(Family Features) Winning a scholarship can be as competitive as gaining entrance to the college of your teen’s choice. While academic performance, extracurricular activities and character all matter, their success often boils down to discovering scholarships that fit their credentials and properly promoting your teen’s accomplishments.
These tips will help your teen prepare scholarship applications that get them noticed – and could earn them some extra cash to pay for school.
1. Leverage relationships and seek nontraditional opportunities. There are a lot of scholarships out there, and the wider they cast their net the greater your teen’s chances are of winning. In addition to traditional avenues such as a basic online search and checking the bulletin board outside the financial aid office, reach out to your network. Have them ask family and friends about scholarships offered by the companies they work for and organizations they belong to. You may be surprised by all the organizations that offer assistance to deserving students. Other unexpected sources of scholarship funds may include cultural or religious groups, civic and philanthropic groups in your community, and professional groups or businesses in the field you plan to study. Many banks also handle special trusts or funds with scholarship provisions.
2. Showcase your passion, talent and potential. A compelling essay gives scholarship judges insight into what makes them special and unique. If your teen and another candidate are tied in objective criteria, such as grades, a well-written narrative can set them apart. Not all essays are the same, though; have them exercise caution to ensure that they are answering the question posed and demonstrate their knowledge of the sponsor, not just copying and pasting from another application. The essay is your teen’s opportunity to let their personality shine through in ways their transcript can’t. Have them showcase their passions and motivations, and be sure to reference volunteer work, extracurricular activities and other evidence that demonstrates their leadership skills.
3. Prepare a checklist and gather materials ahead of time. Winning a scholarship often comes down to organization; your teen can’t win if they don’t complete the application by the deadline. Although each application will have its nuances, there are some standard details that nearly every scholarship requires. Gathering and assembling these materials ahead of time will make the tedious task of preparing each application easier, and it will help them avoid overlooking something important when a submission deadline is looming. Be sure to obtain extra copies of items such as transcripts that take time to process, and reach out early to request references and documents such as volunteer work affidavits.
With an organized approach, your teen could be on their way to winning scholarships that help eases school debt and set them up for success.
Foresters, an international financial services provider, offers the Foresters Competitive Scholarship to its members and their immediate family members, which awards up to 250 tuition scholarships worth up to $8,000 each to students who demonstrate a commitment to community service and have a strong GPA. Learn more about Foresters scholarship opportunities at foresters.com.