Updated on October 7th, 2021
When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are hard to be. The money doesn’t have to be repaid and opportunities are fairly plentiful, often being offered by states, companies, and a variety of philanthropic organizations.
While the idea of getting money from scholarships is often appealing, the actual process of applying usually isn’t. It takes a lot of hard work to apply for scholarships, so you need to encourage students if they aren’t inherently motivated to get it done.
Luckily, there are things you can do to inspire your child to be more active in the scholarship search. If you are looking for ways to motivate your child, here are eight easy ways to get started.
And if you are curious as to how we find scholarships, check out our free training on how to uncover legitimate scholarships, “6 Steps to Quickly Secure Scholarships for College.” This training is geared towards teaching parents what they need to know about paying for college so that you can help your child avoid student loan debt. To see when we are holding our next training, go to https://thescholarshipsystem.com/freewebinar.
1. Motivate Your Child with the Numbers
One of the best places to start is to review some numbers to help motivate your child. For example, you can present them with a scenario to show them the impact of borrowing:
If your child lands $5,000 in scholarships for their freshman year, that means they can avoid $5,000 in student loans.
Over the course of a 10-year repayment, with an interest rate of 6 percent, they would end up paying $6,661 for that original $5,000. That’s $1,661 on top of the principal! And that only covers their freshman year.
If they have to take out an additional $5,000 for each of their remaining years, bringing their total amount borrowed to $20,000, then they’ll have to repay $26,645 over the course of 10 years at 6 percent interest. That’s $6,645 in interest!
In some cases, what motivates your child is tricky to figure out, but it’s hard to ignore numbers like that.
2. Encourage Students with Monetary Rewards for Applying
Monetary rewards are hard to beat if you want to motivate your child to apply for scholarships. Most don’t have a lot of cash, so giving them a little moolah for every completed application can encourage students to focus on their applications.
You don’t necessarily have to provide a lot of cash for every submission for this approach to be effective. Consider how long the average application takes and offer a dollar amount that is reasonable based on the effort required.
Even $5 may be enough to motivate your child to apply for scholarships more regularly. Just make sure that the amount you offer is affordable for you and is enticing to your student.
3. Connect Them with an Accountability Buddy
Sometimes peer pressure can work in your favor. In The Scholarship System, we provide students with a process for working with an accountability partner.
An accountability buddy is someone who almost functions as a partner in crime, though the goal is positive instead of risky.
If another person in your child’s class is also on the scholarship hunt, have them keep each other on target. They can have regular check-ins to monitor their progress and help each other find exciting opportunities.
It also gives them someone to bounce ideas off of who is in a similar position, which can be a great way to motivate your child and the other student to discuss their thoughts and form stronger essays as they apply for scholarships.
Ultimately, being accountable to someone other than a parent can be a big motivator. Most children don’t want to let their friends down, so, if they make a promise to someone in their social circle, they may be more likely to keep it.
4. Motivate Your Child with a Scholarship Party
In most cases, your child isn’t likely excited about the scholarship application process. However, if you create a fun event based on applying for scholarships, you might be able to build some momentum.
Consider coordinating with your child’s classmates and host a gettogether where they all come over and apply for scholarships. Have food and beverages available and a comfortable space for everyone to sit and work together.
The idea is to make applying for scholarships a social but productive activity. You can motivate your child and other students by providing refreshments while also keeping an eye on their progress. Every so often, host a “game break” and allow everyone to do something fun to recharge, ensuring that their stress levels stay low.
If you want to gamify the entire event, consider offering a reward, like a gift card to a restaurant, to the student who completes the most applications. A little friendly, low-stakes competition can keep everyone inspired. Or, you can provide them with a group incentive, like a trip to the movies once everyone submits a certain number of applications.
Even if you don’t want to do a big party, having a “Scholarship Sunday” with just the family can sometimes be enough. Grab some snacks and sit down around the table to knock out some applications!
5. Offer Them Cash Equal to Scholarship Awards
Another financial incentive that can encourage students to apply for scholarships is offering them a cash reward equal to the number of scholarship dollars they receive. In this scenario, you only provide them with money if they get a scholarship reward, which may motivate them to increase the quality of their applications.
The only risk of this approach is that it can add up fast. If your child really strives to land a lot of scholarship awards, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.
Make sure, if you motivate your child to apply for scholarships this way, that you have a suitable option for providing the incentive. While you could always back out of the deal, that would be a big breach of trust and could do long-term damage to your relationship.
6. Help Them Apply for Scholarships
One way to encourage students to apply for scholarships that doesn’t cost a dime is to help them during the process. You can perform scholarship searches, discuss essay topic ideas, assist them with organization, and be their cheerleader.
Sometimes, knowing they have support can have a significant impact on how your child perceives the scholarship process. Just make sure that you don’t cross from being helpful over to doing all of the work, as that usually doesn’t work out in the end.
If you want to know just how involved you should be while your child looks for scholarships, here is an article that discusses the topic in-depth: How Involved Should Parents Be in the Scholarship Process
7. Exchange Chores for Applications to Motivate Your Child
If your child usually does chores around the house and they view applying for scholarships as nothing more than a different kind of chore, consider setting up a trade arrangement. You can assign each of their typical tasks a specific number of points, such as one point for unloading the dishwasher and five points for scrubbing the bathroom.
Then, make each scholarship application they submit worth a certain number of points. As they apply for scholarships, they can cash those points in against a specific chore, meaning they won’t have to do it that day or week.
Yes, you may have to take on some of the chores yourself if you use this approach. But, if you want to really motivate your child to submit applications, allowing them to earn their way out of work they don’t like can be an excellent way to accomplish that goal.
8. Buy Them a New School Wardrobe or Dorm Essentials
If you want a reward system that not only serves as an incentive but also helps them get ready for heading off to college, consider purchasing them new clothes or dorm room essentials in exchange for applications.
Most students want to make a great first impression at their new school, so having a great wardrobe can be an ideal source of motivation. Similarly, dorm rooms are typically pretty bare and basic, so purchasing them additional items that can make their stay more comfortable is also a fun option.
If you aren’t sure what dorm room items you should look for, here are two articles that can help:
- Dorm Room Checklist & How to Set Up on a Budget
- 10 Amazingly Clever Dorm Room Hacks for College Students
Ultimately, applying for scholarships isn’t always fun. But, with the proper motivation, you can increase their excitement about doing the work. Plus, the more they apply, the more chances they have of landing an award. Even if it takes a financial investment on your end, it can be worth it if it helps them graduate debt-free.
If you and your student would like to learn more about how to find scholarships that can help pay for college, sign up for our free college scholarship webinar! We cover how to spot the scams so you can make sure your student is applying to scholarships that are actually worth their time. Join the next free training here: www.thescholarshipsystem.com/freewebinar.