Parents of rising high school juniors have been busy making sure their kids master the SAT or ACT and select the right high school courses to gain college admission. Hopefully they've also been taking a few college tours or are planning to stop off at some colleges on this summer's family vacation.
But there is something else just as important that most parents and their rising high school juniors are not doing this summer....searching for scholarships. Scholarship searches are not just for the spring of the senior year. Looking for college money should start earlier.
The reason families don't search early is that they don't know they should or even that money is available. The Jif Foundation (everyone's favorite Peanut Butter) gives away $25,000 a year to children between the ages of 6 and 12 who win a peanut butter recipe contest. There are essay contests for students in the early years of high school.
True there are not as many scholarships for students in lower grades as there are for students in grade 12. But a benefit of beginning to search early is that students learn where to look and how to apply and that is a HUGE advantage when they become high school seniors and have hundreds of opportunities for scholarships. Because most scholarships are offered every year, students can search for their target scholarships now and create a spreadsheet to keep them on track for scholarships for each year of high school and college.