Finding scholarships for kids is not terribly difficult if you are willing to put the time in and search and apply for them. In fact, my daughter has already won two of them this year (she’s 13 at the time of this writing.) She’s proof that you don’t have to (nor would you want to) wait for junior or senior year to start applying for scholarships.
Though I can give you a list of scholarships for kids, it would be much more helpful if I gave you a strategy on how to find them yourself – as many scholarships vary at the city, state, county and national level. There are even different scholarships for interests, activities and career paths. You’ll also find that scholarships for kids will vary from year to year.
So learning how to search for them will be much more helpful than a static list of scholarships.
How to Find Scholarships for Kids
You will need to be proficient at using Google.
You can search for terms like:
scholarships for 8th graders 2018
scholarships for elementary students in private school
scholarships for 7th graders 2018
middle school scholarships 2018
scholarships for middle school students 2018
writing scholarships for middle school students
private school scholarships for low-income families
scholarships for middle schoolers 2018
Aside from searching the phrases, you can add specific terms that correspond to:
- your city
- your state
- your kids’ interests (STEM, language, math, etc.)
Once you get the results, make note of the age requirements and dates to apply. Then, set a reminder on your calendar to check on those dates when your child is eligible to begin and submit the application for the scholarship.
You can also search for essay contests with your child’s grade. For example, you can search a phrase like:
“Los Angeles essay contest grade”
This reveals a number of scholarship for grade school kids in the Los Angeles area. Put your city and state in separately to see what may be available for both. Using the term “grade” will help you see quickly if the scholarship is applicable to a kid in grade school (though some 9-12 grade scholarships are out there.)
One of the scholarships my daughter won was for a STEM competition. You can search Google for competitions that might be available for elementary school kids. A search for the phrase “competition STEM grade” yields some results for both essay contests. Again, put in your city, state, and county for results that are particular to where your child lives.
Scholarship Funds for Private Schools
There are also many need-based scholarship funds for private schools. Even if your family doesn’t qualify for awards based on income, you are urged to apply because many funds can be left over once all the need-based tuition applicants are served.
Here some examples of those funds:
*these funds operate in specific regions, but you should still visit the site to see if there is a similar fund that operates in your state or region.
List of Scholarships for Kids
If you still want an easy list to refer to, here’s one, but I can’t guarantee it will stay updated, but it can be a good place to start:
How to Prepare You Kid for Scholarships
Parents often scramble to the scholarship process at the junior or senior year but by then, it may be too late. Once parents and kids see the amount of service work and career-related accolades required for these applications, they soon wish they had started preparing their college-bound child for scholarships in elementary school. You can start preparing your elementary-school-age child for the scholarship process as early as 1st or 2nd grade! Here’s how to get going.
1) Set Expectations
As soon as you can, talk to your children about college and how valuable a good education is. Once you frame the conversation in a context they can understand, make it plain that it will cost money and that you will have to work together as a family to make sure your child can go to school, preferably without borrowing money.
2) Find Out Career Interests Early On
While it might sound difficult to gauge the interests of a 1st grader, you as the parent can take note regarding what your child is interested in and what they enjoy in their free time. I noticed that my oldest really enjoys filming herself and producing videos on YouTube. That seems like it would translate well into a career of either broadcast journalism or film production. My youngest, however, likes math and science. She is fascinated by animals and catches onto math and logic very quickly. Any grooming they can receive early on in the direction of their natural talents and interests will be valuable in the scholarship search & application process.
Once you are familiar with your child’s interests and potential career paths, it’s not a bad idea to get them started volunteering with related organizations. Also, many scholarships will ask for specific records of service hours completed, so it’s good to start as early as possible. This is also a good way to form relationships with organizations and people that might either give a good letter of recommendation or eventually support their schooling with monetary gifts. My younger sister completed a summer internship at a company I was working for and the owner was so impressed with her skills that he donated over $1,000 to her for a school trip to France!
Related resource: Need Direct Access to Scholarship Experts? Use this Platform
4) Start a Resume
Jeannie Burlowski, author of the book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love suggests creating a LinkedIn resume as early as 16 years of age to track of your kids’ awards, accolades and service hours. Come junior or senior year, your child will have more than enough service hours to leave a good impression on almost any scholarship award committee.
Related resource How to Get Full-Tuition Scholarships
5) Choose Strategic Activities
Not to suck all the fun out of childhood, but at some point, you might have to make a decision about the type and amount of extra-curricular activities your child can do. Activities will have to be well chosen and fit strategically into the narrative you are trying to create for potential scholarships and colleges.
6) Compete in Essay & Art Contests
There are hundreds, if not thousands of essay contests offered up to kids each year at the elementary school level. Many of these contests offer prizes like money, electronics and trips to lavish awards ceremonies. It’s also a good idea to get your child used to writing good essays, as that is the basis for many scholarship applications. It will be excruciatingly painful for them to complete scholarship applications in their latter high school years if they don’t have much practice writing. If you get into the habit of honing your child’s creative expression, it could pay-off big time in terms of additional honors to keep track of and additional monies for college. Just ask Akilah Johnson, who recently won $30,000 in the Doodle 4 Google art contest.
7) More Competition
If your child has more of a competitive streak, encourage them to enter into contests like math bowls, or spelling and geographic bees or national science fairs. The academic discipline is great, but again so are the honors and accompanying prize money. The earlier you start, the more practice your child will have, bettering their chance to walk away as a winner in these endeavors.
8) Start a College Savings Account
This is more for morale purposes. If you can show that you are serious about getting your child’s education funded, they are more likely to join you in this team effort. If they can see that there is money accruing in their account towards college, they will also be more motivated to hunker down and perhaps enter into that 100th essay contest without complaining.
9) Good Grades & Academic Reputation
This is a good time to talk about what is expected of your child in terms of grades, test scores and even behavior. They will need to have a good reputation at school not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because elementary school teachers are the one who recommend students and pass essay submissions onto state or national level for the competitions we mentioned above.
If your child is not a good test-taker, now would be a good time to get help for them. If they get good grooming early on, by high school they should be able to master the ACT and get the scores college and scholarship committees like to see.
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