24 Jan Why Students Should Continue to Search for Scholarships After Junior Year
Most parents know that their students should look for scholarships during their junior and senior year of high school. But, what many don’t realize is that scholarship searches should continue beyond that. Looking for additional forms of “free” money can help ease the financial burden of a college education. Although some scholarships are part of the college’s financial aid package, students also have the ability to search anywhere else they choose to find scholarships on their own. Continuing the scholarship search can be one of the best ways to make college more affordable.
Scholarships matter. As you begin to compare financial aid award letters, it’s possible to find out that your student’s preferred school is slightly out of reach. Extra money from a scholarship award can be the difference between college selections. Often, scholarships have application deadlines in the winter. However, some have later deadlines and can help students on the last part of their application (and acceptance) journey. Even those students already in college should keep an eye out for possible scholarship opportunities. Additional money can help cover the cost of books or other expenses. The search for scholarships shouldn’t stop just because their junior year is over!
Where should you search?
Parents and students should both keep an eye out locally for scholarship opportunities, as well as search online. There’s truly so many opportunities out there for students and their interests. If your child has a special strength or interest, look for associations or clubs that follow that passion. Scour their websites to see if they offer a scholarship. You’d be surprised what you might find. This can also be true of family connections or organizations.
If you’re not convinced yet, consider these additional reasons your student should still search for scholarships:
It keeps your student thinking about money:
With everything else they have on their plates, it can be surprisingly easy for students to forget the financial piece of attending college. Once they file the FAFSA, or get their financial aid award letters, they think the money part of the process is complete. But, just like in real life, money should be a part of the everyday thought process. Students should always be concerned about how they are going to pay for college. The cost continues through each year – it’s not a one and done situation.
It covers the incidental costs:
Sometimes scholarships don’t seem like a lot of money. But, the reality is that it can really be a lot to a student who is trying to get along on a budget every month. Having “spare” money can be the difference between someone attending an event, purchasing extra materials, or taking one less shift for work that month.
It means you have to borrow less:
Every penny you get in grants, scholarships or income from work is one less penny you have to borrow through student loans. That’s always a plus! One of the greatest factors contributing to the current student loan crisis is that student loans are used for everyday expenses, and not just educational costs. No real thought is given to the interest that is accruing, or to the student’s future ability to repay those loans. After graduation, a cruel reality begins to set in when students realize they are not earning enough money to live on their own and repay their loans.
It reinforces a goal-oriented mindset:
Learning to set goals and following a schedule to achieve them are two powerful life skills. Students who know that they need to complete certain tasks within a specified timeframe are building life skills. They are also filling their heads with academic knowledge. Taking the time to search, write and submit these scholarship applications is a great life lesson for your student.
A scholarship can be a welcome addition to the “paying for college” pot. So, it shouldn’t be something that is left to chance. With an intentional approach to seeking out and applying to scholarships at all levels of their school career, students can often find sufficient funds to help support their academic aspirations – and make their financial burden less. Continue to support your student’s scholarship search and possibilities for the future.
Want to learn more about saving for college? Check out my book: Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro. This book contains information on completing the FAFSA, applying for financial aid, paying for college, and repaying student loans. Order it now and find out how to make your college journey easier!
Who is CFAA?
CFAA helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a CFAA new client free strategy session or a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. To get the latest financial aid information and college application to-do lists, look for my bi-weekly JustAskJodi emails. Make sure to check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter, too.