Summer to teens is like a free pass to forget school exists and indulge in beach days, sleeping in, and video gaming until their thumbs demand a rest. But for college-bound students, taking advantage of time off from school to work on college scholarship applications is just plain smart. Students who have just finished their senior year in high school can get to work on scholarship opportunities for newly accepted college students, while all other students should get a jump on the game and apply for awards offered to students at their specific level in school.
For the summer-loving student in your household, here are five smart scholarship motivation strategies that will get them off the couch and on the road to winning money for college:
- Let’s Make a Deal – Write three scholarship essays and I will pay your cell phone bill this month. Money talks to teens, so take advantage of what means the most to them and make a deal that involves working on scholarships. A coveted video game or a gift card to their favorite store in the mall is a tantalizing prospect for today’s teen. Use this to your advantage and help them get a jump on the scholarship process.
- Know the Facts – Most teens have no clue about what college costs and how the family is planning on paying for it. Sitting down with real numbers of projected family contributions and the true cost of your teen’s dream school can be highly motivating and get them interested in applying for scholarships.
- Fifteen Minutes a Day – Let’s face it, fifteen minutes is not a lot of time to commit to. Ask your teen to work on scholarship applications for only fifteen minutes a day. What usually happens is they get involved in writing an essay or filling out an application and will be motivated to finish it, even if it means going past the fifteen-minute mark. Even fifteen minutes a day will add up quickly as the summer days pass by and you will be amazed at how many scholarships can be applied for using this method.
- We’re in this Together – Mom can find the scholarship opportunities and the teen can write the essays. Dad can fill out the application (name, address, GPA, etc…) and the teen adds to any personal sections. Working on scholarships together takes the pressure out of the process and lets teens know that they will not be expected to go at it alone.
- Dangle the Prize – Visit a college that your teen has on his or her prospective list as part of your summer vacation plans. Even driving through the campus is a fun way to get a look at where they might spend four years and spur them into helping to find ways to pay for it. Take it a step further and sign-up for summer programs at colleges to give them a feel for campus life and get excited about their future plans.
Summer break is a coveted time in any teen’s life and without the demands and responsibilities of school, a perfect time to work on college scholarships. Use the scholarship motivation strategy that best speaks to your teen and get them on the road to winning scholarships for college without nagging, eye-rolls, or other wonderful experiences that come with raising young people in today’s busy world.