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Easy Ways to Help Students Find and Win More Scholarships

The scholarship search can feel arduous, but you can help your teen in a lot of ways without taking over. Here are some ideas to team up with your student!

Talk with any parent, guardian, or counselor and you can hear the frustration around students applying for scholarships. With the myriad tasks in a student’s life, it’s difficult to find time to devote to the scholarship search. It can be even more difficult to stay focused and motivated. But if scholarship money needs to make up the largest part of your college budget, then keeping your eye on the prize should be a priority, especially during a student’s junior and senior year. Even if a family can afford to pay for college, free money is always welcome. Here are just a few ways parents, counselors, or anyone else can help with a student’s scholarship search and application efforts without taking over.

Help students with organization

When searching for scholarships, students are going to accumulate mounds of information and data. To stay focused and organized, they’ll need to create some type of system to keep and compile all that information. I like using Google for this task because you can create spreadsheets and add deadline dates to your Google Calendar. Whichever method you choose, be consistent and methodical. As your teen finds scholarships, make sure they’re adding them to their list and noting guidelines and deadlines.

There are also scholarship search programs that will track the scholarships you qualify for and apply to as well (learn more about these below). As your student widens their search beyond these search engines, they’ll find scholarships outside their parameters, and they should have some other method to list and organize these opportunities for the future. It’s also important to track acquired awards once they apply and win. Staying organized with scholarship deadlines, requirements, application materials, and more can not only streamline the application process but also provide them with a valuable resource they can use year after year until they graduate college.

Related: Scholarship Search Spreadsheet Template

Help build scholarship searching into their daily schedule

As with any task, it helps to add it to your daily routine. Encourage your students to schedule scholarship search time just as they would any other important daily task or activity. Compare it to having a job; the hours they spend searching and applying for scholarships will net bigger rewards, just like working more hours earns more money. Motivate your teen to commit at least 30 minutes each day to this task. Suggest adding it to their homework routine since it’s something they must do anyway. With so many things to do, it’s hard for students to stay on top of deadlines. That’s why planning should also include setting email or text reminders when deadlines are approaching to remind them to apply on time.

Help them make searching more efficient

Searching for scholarships requires time, organization, and effort. You can help make all this easier for students by encouraging these scholarship-related practices for a more efficient search.

Scholarship search engine notifications

Scholarship search engines and apps abound to help students search for opportunities. My favorite is Scholly because it’s available as an app on your phone or desktop. However, there are many others as well: UnigoAppily, and, of course, CollegeXpress are just a few. Many, if not most, of these sites send you emails with scholarship updates, notifying you of awards that have become available and deadlines that are approaching. You can even sign up for daily emails from Scholarships360 for new scholarships every day. When using these search engines, try to give as much information about yourself as possible. This will guarantee the best matches with awards you’re eligible for, saving you from chasing down money that you don’t qualify for. Once you have completed your registration, you can begin adding scholarships you qualify for to your application schedule.

School counselors and high school websites

High schools and counselors receive a lot of scholarship information, especially local notifications. Encourage your student to pay a regular visit to their counselor’s office and inquire about new scholarships as part of their routine. Schools often list scholarships on their school websites, so they can always check that before an in-person meeting. You could even go a step further with them by searching other local high school websites. These sites are often more helpful than search engines because the scholarships are local ones with less competition and greater odds of winning.

Related: Scholarship Search Best Practices You Need to Follow

Social media strategies

As part of their scholarship search strategy and to stay on track, students can combine social media time with finding scholarships. Pinterest is one social media tool that is surprisingly easy to use for scholarship searching and organization, along with Facebook scholarship pages and scholarship search engine Twitter/X accounts. Almost every available scholarship or search engine has some sort of social media presence. As part of their daily routine, students and parents should check these accounts for new award opportunities and application tips. Since you are all using social media anyway, use it to your advantage in the search for scholarship dollars.

Local and school-specific awards

Every community has local for- and nonprofit organizations and businesses that offer scholarships to local students. Brainstorm with your family about scholarship opportunities that might be specific to you in your area, at your place of work, or through organizations you belong to. Listen to the news and check community boards for any local scholarships available to students. Most colleges also offer scholarships that are only available to admitted and enrolled students. Research the colleges your teen is contemplating attending and find out what types of scholarships are available as well as any requirements, such as FAFSA completion or standardized test scores. They may have to fill out a separate application when they apply to the college, so make sure they do their research.

Help with proofreading

You can’t write their essays or fill out their applications for them, but you can proofread their work and double-check requirements before your student presses the submit button. It’s hard to see our own mistakes, so being a final editor for your student’s scholarship apps is a great way to support them and give you peace of mind that they’re giving it their best effort.

Related: College Application Proofreading Tips From an Editor-in-Chief

The scholarship search and application process could very well be the most labor-intensive part of preparing for college, but it’s a rewarding task if students are willing to put in the effort. If you help them create a plan, stick with it, and remain focused, their reward will be all the greater. Who doesn’t like free money for college?

Did you know we provide monthly scholarship listings with award opportunities for students of all ages? Check them out and share with your student each month!

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CollegeXpress has helped me greatly during my college search. I used their college search feature often and it helped in comparing schools I was looking at. Now that I’ve found a college the scholarship search feature is helping me find a way to find my college experience. CollegeXpress has many helpful features and resources for anyones college search, it truly is a wonderful tool for anyone entering college level!

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Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

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Hannah Nelsen

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me look at colleges that fit my interests by taking my profile and matching it to colleges that have the programs I'm looking for. It has the ability to connect me to colleges so I can be contacted by them and look at them more in-depth to find what's right for me. Additionally, the scholarship database is super beneficial for getting scholarships for college. Not only does it help lift the financial burden of college but it shows all the opportunities available. Overall, CollegeXpress has been very helpful to me.

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