COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

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12 simple ways to prepare a student to win college scholarships
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/12-simple-ways-to-prepare-a-student-to-win-college-scholarships-977

Posted: 2016-09-09

by Monica Matthews, College Scholarship Expert

No matter how old or young your children are, there are ways you can prepare NOW to help them win college scholarships when they are ready to apply for and attend college. The cost of college tuition is skyrocketing and knowledge is power, so here are 12 simple ways to prepare students to win college scholarships.

1. Encourage good grades

From the time they enter preschool, parents can instill in their children the importance of always doing their very best on all their schoolwork. As students get older and begin to receive letter grades, they should be encouraged to always strive for Aís and Bís. Working towards being included on academic honor rolls should be a goal and a family expectation.

2. Value volunteering

Helping others is not only good for students and the people they help; itís good for scholarship applications. Most organizations that offer college scholarships want to know how many community service hours a student has worked and how it has impacted their lives. Parents can start early with their children and volunteer as a family, establishing meaningful relationships with people who may one day write detailed and personal letters of recommendation for their student.

3. Speak about WHEN, not IF

Talking about "when" students will go to college, instead of "if" they will go, sends a message that college is an important part of a studentís education. Parents can also bring into casual conversations valuable information and lessons they learned from their own college days.

RELATED: 5 secrets to winning a college scholarship

4. Make college visits on vacations

Family vacations are a great way to do some mini college visits. While sight-seeing and on the road, take a few extra minutes to locate any colleges in the area and drive by them to check them out. These casual visits may spark college conversations and interest without pressuring students. Make notes about each school and save them for future reference.

5. Write about experiences

If your student has done something exciting, or for which they are very proud, encourage him or her to take a few minutes and write down their thoughts and feelings, as well as any details about the experience as soon as possible afterwards. These big events could become fantastic scholarship or college essay material, but memories may become lost or fuzzy if they are not soon captured on paper.

6. Save awards/honors certificates

All those certificates need a special home, so decide early on where they are going to be stored. When your child is approaching college and begins applying for scholarships, you will know exactly where they are without tearing the house apart in frustration. Scholarship applications typically have special areas in which students are asked about any awards they have received. Start saving the proof now, no matter how old your child is.

7. Strive for NHS/NJHS membership

The National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society not only have scholarships available for their members, they also have community service hour requirements that will help your student pick volunteer opportunities that count on scholarship applications. Encouraging and expecting good grades will increase your childís chances of being invited into these organizations.

RELATED: The truth about scholarships and 529 plans

8. Never skip the FAFSA

Financial aid is given out at most colleges and by the federal government in a "first come, first served" basis. Filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be done as soon as possible when the forms become available, starting in October of a studentís senior year of high school. Many parents assume they make too much money to receive aid from the government, but even low interest loans will help and filing the FAFSA is also mandatory for many scholarship and college applications.

9. Expect extra credit

When a teacher offers extra credit, encourage your child to do the additional work. Going the "extra mile" is a wonderful concept to teach students and instills in them the importance of doing their very best and going above and beyond what is expected of them academically.

10. Teach that asking for help is smart

Teaching children that it is smart to ask for help allows them to see that it is perfectly acceptable to reach out to others if they feel confused or are struggling in school. Encourage asking questions in class and good communication with teachers, so students donít get so far behind that they are constantly fighting to keep up and grades suffer.

11. Promote Honors and AP classes

Advanced Placement and honors courses challenge young minds and look great on college and scholarship applications. Encourage AP and honors class selections, especially in the junior and senior year of high school. Students can enter college with college credit (saving mom and dad money!) if they successfully pass advanced placement tests.

RELATED: 11 myths and realities of scholarships

12. Attend parent/teacher conferences

Even if your child is doing wonderful in school, taking the time to meet their teachers and chat about their performance is a great way to connect and discuss your plan to help your student apply for and win college scholarships. The teacher that gushes about how much they like and appreciate your student will probably be a good choice as a letter of recommendation writer. Mentioning college scholarships at parent/teacher conferences also opens up the possibility of a teacher nominating your student for those scholarships that require such nominations.

Little preschoolers become college-bound students before you know it! Get ahead of the game by planning early and making these actions a part of your daily family life. Scholarship prep is a powerful way to put your student in a prime position to win scholarships when college is on the horizon and tuition payments and the high costs of college become a frightening reality.

What have you already done in preparation for college and scholarships for your child?

RELATED: 10 things you need to know about getting scholarships


About the author: Monica Matthews is the author of HOW TO WIN COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has "been there, done that" in regards to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.† Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets and more, have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.† Her scholarship tips have been featured on several websites and she has been dubbed the "Go To" expert on college scholarships. You can find her scholarship guide and tips at how2winscholarships.com.

