Presentation on theme: "Elaine Townsend University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill SLI Mentor."— Presentation transcript:
Elaine Townsend University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill SLI Mentor
Like applying to colleges, if you do your research early, you’ll find scholarships that your child will be competitive for. I advise students to research scholarships at least a year before applying. This way, students can get a head start on meeting the scholarship’s requirements or bolstering their credentials to be a competitive candidate.
There are $32 billion in scholarships available. With that in mind, the real question seems to be not whether one can secure a scholarship but whether one can find a suitable scholarship. While the internet is a helpful resource in tracking down scholarships (fastweb.com or finaid.org), it isn’t the only resource. Ask colleagues, as well as members of philanthropic organizations, churches, and civic groups. Have your child let his guidance counselor know that he is excited about applying for scholarships. This way, when opportunities present themselves, these folks will share them with you.
In general, the smaller the area a scholarship covers, the better your child's chances of winning. Start at the high school counselor's office. Counselors will know about scholarships for students graduating from the local high school. They may also be aware of scholarships for residents of your town, county, and state. It may also be worth helping your child research your employer, since some companies actually provide educational assistance to their employees and their employees’ children.
Unlike admissions decisions, where admissions officers are looking for students to meet certain academic and non-academic criteria, scholarship committee members are free to choose candidates whom they feel would benefit from the scholarship. So, even if you feel that your child might not be qualified, scholarship committees could potentially find something endearing in his application, essay, or interview that would make him a worthy recipient.
Pay attention to eligibility requirements in order to avoid applying for scholarships you do not qualify for. Some examples of criteria that scholarship programs might use to determine applicant eligibility include: a) demonstrated financial need (you may need to complete the FAFSA) b) academic major or area of study c) participation in community service (i.e. volunteer work) d) ethnic/racial background e) religious affiliation f) artistic skill g) disability or impairment h) place of residence (state, city, or county) i) grade level
Think about the things that make your child an individual (e.g., their career interests, hobbies, talents, religion, ethnicity, etc.). There are scholarships for just about anything!: http://www.finaid.org/scholarships/unusual.phtml
Not all scholarship programs require that recipients be U.S. citizens. Here are some resources for which provide funding to undocumented students: http://www.maldef.org/education/scholars hips.htm http://pcusa.org/financialaid/index.htm (loans available too)
Beware! Never give out Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers in response to unsolicited emails, phone calls, or on websites. Some other warning signs of a scholarship scam include: a) a required fee to use the scholarship service b) money-back offers or guarantees c) claims to provide exclusive information or access to scholarship awards.
While most scholarships have deadlines at the beginning of each month, there are bound to be times when you will find a great scholarship with a deadline in just a few days. Don’t get discouraged! Instead, have the following ready to send at a moment’s notice: Official copies of your child’s transcript. Once your child has received his fall semester grades, have him ask his guidance counselor for at least five copies of his high school transcript and keep them in sealed envelopes. Non-specific letters of recommendation from guidance counselor and teachers. Have your child ask his guidance counselor and one teacher to make 5 copies of a non-specific letter of recommendation. They will usually need at least two weeks notice for this, so it’s important that your child let them know that he is applying for scholarships and may ask for these letters on short notice.
Remind your child to photocopy and save all of their application materials before they submit them. He/she may need or want to reference them again later. Keeping a folder of essays or resumes is also a nice memento.
It is important for your child to devote time to each application, especially the essay components. A strong personal statement that truly reflects your child. As with college essays, students should have a template of a personal statement (not longer than a page) that reveals their unique traits. Once they have this foundation, they can easily tailor it to specific scholarship organizations. Topics to consider emphasizing in these the common traits of a scholarship winner: active participation in community service; evidence of creativity, initiative, and leadership; as well as resilience, passion, and commitment.
Keep in mind that the real value of a scholarship includes more than just the money. It’s important to consider the additional services that a scholarship program offers, such as tutoring, career counseling, or professional networking opportunities— all which help your child to succeed during college and even beyond graduation!
As influences in these children’s lives, we can support our high school students through this long process simply by giving them a little push whenever they’re feeling discouraged. The effort will surely be worth it. On the flipside, remind your child to not be discouraged if he/she receives rejections. You aren’t going to win them all!