Greetings Seniors and Parents -
Many of you are in the midst of the college application process now (junior parents, this is an fyi for when you do this next year). After you start getting the acceptance letters in the late fall/winter, the focus will change from admission to tuition. When that transition happens, questions about scholarships will closely follow. The purpose of this page is to give you a framework for how to go about pursuing scholarships that may be available for your child. The more work and legitimate effort your child is willing to put into the search process (which includes applying to the scholarships that require essays) the greater the chance they have of getting selected for a scholarship. I hope you find this resource useful and I wish you good luck in your search!!!!
One important disclaimer before you start your scholarship search.
Each day we get closer to graduation and your students pursuing scholarships for higher education. As we do, I wanted to remind everyone to NEVER pay any money to any scholarship organization. If they are asking you to pay any amount of money for any reason, run away....fast. Scholarships are designed for a one-way flow of cash - From them to you, not the other way around.
Bottom line -IF YOU HAVE TO PAY, RUN AWAY.
The major sources of scholarships are the following:
1) National Scholarship databasesOther sites listed on the PHEAA Financial Aid presentation:
The good news about these sites is that they do the legwork for you and compile a large list of available scholarships. The bad news about these sites is that every high school student in America searches on and submits applications to the scholarships in these databases. Both websites are must-have resources, but the scholarships therein will be highly competitive. Any serious scholarship search should not be exclusively through these websites.
2) Bellefonte High School Senior Awards program. Sometime in March/April, your senior will receive a senior awards application booklet. It will contain all of the monetary awards available to BAHS seniors. They range from $50 to $5000. Each application must be handwritten and some require special applications and essays. Be sure to apply for all that you are eligible for and take time and care writing your essays.
3) Local Organizations. Sometimes employers, clubs, religious organizations or local organizations offer students the best chance of getting a scholarship. Especially if there are specific criteria, your child may be one of only a handful of applicants. Check with the local organizations you are affiliated with to see if they have any scholarship offerings. These tend to be harder to find....often a google search won't turn up any results. That is a good thing for those that find them because it means fewer applicants and better odds.
4) Your school's Student Aid page. Most colleges and universities have school-specific scholarships that they offer to their own students. Check the Student Aid page of the institution you will be attending and see what options they have for incoming students. Again, school-specific scholarships mean a limited applicant pool and better odds.
5) Other schools' Student Aid pages. Finally, don't be afraid to cherry pick the legwork of others. If you browse the Student Aid page of most colleges, they will have links to external or outside scholarships. Take advantage of the searching they have done to assist your own scholarship search.
Check with your student aid office to see how they handle outside scholarships. Make sure that they "stack" scholarships and don't simply take away grant or other scholarship money the student would have received had he/she not received a scholarship. All that hard work is wasted if the scholarship your student received replaces free grant money he/she would have gotten anyway. That's something that each school does differently, so check with the institutions you are considering.
Happy Scholarship Searching!!!!!!!