Scholarships come in many different forms.
- Some are automatic and require very little special effort to obtain. Typically these are based upon test scores and high school grades. Some of these are sponsored by a student’s university, others may be statewide. There are multiple students who receive these scholarships. These are typically awarded when students apply to a university. Generally they are renewable. They are not scholarships students can later qualify for.
- Some students must apply for. These scholarships typically have very specific criteria. Generally only a limited number of students are awarded these scholarships. Criteria used in the award normally include:
- Academic record
- Financial Status
- Personal Situation (hometown, high school)
Some of these are renewable, but many are a one-time scholarship. The source of these scholarships can be
- the university
- a professional or social organization
- a parent’s employer
- a community group
Here are the steps you should share with your student to obtaining a scholarship.
1. Identify scholarships you might be eligible for. See the note above. There are a number of sources of scholarships. Make sure to check out the application date.
2. Apply for the scholarship. This may require you have an essay on your career plans on why you are a good candidate for the scholarship. If you do need an essay you should have your advisor or someone else who is familiar with scholarships review your essay for you. You may also need to complete a form.
3. Obtain references for the scholarship. These should be faculty (including your advisor) or others who can speak to your qualifications for the scholarships. See the topic: Obtaining a Scholarship
4. Keep your resume current and very professional looking. Although the application may not require a resume, including one can give your application a very special look.
5. Whatever the outcome is of the scholarship decision, send a thank you to the scholarship organization. This thank you should be more than just 1 -2 sentences. Make it genuine. You’ll never know how such a simple act can benefit you in the long term.
Some final thoughts on scholarships.
1. Ask your student to apply for multiple scholarships. Don’t just count on one.
2. Advise your student to keep a file of all of their application materials. They may be able to use these on subsequent applications.
3. Advise your student to send the scholarship organization periodic updates on how he/she is doing. This communication can be very helpful to the organization and to your son/daughter should you have a chance to renew the scholarship.
4. Treat scholarships as icing on the cake, but students shouldn’t plan on scholarships as principal funding source for college.