes, I will say again it took a lot of time but it made me feel we hadn’t missed any major opportunities. Your time and experiences in life are priceless. Give them to your child and they will outlast any amount of money you have for them to go to college. Get moving! Don’t be passive! Get your child involved and make a plan on how this is going to work. Who knows how many opportunities and dollars may come your way.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Sharon for sharing your story about making college plans early and how to find money for college. It takes a lot of time to figure out all this financial aid for college, so starting early and getting organized for help with scholarships like you did is a great idea. Good luck to you and your son in getting lots of scholarships for college.

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