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Why College Scholarships Should be A Top Priority for High School Students

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Why College Scholarships Should be A Top Priority for High School Students

Many parents believe scholarships are a scam. Their high school students work hard, apply and never win anything. They are frustrated, discouraged and feel the promise of scholarships is a pipe-dream. You may have been there yourself, asking the same question: Are scholarships worth the effort?

With all the tasks related to college admissions, why devote valuable time to scholarship searching, especially when it appears the odds are stacked against winning? Here’s why:

There are thousands of unclaimed scholarships every year.

Did you know that there are thousands of dollars of unclaimed scholarship money every year? Why? Because students don’t take the time to search for scholarships and unearth the smaller, lesser-known awards available. Not every organization offering a scholarship can advertise nationally or blast social media with their opportunity. I receive emails every day from lesser-known scholarships begging me to notify my readers of their availability.

Why leave this money on the table? Do the math. Fewer applicants increase your odds of winning. Become a detective and unearth these unclaimed awards.

You can’t win any awards if you don’t find them.

You can’t be lazy about scholarship searching. Leave no stone unturned. Follow accounts on social media like @Scholarships360 that post scholarships daily. Narrow your search to become more specific (STEM scholarships, for example) or animal sciences.

Free money is free money.

No one would ever turn down free money. Yet, many students don’t make searching for scholarships a priority. It’s important to remember that all scholarship money is free. Your student will be able to use the money to pay for college. It will never have to be repaid. It’s a gift. Why would anyone turn down a gift that could benefit them financially?

Searching (and applying) for scholarships is an investment.

When students make a commitment to search for scholarships (and apply), they make a commitment to their futures. They become invested in the process of paying for their own education. Studies show that students who are financially invested do better in college than those who don’t.

Peace of mind

Talk to any college graduate. Nine out of 10 have horror stories about repaying the student loans they amassed during college. Since scholarship money is free money, students will be able to graduate with the peace of mind that comes with low debt.

Students win thousands of dollars in scholarship money every day to pay for college; but it requires time and effort. The first step is a well-planned scholarship search.

If you don’t search for the scholarships that fit your qualifications, you can’t win. You and your student should form a team and spend every spare moment searching online at scholarship sites, on social media, and keeping your ears open for local scholarship opportunities. Once you have unearthed the right scholarships, your student’s chances of winning will increase.

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Suzanne Shaffer counsels parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parenting for College blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, as well as providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze.

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