A few months ago, a wonderful mother wrote me, asking how she could find scholarships for two kids who are both in college right now.
My reply to her might help your family too.
I’m so glad your kids are going to be applying for scholarships while they’re in college. That’s a fantastic plan! My recommendation is that students apply for ten scholarships every year starting in 8th grade and going all the way through graduate school. 80 scholarships in total if possible!
Here are 5 great ways I can think of to find scholarships to apply for.
“Jeannie, I’ve been to 3 of your classes and love hearing you as well as reading your information. I value your opinion.
We have recently met with a person who we could pay to help our daughter navigate sophomore through senior year with FAFSAs, scholarships, choosing schools, etc.
I asked many informed questions because of the information you have taught me. Overall, he agreed with your stance on many things. However, he did say that applying for many scholarships early (i.e. middle school and early high school) can hurt the student’s chance of getting money from the institute they wish to attend. (Jeannie’s emphasis.) He said that he finds schools for students based on their interests/skills/location, but also who will give them the most financial aid. His take was that trying early for scholarships uses up a lot of time with little success, (Jeannie’s emphasis) and any that are won must be reported, thus decreasing financial scholarships/offers from the school of their choice later. (Jeannie’s emphasis.)
I am curious about this since we have been gearing up for searching/writing scholarship applications before late high school. We have not hired this person as of yet and would love any comment/advice you can give in regards to this point of view.”
A 35-year-old father of two recently contacted me in desperation, looking for help getting out from under $40,000 in student loan debt. “I’ve been paying $475 a month payments on this debt for years,” he said, “but because of interest piling up, I’ve hardly made a dent in it! I can’t buy a house; I can’t save for retirement; and we’re just scraping by every month, just barely able to pay our bills. Help!”
My advice to him was blunt. “You need to get aggressive,” I said. “Start doing insane, crazy things to pay this debt down as fast as possible.” I talked to him about finding an elderly person who needed a little help with home care and yard work, and moving his little family into one room in this person’s unfinished basement to save on rent. I talked to him about selling his nice car and taking Uber to the grocery store and public transportation to work. I talked to him about getting all of Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette books and adopting a whole bunch of her crazy, outrageous, creative strategies for saving money and paying down the principal on debt.
Parents, don’t let what happened to this man happen to your kid.
Watch this 3-minute movie trailer for the student loan debt documentary “Broke, Busted, and Disgusted.” Then buy or rent the documentary and consider watching it with the teens in your family.
“Broke, Busted, and Disgusted” is guaranteed to light fire in your teens to do all they can to avoid student loan debt, and in you to do everything you can to get your kids through college debt-free and into jobs they love afterward.
To keep debt-free college at the top of your mind as your kids are growing up, subscribe to my “email updates” using the form on this site, and then open it every single time it lands in your email inbox. It always includes a valuable timely article, plus info on my speaking and online specialty classes. (Use the directions here to make sure your email provider always sends my emails straight to your email inbox.)
Don’t let your kids become a student loan statistic.
Buy (or rent) the entire 53-minute “Broke, Busted, and Disgusted” documentary here.
You can see the “Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH,” here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCHevery 1-3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it – especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
Do you have friends who are parenting kids ages 12 – 22? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn right now.
What about you? What jumped out at you when you watched this trailer for Broke, Busted, and Disgusted? What are your favorite strategies for helping kids avoid student loan debt? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full time author, academic strategist, and speaker. Her writing and speaking help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directlyinto careers they excel at and love. She also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.
This post is a scary one. But read all the way down to the red print at the bottom and I’ll give you a boatload of hope about college.
1. “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”
This statement is completely and utterly false. Let’s all be honest for just a minute. Don’t you know people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Let’s get even more honest. Don’t you actually know many, many, many people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Why do we purposely scare kids with this lie?
2. “You, of course, shouldn’t even consider technical school.”
The bias against technical school gets communicated to kids from the age of 12 on up in a thousand insidious ways.
