Start Early to Find College Scholarships!

College decisions weigh heavy on the mind of many high school students. Notably, the question of how to pay for tuition. While some students are fortunate enough to have parents who can pay for at least some of their upcoming education, many don’t have that option. Either way, scholarships for high school students can alleviate some of the pressure on a family when it comes to financing college.

For parents and students who want to avoid the worry of upcoming college and university costs, there is good news. Scholarship money for high school students is abundant. A high school student and his family just need to know the basics to find those scholarships. Here is some advice to get started:

  • Start early. Parents should know that colleges tend to look at academic accomplishments that occurred in grades 9-12. Make sure your high school freshman knows that class performance now — counts later.
    • It’s also fine to begin the search for scholarship money even before high school. If your child is involved in competitive sports or dance, is a spelling bee champ, or attends the state math contest each year — there may be associated scholarships. Ask activity organizers for scholarship information.
    • Begin applying for non-activity based scholarships as early as sophomore year. If a student meets the criteria to apply, go ahead and apply. Even if a scholarship isn’t awarded, you will understand the process and be better prepared later.
  • The FAFSA is your friend. Make sure that you find out the early FAFSA deadline for the college you’ve chosen. Many institutionally awarded scholarships for high school students won’t even be considered unless the school has a complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid. (Note that privately awarded scholarships for high school students generally don’t carry this requirement)
  • Examine your talents and showcase them. Prepare a portfolio and/or resume that highlights your achievements inside and outside the classroom. Provide it along with your college application or scholarship application. It may just put you over the top.
  • Talk to people in the know. Your high school guidance counselor and college admissions representative can point you toward scholarships that suit your abilities and the college or university you’ll be attending. Pastors, local business people, and family friends may also know of private scholarships for high school students. Be sure to ask them.

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