Help Your Students Manage the Scholarship Process

You know that old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink?” That’s not quite the whole story.

It’s true that you can show students a broad array of college scholarship opportunities—but you can’t force them to apply. What you can do, though, is understand the student mindset and motivations—to empower students to take charge of their scholarship-application process.

The Over-Scheduled, Always-On Student Needs Your Help

Today’s college students are digital natives. They live (and sleep) with their mobile devices in hand.

They’ve also grown up with ultra-engaged parents, who have been involved in their education since preschool. That doesn’t end when the student heads to college. With mobile, it’s common for students to be in touch with parents regularly—even daily.

“We have become aware that students increasingly seek someone to provide structure, direction, and praise in a way previous generations of students did not,” observed an Association of American Colleges & Universities Peer Review article. The article goes on to note how busy students are. They’ve maintained jam-packed schedules since childhood. Now in college, they’re juggling school, work, extracurricular activities, and a social life.

Students are under a lot of pressure—and extra responsibilities like managing a spreadsheet of scholarships requirements can be overwhelming. But they’re also very ambitious—with a very strong desire to achieve and make their mark on the world.

Here’s how you can you help them with that.

4 Tips to Help Students Manage the Scholarship Process

Scholarships fill vital gaps in financing higher education. By empowering students to investigate every funding opportunity they can, you’re removing many barriers to achievement and success—while helping reduce loan debt.

Here are four tips to help your students maximize the scholarship experience.

  1. Engage parents, too: Students discuss their lives with their families. Emphasize scholarship opportunities during any interaction with parents. The goal is for scholarships to be part of family conversations about how a degree could be paid for.
  2. Give clear instructions: Students want/need direction. Don’t just tell them there are institutional and external scholarships, then leave them to fend for themselves. Find—or better yet, create—a one-stop resource for scholarship information, and make sure prospective and returning students know it’s there.
  3. Make it easy: Students are very busy. They don’t have a lot of time to dig for relevant scholarships and apply for them. Again, a one-stop information source is invaluable. Streamlining your school’s scholarship application processes makes it less daunting for time-strapped students, too.
  4. Go mobile: Students aren’t just on Snapchat when they’re on their phones. They also use them to find work and financial, health, and education information. Is your institutional scholarship information mobile-friendly? Can students apply from their mobile devices?
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