When looking at reducing the cost of college, there are a number of approaches to take. One that often goes under the radar for high school seniors however is utilizing private scholarships. These are not the merit based scholarships offered to students by the colleges and universities but rather the local private scholarships from organizations and businesses that help to reduce the cost of education for students. While smaller in amount than the scholarships from the university, they can add up.
We know that the life of a senior in high school is hectic with college applications and essays on top of schoolwork to stay busy. While this is true, dedicating a small amount of time to writing some short essays for these private scholarships will have a substantial impact when looking at student loans after graduation.
So where do these scholarships come from? Many come from local nonprofit service clubs (e.g. Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis) and others come from local scholarship foundations, often founded in memory of a loved one. In Newton, where we are based, the Newton Schools foundation is a great local example. These scholarships are given to students in amounts usually ranging from $500 - $5,000 and are given either in cash or the form of a check made out to the university that your student will attend.
How do students apply? The best resource for students is for them to contact the high school guidance counselor and do research from a list there. Another idea is to think of the organizations where friends and family are already members, and inquire about scholarship opportunities there. If your child is interested in taking this a step further, there are also national scholarships to apply for through websites such as Scholarships.com and Fastweb.com that may have a lower success rate but often give a higher scholarship value to the recipient.
Think of it this way. Let’s say your student starts in September completing one scholarship application per month, taking one hour to complete each application from now until April (8 months). In May, your student only receives one of the 8 scholarships that they applied for at a total of $2,000. While only receiving one scholarship, your student effectively was making $250 per hour for the 8 hours that it took to fill out those applications and write the required essays. That’s not a bad payout for a 17 year old!
So why mention these as a reminder now? We know that it is hard enough to motivate your teenage child as is to write an essay, especially if it is not mandatory for school. But as time passes and these scholarship deadlines creep closer, your student will not want to be dedicating their senior year weekends to writing scholarship application essays. Getting a head start now can make a great difference in the outlook for the cost of your child’s education.
Do you have any other questions on private scholarships and their benefit? Give us a call, we’re here to help!
All the best,
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