Like clockwork every year, many 12th graders, parents, teachers and college counselors struggle to submit scholarship applications on time while hustling through the flurry of standardized testing, college applications, housing decisions and the unsubsidized loan nightmare that is FASFA. The storm of anxiety and stress quickly gathers strength and leads to monumental burn out long before our prospective collegiate “athletes get off the blocks” of their first year at university.
How can this be?
- Many scholarship application deadlines overwhelmingly arrive before or as college acceptance letters start rolling in, usually in early spring.
- In fact, the majority of scholarship applications are due long before students’ intent to enroll deposits are due in May.
How can this be resolved?
By 12th graders–
- As soon as you submit a college application to a particular university such as Cal Poly Pomona, immediately apply to Pomona’s Bronco Scholarship application (BSA).
- Most universities have their own scholarship websites that host a multitude of smaller scholarship opportunities through the university’s funding and private foundations.
- These are often only available if you create a scholarship application profile through the target university; this is not part of your college application, so do not assume you’ve applied for scholarships with your college application.
It’s never too early to begin your research! Look into younger scholars and college readiness programs for your elementary and middle school students:
- The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: The Young Scholars Program is directed at at 7th graders and provides up to $40,000 per year for students once they begin attending college!
- John’s Hopkins Center for Talented Youth: Summer programs and college guidance are available to students as young as 2nd grade!
- Unigo.com: A great site to catapult your search for college-bound tots and “tweens!”
By Teachers and Counselors:
- Get to know your financial need-based and merit-based scholarship websites and deadlines, which include the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Scholarship.com and Chegg.com, among many.
- Better yet, compile an online resources page, similar to my Hawk Educational Solutions’ Resources Page (albeit, a more comprehensive page of course), that provides links to a variety of scholarship sites and databases.
- Most importantly, discuss these resources with parents and students in person or through online video chat sites such as Google Hangouts or Skype.
As always, gathering the knowledge and resources early alleviates the mayhem, clears the fog and betters your chances of gaining the financial assistance you need for a debt free college future!