The current college admissions scandal spotlights the competition for, and what some parents are willing to do, to get their children into top schools. This scandal draws attention to the perceived impact of college on lives. Yet, the cost of a college education prevents many from attending college. While we cannot condone what these parents did, we relate to a parent’s desire to help their children succeed and improve their lives.
Today, I would like to address some appropriate things that parents can do to help children qualify and win thousands of dollars in scholarships or free money for college. As the father of six children and grandfather of 14, I recognize the delicate balance required to support and guide teenagers without hovering, antagonizing, or creating codependent behaviors. I hope these suggestions help you with your children or grandchildren.
Parents can enhance their children’s probability of earning scholarships with the following actions;
- Monitor and record their achievements beginning at young ages. Ensure you record the numbers, dollars, or improvements generated by your children’s activities. Help them continue to record achievements themselves as they get older.
- Help them identify themes in their lives that describe who they are and what they love to do. Such themes may include: academics, activism, athletics, creative talent, entrepreneurship, ethnic background, leadership, service, survivor, or others.
- Help them create short, factual statements of their achievements that they can copy and paste into scholarship applications. You can help them remember what they have done by brainstorming both as a family, and with their friends. The brainstorm can be structured on the themes, with everyone writing down as many specific examples as they can for everyone in the group.
- Sit down with your children to review the list of Scholarships for Children Under Age 13 found on http://www.finaid.org/scholarships/age13.phtml.
- Help children complete profiles on the scholarship search engines: Fastweb.org, Chegg.com, StudentWallet.org, and others. Remind them of activities, organizations, and other aspects of their life as they review the questions listed in the profile.
- Encourage them to consult with the high school guidance counselor responsible for the school’s scholarship web site page. Using the phrase “I will be applying for 50-150 scholarships. I hope that you will help and support me as I do so.”
- Motivate them to apply for 2-3 scholarships a week.
These are just a few ideas that may help your children earn scholarships. I welcome your comments adding what else you found that could help others.