How to Help Your High School Senior Find Scholarships

According to the "How America Pays for College" report by Sallie Mae and Ipsos, approximately 23% of college costs are covered by parent income and savings while 35% of college costs are covered by grants and scholarships. Together, this covers slightly over half of college costs. Since over a third of college costs are covered by scholarships and grants, it is crucial for you to learn how to pay less for college for your high school senior by helping him or her to find and apply for scholarships.

How can help your high school senior to find scholarships?

1. Understanding "the world of scholarships". In order to help your teen in the scholarship search and application process, you need to become familiar with the process of finding and applying for scholarships. For example, there are scholarships due daily. Your child may not know this, so you can help them out by reminding them to search weekly.

2. Contacting your Human Resources manager for possible employer-sponsored scholarship programs. Many employers offer scholarships for children of employees (and even retired employees) as a part of their employee benefits program. Call or email your Human Resources manager and ask about scholarship opportunities. 

3. Help your child to create a system to stay organized and manage his or her time wisely during the scholarship search and application process. With your child's busy sports schedule and tons of homework, it is very easy for your child to get overwhelmed with having to add another task to their schedule - searching and applying for scholarships. You can help your child to get organized by purchasing a wall calendar and a few colored folders to keep track of important deadlines.

4. Check with your memberships and neighbors (preferably with children in college) for possible scholarship opportunities. If you are involved in an industry, social, charitable, or religious organization, your high school senior may be eligible for a scholarship based on your membership. Review your benefits offered by your memberships for scholarships.

5. Get your child involved in volunteer activities. Most scholarship providers ask about leadership experience on their scholarship applications. A great way for your child to gain leadership experience is to have them volunteer in an area of interest. You can stay engaged with your child by volunteering as well. Remind your child to keep track of volunteer activities and the supervisor contact information for future sources of letters of recommendation.

In conclusion, your child's senior year of high school is a critical time for the college preparation process. You are a critical partner in your child's future success which includes providing support with finding and applying for scholarships.