|Scholarship Search Secrets eBook (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)|
It is college application season once again in our house. That means we are also busy researching scholarships for ones that Kayla has the best chance of winning.
Like so many other families, we do not qualify for need-based aid; yet, we do need help paying for college.
To lower college costs, we are digging through tons of merit scholarships - money for college awarded for achievement rather than demonstrated financial need.
According to fastweb.com, there are 1.5 million private merit scholarships offered by individuals, businesses and organizations. That helps explain why so many college-bound families use the word "overwhelmed" to describe the task of finding scholarships their student is eligible to receive.
Families endure the tedious scholarship process to cut down on the rising cost of college. Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be paid back. They do, however, require time, effort, and strategy.
I spent over 100 hours researching scholarships for my eldest daughter, Rebecca, before uncovering $150,000 in private merit scholarships that fit. She did not apply for them all but the ones she did win made a substantial impact on our family budget. They also gave her a huge sense of accomplishment for lowering the cost of college, as well as other benefits including exclusive networking experiences.
There is no shortage of thick scholarship books and online resources. However, clients, friends, and strangers, alike, frequently ask me for tips on how to save time finding merit scholarships that fit a particular student.
Here are some:
- Use online scholarship databases as starting points rather than final destinations. Follow the trail from scholarships the site recommends for your student to uncover other opportunities.
- In addition to exploring resources at your student's school, check for scholarship information posted on the websites of other public and private high schools in your area.
- Conduct internet searches revolving around your student's many involvements, career goals, and hobbies. For example, enter "community service scholarships," "dance scholarships" or "minority scholarships" into the browser.
- If your student is involved in community service, type the name of your city or town plus "community foundation" into the web browser.
- Watch for scholarship announcements posted in your local newspaper.
- Contact charitable groups, businesses, churches/temples, and the Chamber of Commerce in your area to learn about scholarships.
- Use the buddy system. Team up with another family to share scholarship information. You may find opportunities for money for college that match their student and vice versa. This saves time and increases the chances to lower the cost of college.
The cost of college has increased 7% a year for the past several decades (Forbes, March 24, 2012). Whether families seek merit scholarships to avoid college debt, increase their options about which college their student attends, or keep their investment portfolios intact, mastering the challenge of finding money for college based on achievement has become an important aspect of the college process.
Nancy L. Paul
Three Wishes Scholarships View our video at YouTube: "Understanding Merit Scholarships and Other Tips to Lower the Cost of College" http://www.youtube.com/user/3WishesScholarships.
You can also receive our free reports: "7 Secrets to Scholarship Success" & "ABC's of Merit Scholarships" at our website - http://www.ThreeWishes-Scholarships.com.
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