10 Ways (that REALLY WORK) to find Scholarships for HS Seniors: The College Money Maze Guide
There are many high school seniors across this country that are very excited around April and May when they make their final decision about what college they are going to in the fall. The weather is getting nicer, spring flowers are in bloom but parents are now secretly freaking out! Parents have just come to the realization that their child has NOT received enough money in Merit Aid, grants or even student loans to cover the cost of college. The EFC (expected family contribution) is an amount that will be a challenge for them to come up with. They need to find scholarships NOW!
The College Money Maze to the rescue.
Scholarships are the way to bridge the gap. Here are 10 ways to find scholarships that you can implement immediately.
- Talk with the High School Guidance Counselor. All seniors (even as early as junior year) should make an appoint and get to know their counselor. He or She is the keeper of the information about how to find scholarships from local organizations. They utilize that person as their point of contact and the person to recommend a particular student for the scholarship.
- Contact your individual place of worship (church, mosque, synagogue etc…). There may be opportunities within the larger denomination, diocese or regionally that provides scholarships or gifts to graduating seniors. JUST ASK.
- Contact neighboring high school counselors. If your student has a friend that attends another high school in the same town can put you in contact with them for information about scholarships that they may be aware of.
- Professional Associations. This may vary depending on your child’s intended college major. For example, the National Association of Civil Engineers may have a junior membership level that your child can be a part of. If so, they usually award scholarships to their members.
- National Health Organization. If you or your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness or disease, the national advocacy organization associated with that disease often provides scholarships for children of those diagnosed, those students that may be caregivers for their parents or the children themselves.
- Scholarship Search Databases. There are a number of websites that you can access and search their database to find scholarships. My top 3 recommendations are Scholarships.com, Cappex and Unigo. They are the largest sites on the internet. All of them require you to register and create a profile the first time. It is a pain but very important to help filter through all of their lists. Don’t just limit yourself to one site. Contact at least two. You are able to see a summary or preview of each scholarship before you click on the link to apply.
- This is the world’s largest search engine so, OF COURSE, I would suggest this. You have to be strategic when you do a search for scholarships on google. For example, decide exactly what you are looking for (i.e. scholarships for high school seniors in Memphis, Tennessee) or (science scholarships for minority high school seniors). Be as descriptive as you can so that you don’t get ones that don’t apply to you.
- Social Media is YOUR FRIEND. Understanding how to utilize social media to your advantage is key. Other than NOT posting inappropriate comments or pictures, how else can you use social media to find scholarships? Glad you asked. The popular social media channels such as FACEBOOK, Twitter or Instagram can be used to communicate with the nonprofit foundations that give out scholarships. It gives them an opportunity to put your name (and possible a face) on their radar so when you apply to their scholarship, they can research back and realize you were the one that commented on their picture or video and liked their page. LinkedIn is more powerful because you can connect directly with influencers in their organizations, put your resume in their (virtual) hand and network with industry groups to find out more about scholarships.
- Contact Local and International Fraternal Organizations. I am speaking specifically about greek letter organizations (minority and non-minority). For example, if you were part of a sorority when you were in college but have not had any contact since then, reach out. They will likely be offering scholarships to youth in the communities they serve. Many of the fraternities and sorority have youth affiliate or youth groups that they mentor. Becoming a part of that gives you a first look into their organizations and advance knowledge of when they will be offering their annual scholarships.
- Contact current or former employers. If you are a student and work for companies like STARBUCKS, they offer scholarships for their employees. If your parent works for (or retired from) large global companies (AT&T, Verizon, Microsoft etc…) they will likely offer scholarships to the children of their employees or retirees. JUST ASK.
These are not difficult or absurd suggestive ways to find scholarships. Ultimately it takes time and commitment to the process. The College Money Maze can do the leg work and shopping around for you. FIND OUT HOW! This is not a one and done. Keep looking. When you actually get into college, DON’T STOP LOOKING. Tap into some of these same resources as I mentioned. There is money for you too.