5 Tools to Give Your Local Students Scholarship Coaching
Searching and applying for scholarships is a daunting process, and not just for students trying to navigate this on their own. Parents, guidance counselors and volunteers who want to offer assistance can also become easily frustrated, because even though the Internet is filled with excellent tools and resources that should simplify the process, finding the most useful material is half the battle.
Luckily, you’ve landed on the right place. We’ve pulled together the resources that get the job done best.
Resource #1: The Scholarship America website
We suggest the first place you go for comprehensive scholarship information is the Student and Parents section of Scholarship America’s website. On it, we’ve gathered together many of the best scholarship tools on the web. Here, you’ll find: a curated list of financial aid resources, scholarship application tips, and free scholarship e-books.
But the best reason to visit our website is to create a Student Profile, which allows you to search and apply for scholarships available through Scholarship America Dollars for Scholars affiliates; even if there’s not an affiliate in your community, the profile allows you to match to Fastweb’s national database of more than 1 million scholarships. Plus, by creating a profile, you’ll get exclusive access to financial aid advice, video tips, college guidance and much more.
Resource #2: College Goal Sunday
The Internet may have all the answers, but nothing beats getting one-on-one help live and in-person from a financial aid expert. Held in many states across the country, College Goal Sunday events are typically offered on a Sunday afternoon at several locations in each state, and are open to all students who are seeking financial aid to pay for college for the upcoming year.
Attending College Goal Sunday gets you free, on-site professional help with completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the chance to talk to financial aid experts about how to apply for and receive financial aid, and state-specific information about student services, admission requirements, and more.
Before you visit the College Goal Sunday event closest to you, make sure you’re prepared by gathering together all the things you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA.
Resource #3: The Scholarship Coach Archives
If you find this blog helpful, we encourage you to also check out The Scholarship Coach, Scholarship America’s student-focused blog featured on US News & World Report’s website. Scholarship America has been writing weekly scholarship posts since all the way back in 2010, so there are an abundance of archived articles that prove to be helpful for students and parents looking for scholarships and scholarship information. For example, last week’s post, “Follow a Scholarship Application Calendar in 2014” , offered month-by-month scholarship to-dos, and the post from the week before, “Target These 10 Unique Scholarships in 2014”, shared some interesting scholarships that are certainly worth exploring. (You can also download and share free e-books of the best of The Scholarship Coach using the button below this post!)
Resource #4: Scholarship Search Engines
There are so many free scholarship search engines available to students online—you'll get about 7 million results by Googling "scholarship search"—that it can be difficult to know which websites to use. It’s a good idea to set up profiles on multiple sites so you catch as many opportunities as possible. Some of our favorites include: Fastweb, CollegeNet.com and CollegeBoard.com.
Resource #5: Big Future by the College Board
Speaking of College Board, they provide much more than just a scholarship search engine. We highly recommend checking out Big Future by College Board, a site geared toward current and future college students featuring an abundance of excellent tools and resources. For example, you can make a step-by-step college plan based on what year you are in school and answering a few questions, find colleges, browse majors and career profiles, and get all the information you need on financial aid.
To get started, read the top 10 questions to ask yourself as you begin planning for college, then watch videos from real students about what college is really like.