Sports, homework, jobs, social lives, and college visits… Teens these days are busier than ever and high school students are especially busy as college approaches and they reach the peaks of their high school careers. As busy as students are, their parents are equally as busy worrying about how to come up with the thousands of dollars necessary to afford college tuition and all the extra fees associated with the university experience. What’s a parent to do when they expect their students to apply for college scholarships and these busy teens declare they have no time? Here are three encouraging tips to sway teens to jump on the scholarship bandwagon and get applying:
1. Figure out the cost per hour for each scholarship won. If a scholarship award is $1000 and a student spends four hours working on the application and essay, he or she has just made $250/hour. To a student making minimum wage, numbers like that speak volumes!
2. Ask for 15 minutes a day spent working on scholarships, setting a timer if needed. Even the busiest student can’t say no to 15 minutes. Once they have settled in and are committed to the 15 minutes, you will be amazed at how that time will be voluntarily increased as students realize that applying for college scholarships is not as daunting as they thought it was. For example, essays can be used for multiple applications (mind word count and adjust, if necessary) and one scholarship resume can fulfill the task of repeatedly listing extracurricular activities.
3. Partner with teens in the scholarship process and assure them they are not alone. Parents can play a huge role in helping students apply for college scholarships, from finding and printing each application, to keeping track of letters of recommendation needed and deadlines to follow. Organizing the process is a way to allow teens to apply for many more scholarships, as this keeps them on track and focused.
If the college scholarship searching and applying process is started early, students will be able to apply for more awards and have a much greater chance of winning scholarship money.
I suggest starting as early as freshman year, but don’t lose hope if you have a high school senior or even a current college student. Start NOW where you are and use these three tips to encourage your teen to apply for as many scholarships as they possibly can. The money IS out there and the most persistent students and parents will find it!