If you have a high school junior or senior who is about to start applying to colleges, cost and financial aid might be top of your mind. One of the best ways to lower the cost of college, of course, is by earning scholarships—and the more your teen applies, the greater chance he has of securing some scholarship money. Here are several scholarship resources to explore:
High school guidance counselor – Hopefully your teen’s high school encourages students to meet regularly with the counseling office—and you should do the same. Doing so helps your teen stay apprised of all things college, including scholarship tools your teen can use to research and apply for scholarships. Guidance counselors have lots of experience helping students find and get scholarships. They are also the best source of information about local scholarship programs, community foundations and other resources that you won’t learn about on the scholarship search engine websites.
Teachers – Your teen shouldn’t assume that her teachers are solely focused on what happens inside their classrooms. They are connected to the local and national education community and might know more than your teen realizes about scholarships and how to get them. When the time comes, your teen should also lean on her teachers to review and edit her application essays and write recommendation letters for scholarship and college applications.
College websites – Just as your teen should stay in touch with guidance counselors and teachers and visit the high school website regularly to ensure he’s up-to-date on local scholarships, it’s a good idea to check out colleges’ financial aid pages for information on any merit-based scholarships. If your teen is certain about his major, make sure he visits the department or school section of the website too to look into any field-of-study scholarships. A direct phone call is also worthwhile.
Fastweb – Fastweb gives students access to its database of more than 1.5 million scholarships worth $3.4 billion in funding. Your teen simply creates a profile and the site matches her with scholarships for which she might be a candidate. She can also manage deadlines and keep track of applications.
Big Future – This is the College Board’s scholarship search platform, which offers much more than a scholarship search engine: financial aid information, a college comparison tool, a tool to help students explore careers and majors, and more. But the scholarship engine is searchable by scholarship category and lets users filter categories by a variety of criteria (ethnicity, GPA, test scores, etc.). Big Future has access to scholarships, financial aid and internships from more than 2,200 programs, totaling nearly $6 billion in funding.
Cappex – The name Cappex originates from the phrase “College Application Exchange,” and the database connects students to colleges that might be a good fit based on various recruitment criteria. It matches students with eligible scholarships from its multi-billion-dollar database and provides them with direct links to apply. Teens can also search for scholarships manually by category to uncover scholarships that might still be a good fit, even if their profile doesn’t show it.
The students who put in the time are the ones who are the most successful with securing scholarship money. Encourage your teen to treat the scholarship search—and the college application process—like his job during the last half of high school. His chances of success will go up significantly, and the effort will definitely be worth it.