How to Start the College Scholarship Search

4 Minute Read

We all love free money—especially when it has the potential to change our children’s lives forever! But every year, students pass up their chance at billions of dollars in free money to help them pay for college.1

Scholarships Are Worthwhile for Every Student

The free money we’re talking about is college scholarships. And no matter where your family is on your financial journey, finding and applying for scholarships should be a priority for your high-school-age kids. Scholarships are simply the best way to pay for a college education, and the more scholarships your teen applies for and receives, the more peace of mind you’ll have—knowing your teen will begin adulthood without student loan debt.

Maybe you haven’t had time to build a college fund and freshman year is actually next year! Scholarships can be an enormous benefit for you. Or maybe you’ve already saved thousands for your teen’s college—congratulations! It’s still a good idea to help your teen get scholarships. If they are awarded free money for school, you can use your savings for other goals like paying off your house early or giving to a worthy cause.

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Whether you’re a millionaire already or just starting on the road to greater wealth and giving, it’s worth your while to show your child the value of scholarships.

So How Do You Find Scholarships?

Don’t assume that finding and filling out scholarship applications takes too much time to be worth it. Some scholarships only offer a few hundred dollars, and that might sound like a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands you’ll need. But when you consider it will probably take an hour or less to apply, you’re talking about earning hundreds of dollars an hour! That’s an hourly wage you can’t afford to pass up.

Here are some scholarship tips to get you and your teen started:

1. Find a Trusted Site

If you and your child have college dreams but limited means, your need for extra cash makes searching for scholarships a no-brainer! One great place to start is myscholly.com, a service that has helped students find over $70 million in scholarships so far.

2. Check If the Scholarship Is Renewable

Most scholarships are annual, and the steps to apply don’t change much from year to year. Your teen can take advantage of that fact even if they’re not yet old enough to apply. Even high school freshmen can start a list of scholarships they want to apply for and begin preparing their answers and essays now. Getting out in front of those applications will save a ton of time come senior year! On the other hand, some programs may change over time, so be sure to double-check before applying.

3. Think Outside of GPA

Did you know some scholarships are awarded to applicants who want to become the first person ever in their family to attend college? That’s right! Not all scholarships are for straight-A students or overachievers. Plenty of others are awarded for criteria that have nothing to do with academics, so be sure to explore those less-well-known scholarship options.

4. Ask Your Company—and Others—If They Offer Scholarships

Don’t overlook your employer as a source of scholarships for your high schooler. Many companies provide scholarships exclusively to the children of their employees, but those opportunities aren’t always well promoted. While you connect with your HR department, check with other local businesses or civic organizations to see if they sponsor scholarships in your community. It could be as simple as asking an HR staff member or having your high schooler fill out a short application.

5. Take the $58,000 Financial Literacy Challenge for a Shot at Our Scholarships

Looking for a great scholarship opportunity as you begin your search? Have your student take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Literacy Challenge!

Our $58,000 Financial Literacy Challenge runs from April 6 to April 25. Students can take a brief survey and financial literacy quiz at daveramsey.com/challenge for a chance to win some awesome prizes! Seniors have a chance to win one of four $10,000 scholarships, a $5,000 scholarship, and a $2,000 scholarship. Underclassmen can win one of three $500 Amazon gift cards. Thanks to Churchill Mortgage for their sponsorship of the Challenge.

Resources:
1NerdWallet.com

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