5 Scholarship Tasks High School Counselors Can Complete Initiated looking for scholarships
High school guidance counselors are one of a handful who can offer stock Exchange help with the application. Unlike other sources of support, however, counselors have been there and have done so on numerous occasions.
Here are five specific ways their experience can help you secure scholarships for pay for college.
1. Refine your search: Your high school counselor should be up to date with the latest and greatest scholarship tools, including online aggregators and mobile applications. Most importantly, he or she can help you figure out how to search these tools for opportunities that match your characteristics.
Counselors can also be a boon offline. Given their experience in helping students in previous graduating classes, they could have already developed an aid donation pipeline from a specific foundation. The Saint-Louis Scholarship Foundation, for example, allocates funds each year to up to four future graduates of Normandy high school in Missouri. Unless you ask, you may not be aware of a connection your school has with specific donors.
2. Troubleshooting application issues: Although they may not hold a candle for college applications, scholarship forms may ask for practical details. They can take hours and ask you questions that you don’t know how to answer.
My mentee through the IMentor program, for example, enlisted the help of her New York-based high school counselor to fill out scholarship application forms as needed. A first generation student, he didn’t know much about his parents’ income, let alone how to find a tax return. The counselor worked with the student’s mother to determine what the request required.
You might want to rely on your high school counselor for more than just answering difficult application questions. The counselor could help you collect your transcripts, for example.
3. Help with letters of recommendation: Some scholarship applications may require references or even letter of recommendation.
Asking a teacher or coach to write nice things about you might not be your favorite task. But your advisor may be able to help you by considering who to apply and reviewing how and when to apply.
The counselor can know how many students are requesting letters of recommendation from a particular teacher or coach, for example. He or she might advise you to give a wanted recommender more time to complete the letter or push you to someone who is more likely to meet your deadline.
As you search for recommendations, be sure to ask your advisor for a letter. If you’ve developed a strong relationship with your advisor, he or she might be the perfect fit.
4. Brainstorming and essay writing: Like asking your teacher for help with classroom writing, there is no shame in asking your advisor for help with scholarship writing. Think of this person less as an advisor and more as a brainstorming partner. He or she can be your sounding board and your reviewer.
5. Preparation for interviews: Some scholarship opportunities that offer great rewards, including the full round Gates scholarship, interview the finalists before choosing a winner. These organizations will often want to meet with applicants before making a decision.
Your advisor can help you prepare scholarship interviews as if you were applying for a job. They might ask you questions to help simulate the experience and offer real-time feedback and advice. It’s better than training in front of the mirror.
Don’t overlook the expertise of high school guidance counselors, even if college preparation isn’t 100 percent of their job description. Make a permanent appointment and get help building your bridge to college.