Finding Scholarships for your Child’s College Education
While there are many ways to prepare and plan for the expenses relating to your son or daughter’s college education (see Saving for College), you do not want to forget about free money that your child may be eligible to receive to help pay for college. Scholarships are financial awards sponsored by a person, organization or institution to help fund the college education of a recipient. Scholarships generally have specific requirements that a student must meet in order to apply and are often very competitive. As a father, there are several things you can do to help make your son or daughter more eligible for a college scholarship.
While encouraging your child to do well in school is always important, grade point averages are not the only thing scholarship committees take into account when selecting a recipient. Many scholarships value not only a strong propensity for academic pursuits, but also active involvement in extra-curricular and community activities. Getting your child involved in community volunteer programs while they are young will not only teach them the value of serving their community and being an active citizen, but also increase their chances of getting those highly sought after scholarships.
To find scholarships for your child, there are several places that you can look. You can start by using free online databases that allow you to search for scholarships for your child. There are many such services available online and you should be wary of services that ask you to pay. Also, go to your local library or bookstore and look for books that detail specific scholarship programs. Another good resource is your child’s school guidance counselor. Guidance counselors often have knowledge of a wide-range of community sponsored and college-specific scholarships. They should also be able to point you to resources that may help you find additional scholarships.
There are also several places to look for scholarships that are often overlooked such as employers that offer scholarships to children of employees, churches, banks, non-profit organizations, clubs or organizations that you belong to, and even the bulletin board or Web site of the college your child is planning on attending. Scholarships abound and are readily available; however, a father must be willing to put some time and energy into helping and encouraging their son or daughter find scholarships that they can apply for.
It is important that your search for college scholarships begin early so that you are aware of all of the possible awards your child is eligible for. Your child may be eligible for college scholarships as early as elementary school! Many of these scholarships for young people are quite substantial. Therefore, it is important to be aware and informed of the various opportunities available to your child. A list of college scholarships available to children under age 13 can be found at www.finaid.org/scholarships/age13.phtml.
Another reason you want to begin searching for scholarships early is to provide your student enough time to develop their scholarship application. Since most scholarships are very competitive, if your child waits until the beginning of their senior year to start searching and applying for scholarships, they will not have the time to develop strong applications. If your child is rushed, they will be at a tremendous disadvantage to other students who have taken the time develop strong scholarship applications.