Helping your child apply for scholarships begins with becoming an informed parent. There are numerous resources available to students looking to continue their academic pursuits into college, and these may be difficult to navigate as a busy high school student. Your child will need your help to find the best opportunities available to them.
Start with the FASFA
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the pivotal step toward securing scholarships for college tuition. This determines whether you qualify for scholarships or grants from the government, and even offers low interest loans. The key is to fill the document out as early as possible. To do this, you’ll need a unique identifier known as the FSA ID. The identity key is unique to each FAFSA applicant, and it helps keep all you do concerning your FAFSA application safe and secure.
Once a student receives an FSA ID, he or she will need to create a save key so that the ID can be kept online without interference from hackers or other privacy violations. Use your child’s information such as social security number, address and name to complete the process.
Keep in mind that additional documentation may be required to complete the FAFSA. This may include transcripts, proof of financial status, GPA documentation and more. Stay within the guidelines on these additional documents and pay close attention to any special FAFSA deadlines for best results.
Once you’ve finished your child’s FAFSA application, it’s time to turn your attention to the scholarship application process. This process can be intense, but it doesn’t have to be. Parents often stress they don’t know where to begin when looking for scholarships for their children’s college education, but there are a number of sure resources.
- It’s always wise to begin with your employer. Often the entities we work for provide scholarships.
- As a member of Gulf Coast Educators FCU, your child may qualify for our GCEFCU Scholarship.
- Scholarship search engines, such as Scholarships.com.
- If you’ve attended college or high school, check with your alumni organization to inquire whether they offer scholarships.
- Your child’s school counselor can provide them with many scholarship options available. Advisors and counselors and teachers are an excellent resource for insight into the college scholarship application process. Start with the school’s counseling office to get pointed in the right direction.
It may take some time to sift through these, but it’s worth it. Often, the criteria for applying can range from very narrow and specific, to very broad and open. Be sure to take note of any special requirements or specifics during your search. Also, deadlines are important. Keep track of deadlines by keeping a calendar organized specifically to track due dates and timelines for each of your child’s scholarship applications.
What Scholarship Committees Look For
Chief decision-making in any scholarship application process lies with the scholarship committee. These committees can range in size and makeup across the wide variety of scholarship applications available, but there are a few general things that most committees look for in the ideal candidate.
- Attention to detail – This means following application instructions with special care and diligence.
- Demonstrations of moral integrity – What makes you worthy?
- Internships or volunteer organizations that your child has taken part in.
- Organization – Be careful to ensure that your child’s personal statement displays complete thoughts and sound sentence structure. It is wise to have your student’s English teacher proof read their essays before they submit them.