The subtle message kids hear is: “Tech school is for kids who aren’t as smart as you.” “Tech school is for kids who can’t get into real college.” “We won’t even show you a catalog of job training programs available at a technical school. We don’t care if tech school would empower you to make really great money after only two years of training. We won’t even suggest the possibility of going to technical school first and then perhaps four-year college after that. You’re smart and you come from a good family — that automatically means four-year college or university for you.”
(To see my post on “Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by Not Going to College?” click here.)
3. “Of course you’re going to take out $40,000 in student loans to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to pay those loans back with the excellent job you’ll get after you graduate.”
The dad waited in a long line to get to shake my hand. He was beaming.
“We squeezed into a packed high school auditorium to hear you speak about scholarships last year,” he told me. “You inspired my son to go home and apply for 20 scholarships he thought he’d never get. He won eight of them, and now has over $20,000 extra to help pay his college bills. I just wanted to say thanks.”
I beamed back at him. Nothing excites and energizes me like seeing students achieve things they thought they never could. And when they rake in the scholarship money? That’s the best feeling ever.
Winning college scholarships is only one very small piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting kids through college debt free. In all honesty, other strategies that I provide to parents can net even greater return for families.
If you want to maximize scholarships, though — here are just a fraction of the scholarship strategies I recommend for students and parents.
1. Don’t assume your kid won’t qualify for scholarships because of grades or test scores.
In 2015 I wrote about how some students could end up wealthier and happier by not going to four-year college after high school. It was a life-changing post for many. If you missed it, be sure to read it here.
But what about this great idea? Your kid could go to community or technical school in a fantastic, in-demand career field for two years and gain excellent, immediately-employable job skills . . . and then start work on a bachelors degree in a related field at age 20.
“Wait, a minute . . .” I can hear you objecting. “Who wants to go to college for six straight years, and not get finished until age 24? The credits my kid would earn in technical school probably wouldn’t transfer to a four-year college, right?”
You’re right, college credits don’t generally transfer from technical schools to 4-year bachelors degree programs. But imagine this. What if your 18-year-old teen had already completed two full years of bachelors degree college credit in high school at state expense — as I explain in this webinar? That teen could complete two years of technical school between age 18 and age 20, and then finish up a bachelors degree between the ages of 20 and 22.
But wait — the news gets even better!
If your child graduated from a Minnesota high school in 2016, the very valuable technical school education I’m talking about may be FREE for him or her — even if your family income is well above average.
If you’re going to help your child access this benefit, though, there are several things you need to know right now.
“Jeannie, are you serious? We need to talk to 6th graders about career?”
Yes. And if not in 6th grade, then as soon as possible after that. Why? Because when your child is in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, his or her brain is growing faster than at any time since infancy.
Whatever you tell your daughter now — whatever she experiences — will imprint on her powerfully, very likely staying with her into high school, college, and adulthood. This is why I am so emphatic about teaching middle schoolers college study strategies like how to use a calendar and how to use the time-saving “quiz and recall method” for college level studying. (You can see the emphatic post I wrote on this subject here.)
What should we be telling middle schoolers about career?
1. “Wow; you’ve got some outstanding natural abilities that are going to help you have a great career when you’re an adult!”
3. “In the old days college kids used to take random college classes to see what careers they might interested in. Ha ha ha — people don’t do that anymore. That career strategy never really worked anyway — and these days college is way too expensive to do that.”
In that post I asked my readers to complete a short survey designed to help me be sure that my book covers absolutely everything parents need to know about getting kids age 13-22 through college debt free.
The number of responses I got to that survey was absolutely overwhelming!
I got at least 60 times as many responses as I ever expected. I feel stunned and humbled that so many people took time to jump in and help me with this! If you were one of my responders — thank you so much!!! For those of you who typed in detailed questions for me, I’ll be answering those in my future free email newsletter articles — so make sure you’ve subscribed using the form on this site and are opening my email newsletter every week.
(If you haven’t yet taken the survey, it’s not too late. You can still let me know your biggest questions about debt free college by clicking here.)
Here’s a sneak peek at the top five biggest questions parents and grandparents are sharing with me — along with my responses: