While it may sound appealing to pay someone to do all of the research and documentation for a college scholarship search, it is perhaps best for the student and their parents to do the work themselves.
This is for several reasons; first only the student knows all of their own interests, activities, hobbies and relevant data. A typical scholarship search agency will ask about academic interests and career choices and may miss out on dozens, if not hundreds, of potential scholarship sources. For example, there are hundreds of civic organizations that make scholarship funds available to the children of their participating members. An agency may not take the time to ask for all of the relevant data.
A student should, however, make a comprehensive list of all the groups they and their parents belong to. Does Dad participate in a bowling league? Is he now, or was he ever a Scout Master? Is Mom a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution? Could she be? What about the student? Are they a member of 4-H? A list of all the groups and organizations will turn up dozens of scholarship opportunities.
What about the hobbies and interests of the parents and the student? Does the family watch NASCAR? Are they hikers that are members of a local or national naturalists group? Does anyone collect coins or stamps? Here too are hundreds of opportunities for college funding. Many local, state and national groups provide support to college students and their parents through prizes and scholarships.
What does the student do with this information? There are many free scholarship search engines on the internet, there are many publications that list annual scholarship opportunities and there is always the school guidance counselor who is aware of every local and state opportunity as well as the major national opportunities.
A second reason that a student and their parents should perform their own scholarship search involves family history. There are many groups that grant funds to people from specific backgrounds. For example, there are many Native American specific scholarships for students who can demonstrate their heritage and connection to a tribe or Nation.
Another reason a student should do all of the leg work for their scholarship search is to save money. Most search services will ask for a small fee, and with the cost of applications, materials and travel a college and scholarship search will all ready be taking a toll on a parent’s or household budget.
Finally, when a student performs their own scholarship search they are able to make realistic choices for application. They will know exactly which awards they qualify for, and which they do not. They can locate unique opportunities for themselves based on full knowledge of their parent’s and their own background and can find better success in receiving financial assistance.