Why Teens Don’t Always Apply for Scholarships

Shifts in the views of parents with children aged 16 or younger about when adulthood financial independence should begin coincides with parents concerns about paying for college.    In Creative Marbles experience, parents expect to shoulder the majority of college costs, at the same time expecting children to contribute toward their education.  However, the shift in parents’ expectations about when adulthood begins may delay parents transitioning financial responsibilities to their children until later in childhood or not until the senior year of high school.  These delays can frustrate parents’ efforts to work alongside teens to pay for college. Many teens are accustomed to their parents writing checks for all activities and living expenses, without greater understanding.   Parents who want their children to share the financial responsibility of college costs must be willing to change this dynamic…over time.  Waiting to begin transitioning teens to greater financial independence until the Senior year of high school may not merit the results parents desire.  More than one parent shares that even when scholarship applications are printed and literally handed to a teenager, no action is taken.

Financial independence is a process, not a starting point corresponding to an age.    While 66% of young adults (aged 18-34) agree with their parents that financial independence should be achieved by age 22[i], that doesn’t automatically translate to action.   A parent’s work (possibly thankless) to teach children financial responsibility is a lesson that will serve them long after they forget the details of Homers Odyssey from their college English class.


[i] Pew Research Center, Young, Underemployed and Optimistic: Coming of Age, Slowly, in a Tough Economy, February 2012