Thinking about finding scholarships for college? As my children have gotten closer to college age, my husband and I have become more aware of the skyrocketing cost of a college education.
Our wish is for our children to be able to go to college without incurring any debt. I realize this is a lofty goal, but I also believe it is possible. Here is how we are going about finding scholarships for college that may be available to our students.
There are literally thousands of different scholarships, so it is necessary to weed through them and narrow the list to ones for which your child meets the qualifications.
Finding National Scholarships:
To do this, I used Peterson’s Scholarships, Grants & Prizes, which is available at most libraries. Don’t let the metropolitan phone book size of the book scare you away.
It is organized in such a way that you can simply go through the sections that pertain to your child. As I went through the book, I made notes of the scholarships I thought looked promising.
Afterward, I looked up these scholarships online. When I found one I thought might work for my child, I used a spreadsheet to record key information. The columns I use in a spreadsheet are shown below.
There are also online databases with similar information.
Finding Local Scholarships:
Many local, community organizations and businesses also grant scholarships.
A good way to find these is through the local school counselors. I looked through a couple of local high school counselor’s online scholarship lists and added some to my spreadsheet.
Another good source of scholarship information is the local newspapers. Often, they will have pictures and articles about the local clubs and their scholarship winners. File this information away also.
Take the PSAT:
Having your child take the PSAT in October of his or her junior year will put him or her in the running for the National Merit Scholarship.
Many employers also have their scholarship opportunities linked to the National Merit Scholarship Competition, so it is important to look into this before their junior year.
You often don’t have to score super high to be eligible for the employer scholarships – you just have to have taken the test.
All of this is a time-consuming endeavor. Definitely not something you want to start during your child’s second semester of senior year! But, it is not difficult.
If you start early and keep working at it, who knows, you just might help your student win some scholarship money!
My spreadsheet columns are:
- Name of Scholarship
- When the Application is available
- What year in high school or college you need to be to apply
- Dollar amount available
- Special requirements (essay, video, etc.)
- Website address
When I finished, I simply sorted the spreadsheet by the deadline date so we would know which to apply for first!