How do scholarships work? Does just the idea of applying for scholarships make you feel overwhelmed? The idea of applying for scholarships can be overwhelming for both students and parents but it doesn’t have to be.
Many people have a range of misconceptions about how the scholarship process works.
Parents often think that their child has to be a genius or athlete or be super involved in the community or extracurricular activities but that is simply not true.
Although those things can help with certain scholarships, there are so many out there that there are enough of them for everyone.
To help you cut the overwhelm and streamline the scholarship process my friend Jocelyn over at The Scholarship System is sharing five things you and your child need to know.
1. Scholarships Do Require Work
We all know the saying “If it was easy then everyone would do it.” Well, the truth is that the scholarship process isn’t always easy. In fact, it takes hard work and dedication. But this is a fact that actually works in your child’s favor.
By being willing to put in the time and effort, your child is functionally in the minority.
Many college students don’t try for many scholarships because of the work required, so they are facing less competition. And less competition means better odds of winning!
If you take the time to look for lesser-known scholarships, you may find yourself with even more notable odds of winning if you are able to grab those opportunities.
If you have no clue where to look for scholarships or how to even begin, The Scholarship System holds a free 45-minute online live training that shows you the exact steps your child needs to take to find hidden scholarships that have less competition.
They’ve helped students secure over $624,000 in scholarships, which is kind of crazy.
2. Your Child Can Apply for Scholarships Up to Their Senior Year (IN COLLEGE)
This point was surprising to me but you can keep applying for scholarships long after high school.
Another common point of confusion is based on the idea that scholarships are for incoming freshmen. And, while it is true that there are many opportunities for those looking to start their college adventure, it is also true that your child can apply to many scholarships up to their senior year IN COLLEGE (and beyond if they continue.)
Each scholarship is in control of the qualifications that determine a student’s eligibility, and many are available to undergraduates during any year of their education.
So, even if your child doesn’t get selected for a scholarship as an incoming freshman, they certainly get another shot to apply during their sophomore, junior, and senior years.
In fact, some are even available to graduate students, so they may be able to go on to that Masters or doctoral degree without having to pay the full cost out of pocket.
So, don’t stop looking just because the first round of deadlines passed, and don’t let your child give up if they don’t win the first time.
Instead, have your child save those websites and schedule a calendar reminder to check back when it reopens next year. Then they won’t miss out on the opportunity to get more scholarship money the next time around.
3. Winning Scholarships Gets Easier Once You and Your Child Know What to Do
Like they say, “practice makes perfect.” It’s definitely true when it comes to college scholarship applications as well.
In the beginning, the scholarship process is unfamiliar, and even a bit scary. However, as more applications are completed, the easier it is to give the next one a try. And repeating the process this year also provides experience to build in next year, and the one after that, and so on.
So, don’t be afraid that the first ones aren’t perfect. It does get easier as your child moves forward.
4. Some Scholarships Funds are Sent Directly to Your Child
Most students and parents assume scholarship awards are sent directly to the college or university that will be attended.
While some scholarships do work that way (especially institutional scholarships), a significant portion actually sends the money directly to the student who won.
But, why would a scholarship choose to send the money to the student in the first place? Because it provides the winner some flexibility. And that flexibility applies directly to our next point.
5. Scholarships Can Be Used for More than College Tuition
While most people associate scholarships with paying tuition, that isn’t necessarily the only thing for which the funds can be used. Sure, some scholarships are restricted to tuition only, but many can be used for other school-related expenses.
One of the most common secondary uses is other mandatory costs. Things like textbooks and required software can be incredibly expensive, but they are necessary to get through the classes.
Scholarships that allow some spending flexibility are designed to make these costs more manageable as well. And, if your child ends up with enough in scholarship awards, they might be able to eliminate these costs entirely.
But that isn’t where it ends either! Costs associated with room and board can be covered with certain scholarship monies. That means no out of pocket expenses for a dorm room, meal plan, or both.
This means students can have their classes covered, books and software needs met, a roof over their head, and food on the table, all without spending a dime of your money.
That has to be the end, right? Actually, no, it doesn’t. Some scholarship money is paid directly to the student so they can use it in any way that supports their education.
Need a bus pass to get around? Use scholarship money. Need to replace a subpar laptop? Use scholarship money. How about a haircut before they start their internship? Yep, scholarship money to the rescue.
And it’s this potential for flexibility that makes getting as much as they can in scholarship awards really worth the effort. So, what do you think? Still not worth the time and effort? Something tells me it is.