Scholarship for Kids

College scholarships: Tips for an effective scholarship search

The cost of continuing education continues to rise, making parents wonder: better future for me or for my children?

Just five years ago, $74 billion in financial aid was available for higher education. The money's obviously there, so the question is: "How do I find it?"

8 ways to put your kids through school and keep your house

These are my recommendations, not listed in any particular order:

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  1. Visit Fastweb.com
  2. One of the leading resources for scholarship searches is www.fastweb.com. The site advertises "1.3 million scholarships worth over $3 billion." Best of all, your searches are free.

  3. Demand Excellence
  4. Want a raise? It makes sense to have superior performance, right? Why would that be different in the competition for scholarships? Two words: it isn't. It's in your child's best interest to strive for excellence and for you as the parent to support that. Even scholarships for underserved youth go to the most qualified (competitive) applicant.

  5. Go Public
  6. Did you know scholarships are offered for being left-handed? Tall? Short? Public libraries have phone-book-sized listings of scholarships like these. The most current versions are usually in the reference section, but others you can check out.

  7. Find Religion
  8. Many churches offer scholarships. Don't attend a church just for its scholarships, but ask about scholarship opportunities at the church you do attend. These scholarships are often smaller amounts ranging from $250 to $1,000, but every bit counts.

  9. Check Professional & Community Organizations
  10. As parents, we may be involved with professional or service-based organizations. These groups tend to offer scholarships either at the local, regional or national level and are worth looking into. Likewise, some businesses offer scholarships to employees and their dependants, so check with your human relations department.

  11. Seek Counseling
  12. The most efficient place for an organization to market scholarships is the high school guidance counseling office. In schools I've visited while working in college admissions and now as a parent, the counseling office is always "scholarship central": a one-stop-shop for scholarship information. Even if the information isn't displayed, someone in that office knows where to find it.

  13. Consider a Military Scholarship
  14. The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is an option with the added benefit of national service. ROTC scholarships cover tuition, housing and book costs. Service academies are another form of military scholarship in which all student costs are covered, including medical / dental. See http://academyadmissions.com/ for additional service academy information.

  15. Enter Contests
  16. Most kids fear public speaking and dislike writing, which are the most common types of contests. Both skills will carry your student to success when developed, but for the immediate payback - scholarship money - now's a good time to get started.

You probably won't get everything you apply for, but if you don't apply, you get nothing. The money's out there, and it'll stay out there unless you or someone else searches for and grabs it. Something for nothing doesn't work when searching for scholarships. Your student will have to work for it, but considering the compensation, it'll be well worth the effort.

By Maurice Brandeis