The idea of applying to scholarships can be overwhelming for students and parents alike. Many people have a range of misconceptions about how the scholarship process works, when to apply, where the money goes, and even if it will ever get easier. Luckily, there are answers to all of those concerns!

So, before you let the scholarship process turn into a giant black hole in your mind, our friends at The Scholarship System shared five things you and your child need to know.

5 Critical Things You and Your Child Need to Know About Applying for Scholarships

1. It Takes Work (but the Work Can Be Reduced)

We all know the adage, “If it was easy then everyone would do it.” Well, the truth is that the scholarship process isn’t always easy. In fact, it takes hard work and dedication. But this is a fact that actually works in your child’s favor.

By being willing to put in the time and the effort, your child is functionally in the minority. Many college students don’t try for many scholarships because of the work required, so they are facing less competition. And less competition means better odds of winning!

If you take the time to look for lesser known scholarships, you may find yourself with even more notable odds of winning if you are able to seize the opportunities.

The Scholarship System holds a free 45-minute online live training that shows you the exact steps your child needs to take to find hidden scholarships that have less competition. They’ve helped students secure over $624,000 in scholarships, which is kind of crazy. So we thought we’d share the training with you. Click hereto see when their next one is being held!

Learn About College Scholarships Webinar

As for how to reduce the work, keep reading!

2. Your Child Can Apply for Scholarships Up to Their Senior Year (IN COLLEGE)

This point was surprising to me but the founder of The Scholarship System, Jocelyn Paonita, said she kept applying long after high school.

She explained that another common point of confusion is based on the idea that scholarships are for incoming freshmen. And, while it is true that there are many opportunities for those looking to start their college adventure, it is also true that your child can apply to many scholarships up to their senior year IN COLLEGE (and beyond if they continue.)

Each scholarship is in control of the qualifications that determine a student’s eligibility, and many are available to undergraduates during any year of their education. So, even if your child doesn’t get selected for a scholarship as an incoming freshman, they certainly get another shot to apply during their sophomore, junior, and senior years. In fact, some are even available to graduate students, so they may be able to go on to that Masters or doctoral degree without having to pay the full cost out of pocket.

So, don’t stop looking just because the first round of deadlines passed, and don’t let your child give up if they don’t win the first time. Instead, have your child save those websites and schedule a calendar reminder to check back when it reopens next year. Then they won’t miss out on the opportunity to get more scholarship money the next time around.

3. Winning Scholarships Gets Easier Once You and Your Child Know What to Do

Here’s another point where an old adage really says it best, “Practice makes perfect.” While the phrase is certainly cliché, it is incredibly relevant when it comes to scholarship applications.

In the beginning, the scholarship process is unfamiliar, and even a bit scary. However, as more applications are completed, the easier it is to give the next one a try. And repeating the process this year also provides experience to build in next year, and the one after that, and so on.

So, don’t be afraid that the first ones aren’t perfect. It does get easier as your child moves forward.

4. Some Scholarships Funds are Sent Directly to Your Child

Most students and parents assume scholarship awards are sent directly to the college or university that will be attended. While some scholarships do work that way (especially institutional scholarships), a significant portion actually sends the money directly to the student who won.

But, why would a scholarship choose to send the money to the student in the first place? Because it provides the winner some flexibility. And that flexibility applies directly to our next point.

5. Scholarships Can Be Used for More than College Tuition

While most people associate scholarships with paying tuition, that isn’t necessarily the only thing for which the funds can be used. Sure, some scholarships are restricted to tuition only, but many can be used for other school-related expenses.

One of the most common secondary uses is other mandatory costs. Things like textbooks and required software can be incredibly expensive, but they are necessary to get through the classes. Scholarships that allow some spending flexibility are designed to make these costs more manageable as well. And, if your child ends up with enough in scholarship awards, they might be able to eliminate these costs entirely.

But that isn’t where it ends either! Costs associated with room and board can be covered with certain scholarship monies. That means no out of pocket expenses for dorm room, meal plan, or both. This means students can have their classes covered, books and software needs met, a roof over their head, and food on the table, all without spending a dime of your money.

That has to be the end, right? Actually, no, it doesn’t. Some scholarship money is paid directly to the student so they can use it in any way that supports their education. Need a bus pass to get around? Use scholarship money. Need to replace a subpar laptop? Use scholarship money. How about a haircut before they start their internship? Yep, scholarship money to the rescue.

And it’s this potential for flexibility that makes getting as much as they can in scholarship awards really worth the effort. So, what do you think? Still not worth the time and effort? Something tells me it is.

How Can You Learn More?

If you thought these tips were helpful, check out The Scholarship System’s free webinar for parents, “6 Steps to Quickly Secure Scholarships for College” In her training, Jocelyn will talk about the process she used to secure over $126,000 in scholarships, graduate debt free, and now help thousands of families around the country secure money for college. Some of things she will talk about include:

  1. How your child can get paid to go to college, even if they aren’t Einstein, nor the next Tom Brady
  2. How millions of students miss out on thousands of dollars in funding every day without realizing it (and how to avoid that happening to your child.)
  3. How the click of a button could cost you over $27k extra for college
  4. The most powerful search trick that the founder of The Scholarship System used to bypass all the scams out there, saving hundreds of hours, and having a list of scholarships (they are actually eligible for) nearly handed to your student.

Click here to see when they are having their next free online training.