If you’re like most parents of high school-aged kids, there’s a good chance that every time you read about the skyrocketing cost of a college education, your heart rate speeds up at the thought of paying that massive tuition bill for four straight years. (Or, at the even scarier thought of saddling your child with student loan debt that will take them years to pay off.)
But don’t let the panic set in quite yet. There are loads of scholarship opportunities available for students with all interests and abilities that can dramatically help offset the cost of tuition. This week, we’re covering scholarships for the women in your life. After sharing these with your daughter, all that remains is trying to get her to fill out the application. Make sure you remind her that her future depends on it.
Before starting your search for scholarships, consider your daughter’s future career goals. Does she have a specific major in mind? Does she know what field of work she wants to go into upon graduation? When looking for scholarships, that information can prove extremely helpful, as many scholarships are geared specifically toward students with certain interests.
Is she interested in business? Make sure you tell her about the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship, a program that provides scholarships for women who are pursuing undergraduate and master's degrees in business management, and working to overcome gender barriers from the classroom to the boardroom. Since the program started in 1988, 237 scholarships have been awarded to women from 37 countries; these scholarships range from $1,000 locally to $5,000 internationally. They are awarded annually and may be used for tuition, books, or living expenses at any university, college, or institution offering accredited business courses and degrees. Any woman pursuing a business or business-related degree who demonstrates outstanding potential in the field is eligible, as are online students.
How about a career as an engineer? Have her check out the Society of Women Engineers Scholarship Program, which provides financial assistance to women admitted to accredited United States undergraduate or graduate programs, in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science. They also award individual scholarships for freshmen through graduate students on an annual basis. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $20,000 each. The graduate application is open December 1 - February 1, 2014, and the freshman application will become available in March 2014.
Undecided? Don't worry -- but do consider encouraging her to join a sorority. Most colleges and universities have all kinds of sororities geared toward varying personalities and interests – and not all of them include wild and crazy weekend shenanigans. A sorority can offer your daughter many benefits, including wonderful networking opportunities, lifelong friendships, internship opportunities, and, most importantly, excellent scholarships for women. For example, Kappa Delta, a national sorority of nearly 230,000 members, awards both undergraduate and graduate scholarships totaling more than $120,000 every year. And Alpha Chi Omega, a national sorority of more than 200,000 women, also offers their members a chance to compete for scholarships -- plus several grant opportunities.
Scholarship opportunities for women at the local level also abound. If your daughter is still in high school, spend an hour with her visiting her school’s guidance office for a list of local scholarships offered by neighborhood foundations. And many towns also have a local Dollars for Scholars affiliate, which will likely offer several excellent scholarships to students in the community. Finally, schedule a visit to her future alma mater’s financial aid office to learn what scholarships the college or university offers to incoming or current students.