Finding the Best College Scholarship for Your Teen

Get tips on finding the best college scholarship for your child.

Finding the Best College Scholarship for Your Teen

Enterprising students may be able to snatch thousands of additional dollars in scholarship money— the more you look, the more you'll find.

To find out what scholarships and grants are out there, talk to your child's guidance counselor and college financial aid officers. Also go to a local or school library to check out directories on the subject.

Here are a few worthwhile places to start hunting for scholarships:

  • Many companies offer scholarships for qualified children of employees. Check with your Human Resources department.
  • Many fraternal groups or industry associations give money to worthy students.

Many scholarships go unclaimed each year because students don't seek them out. Start looking in your teen's sophomore or junior year—and watch deadlines.

Info Flash

There are computerized search services that promise to find scholarships your teen might be eligible for, for a fee. Save yourself the money. You can find the scholarships yourself in directories on the computer or in your local library.

Sometimes, scholarships and grants reduce the total aid package your child receives from the school, but it's worth this tradeoff. Scholarships confer special achievement and will look impressive on your teen's resume; and remember, they don't have to be paid off

Sports Scholarships

There's no central resource to keep track of how much money is available through sports scholarships, but the Women's Sports Foundation estimates that $179 million in athletic scholarships is available for women each year and another $350 million is available for men.

If your teen is looking for a sports scholarship, keep the following in mind:

  • There are scholarships for many sports, not just football, baseball, and basketball. Though those three sports do generate a large pool of money, there's also a great deal of competition for it. There are lots of scholarships for other sports ranging from soccer to archery.
  • Your teen doesn't need to immerse herself in one sport. Proficiency in more than one sport increases scholarship opportunities and impresses admission committees.
  • To find local sources of scholarship money, talk to coaches, college administrators, and staff at regional sports camps and clubs.
  • Most sports scholarships require students to display a degree of academic proficiency as well as athletic ability.

Some schools, such as Ivy Leagues and all NCAA Division III schools, don't offer athletic scholarships; but some do offer merit scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial aid.

Money for Kids of All Types

When you start looking, you'll discover some interesting categories of scholarships based on, shall we say, unusual categories. Take a look at the following:

  • In Georgia, students with a family income under $100,000 and a 3.0 grade point average are entitled to free tuition at any Georgia public institution, courtesy of the state lottery.
  • The University of Colorado in Boulder has just instituted First Generation, a scholarship program for state students who are the first in their families to attend college.
  • One specialized fund offers up to $1,000 to needy left-handed students attending Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
  • The Asparagus Club of Paramus, New Jersey, gives $1,000 scholarships each year to financially needy students who intend to work in the food industry.
  • David Letterman has a scholarship at Indiana's Ball State University that is awarded to C students “like him” (whatever that means!).
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