Monica Matthews can also be found on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, SmartCollegeVisit, and RealityMomsRock.

No matter how old or young your children are, there are ways you can prepare NOW to help them win college scholarships when they are ready to apply for and attend college. The cost of college tuition is skyrocketing and knowledge is power, so here are 12 simple ways to prepare students to win college scholarships.

1. Encourage good grades

From the time they enter preschool, parents can instill in their children the importance of always doing their very best on all their schoolwork. As students get older and begin to receive letter grades, they should be encouraged to always strive for Aís and Bís. Working towards being included on academic honor rolls should be a goal and a family expectation.

2. Value volunteering

Helping others is not only good for students and the people they help; itís good for scholarship applications. Most organizations that offer college scholarships want to know how many community service hours a student has worked and how it has impacted their lives. Parents can start early with their children and volunteer as a family, establishing meaningful relationships with people who may one day write detailed and personal letters of recommendation for their student.

3. Speak about WHEN, not IF

Talking about "when" students will go to college, instead of "if" they will go, sends a message that college is an important part of a studentís education. Parents can also bring into casual conversations valuable information and lessons they learned from their own college days.

RELATED: 5 secrets to winning a college scholarship

4. Make college visits on vacations

Family vacations are a great way to do some mini college visits. While sight-seeing and on the road, take a few extra minutes to locate any colleges in the area and drive by them to check them out. These casual visits may spark college conversations and interest without pressuring students. Make notes about each school and save them for future reference.

5. Write about experiences

If your student has done something exciting, or for which they are very proud, encourage him or her to take a few minutes and write down their thoughts and feelings, as well as any details about the experience as soon as possible afterwards. These big events could become fantastic scholarship or college essay material, but memories may become lost or fuzzy if they are not soon captured on paper.

6. Save awards/honors certificates

All those certificates need a special home, so decide early on where they are going to be stored. When your child is approaching college and begins applying for scholarships, you will know exactly where they are without tearing the house apart in frustration. Scholarship applications typically have special areas in which students are asked about any awards they have received. Start saving the proof now, no matter how old your child is.

7. Strive for NHS/NJHS membership

The National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society not only have scholarships available for their members, they also have community service hour requirements that will help your student pick volunteer opportunities that count on scholarship applications. Encouraging and expecting good grades will increase your childís chances of being invited into these organizations.

RELATED: The truth about scholarships and 529 plans

8. Never skip the FAFSA

Financial aid is given out at most colleges and by the federal government in a "first come, first served" basis. Filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be done as soon as possible when the forms become available, starting in October of a studentís senior year of high school. Many parents assume they make too much money to receive aid from the government, but even low interest loans will help and filing the FAFSA is also mandatory for many scholarship and college applications.

9. Expect extra credit

When a teacher offers extra credit, encourage your child to do the additional work. Going the "extra mile" is a wonderful concept to teach students and instills in them the importance of doing their very best and going above and beyond what is expected of them academically.

10. Teach that asking for help is smart

Teaching children that it is smart to ask for help allows them to see that it is perfectly acceptable to reach out to others if they feel confused or are struggling in school. Encourage asking questions in class and good communication with teachers, so students donít get so far behind that they are constantly fighting to keep up and grades suffer.

11. Promote Honors and AP classes

Advanced Placement and honors courses challenge young minds and look great on college and scholarship applications. Encourage AP and honors class selections, especially in the junior and senior year of high school. Students can enter college with college credit (saving mom and dad money!) if they successfully pass advanced placement tests.

RELATED: 11 myths and realities of scholarships

12. Attend parent/teacher conferences

Even if your child is doing wonderful in school, taking the time to meet their teachers and chat about their performance is a great way to connect and discuss your plan to help your student apply for and win college scholarships. The teacher that gushes about how much they like and appreciate your student will probably be a good choice as a letter of recommendation writer. Mentioning college scholarships at parent/teacher conferences also opens up the possibility of a teacher nominating your student for those scholarships that require such nominations.

Little preschoolers become college-bound students before you know it! Get ahead of the game by planning early and making these actions a part of your daily family life. Scholarship prep is a powerful way to put your student in a prime position to win scholarships when college is on the horizon and tuition payments and the high costs of college become a frightening reality.

What have you already done in preparation for college and scholarships for your child?

RELATED: 10 things you need to know about getting scholarships


About the author: Monica Matthews is the author of HOW TO WIN COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has "been there, done that" in regards to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.† Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets and more, have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.† Her scholarship tips have been featured on several websites and she has been dubbed the "Go To" expert on college scholarships. You can find her scholarship guide and tips at how2winscholarships.com.

Monica Matthews can also be found on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, SmartCollegeVisit, and RealityMomsRock.

 

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