Scholarship Guide for Parents
Information on scholarships, how to find them, and when to apply.
As your child prepares to embark on their college education, they are likely being encouraged to apply for different forms of financial aid, including scholarships. But the world of college scholarships and financial aid can be overwhelming. Where do they start? And how?
“Scholarships reduce education tuition cost, and unlike student loans, don’t have to be paid back, which can help reduce financial stress and allow more focus on coursework and student life,” shares Full Sail Admissions Project Manager Laurel Lucas. “If students are using financial aid to help pay for their education, any scholarship, no matter how small, can lower the amount of aid needed.”
It’s never too early to start looking for scholarships. But your child’s scholarship options aren’t just relevant during the enrollment process. That's because some scholarships can apply to things other than tuition, like reducing their loan debt, living expenses, and housing.
"You might think that once you're started, and you're active in your studies, that that window is closed. No, that's a window that's always open," explains Cameron Neal, Full Sail's Senior Financial Aid Manager for Student Services. "As long as you are active in your degree, be on the lookout, be applying for scholarships."
As for where to start, the options are vast. However, there are some tried-and-true recommendations, like this free, customizable search from Sallie Mae and Full Sail's Scholarship Guide, as well as some new ideas, like checking out scholarship apps like Scholly.
“Outside scholarships require time and research, but can definitely be worth it,” adds Laurel. “Full Sail accepts outside scholarship funds, and a few hours of work could yield hundreds, if not more, in scholarships. There are popular search engines that specialize in scholarship opportunities such as College Board, Fastweb, and CareerOneStop to name a few.”
Your child’s school of choice is another huge resource for finding scholarships you may qualify for. At Full Sail, your enrollment guide can walk you through your options (including a range of scholarships offered by Full Sail) and even give you advice for your best start date for earning the most funding. Don't forget to have them talk with their college advisor at their high school as well; some schools may offer college scholarships of their own.
Scholarships aren't made for just one type of student either. Each will have their own unique application criteria. Here are some of the most common types for your child to keep in mind as they look for scholarships:
Academic and Merit Scholarships
Academic scholarships are presented to students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance. They might be based on your child’s high school grades, SAT or ACT scores, or another standardized test.
Merit scholarships can be awarded as a result of a demonstrated talent, such as athletic, artistic, or musical ability; competitions in science, math, public speaking; etc.
Most academic scholarships will also require your child to maintain a certain GPA to qualify or keep their scholarship.
Community Service Scholarships
Usually associated with an organization, community service scholarships are awarded to students who volunteer for a specific cause or service. Some organizations may ask your child to complete service requirements prior to applying, while others ask that they devote a few hours a month to service over the course of their college career.
If your child is interested in these types of scholarships, help them find a cause that they’re genuinely passionate about so they stick to it for the long run and have a good time doing it.
In addition to being a potential avenue for scholarships, community service looks great on a resume once they graduate.
Does your child already know what they want to do after graduation? Look for scholarships specific to their future industry, job title, or the company they’d like to join.
These types of scholarships are usually funded by schools, alumni, or companies who wish to encourage the growth of a specific field. They're looking to invest in students who show an interest or talent in a particular type of work so they can ensure a stronger workforce down the road.
As with academic scholarships, these types of awards generally require students to maintain a good GPA, and funds can only be applied toward degree programs associated with a specific line of work.
These scholarships are determined by a recipient’s individual need. Since they’re usually based on income, students applying for this type of aid should be prepared to show proof of income in the form of tax documents or pay records. If your child is a dependent under the age of 25, your financial information may also be required for this type of scholarship.
Awards may be provided in the form of a lump sum, or they might be distributed incrementally by semester.
Scholarships based on demographics are wide and varied, though they typically provide aid to marginalized populations. Race, gender, income, geographic location, and family history are just a few examples of information these scholarships may take into account.
Many of these types of scholarships aim to support first generation college students. Others seek to diversify the workforce in certain fields.
Hobby or Wildcard Scholarships
Although less common, there are scholarships geared towards specific interests, hobbies, and populations. Get creative with your search. Is your child left-handed? Do they like to knit? What's their favorite book?
You might be surprised by the unique and hyper-specific scholarships out there that have nothing to do with the typical application requirements.
Finally, there's no limit to how many scholarships your child can apply for, so get to searching! For more information, download Full Sail's Scholarship Guide or contact Full Sail’s Financial Aid department.
- Emerging Technologies
- Our Grads
- Life at Full Sail
- Instructional Design & Technology
- Creative Writing
- Student Support
- What's Your Job?
- Real-World Experience
- Before You Start
- Digital Cinematography
- Film & Television
- Innovation & Entrepreneurship