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The Perils of Scholarships

To many parents, winning scholarships both rewards academic excellence and various leadership achievements, while subsidizing the total costs of college. Even though many high school seniors also desire the benefits of scholarships, many scholarships remain un-awarded. Understanding the timing of scholarship deadlines may explain why action doesn’t follow good intentions.

The time of year when scholarships are due is exactly when many seniors are exhausted from the college application process, anxiously await college admissions decisions, and battle Senioritis. Plus, the myriad, four-year stream of homework assignments and extracurricular commitments continues unabatedly. Thus, motivation to complete scholarship applications may be in short supply. Compounding the complexity, a willingness to lay their lives bare for strangers to judge is required. Their GPA and SAT/ACT scores, as well as their personhood in the mandatory autobiographical essay will all be scrutinized,to only possibly merit a reward. Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the scholarship application process, many seniors simply avoid the whole ordeal, and don’t apply.

Forthrightness can help families navigate the challenges inherent to the scholarship application process. Understanding can be built, when parents confess their desires for recognition of their child’s achievements, and possible pressures regarding college costs. In turn, students can mitigate the temptations to avoid scholarships by explaining the stresses of finishing high school, and airing their concerns about being critiqued. In the immediate term, compromise can be made to strategically apply for select scholarships. Knowing that nurturing talents is a lifelong endeavor, parents and students can continue working together.