How Parents Can Motivate Their Kids to Obtain Scholarships
As the parent of a child who was just accepted to college, you're likely to experience a variety of emotions like pride, excitement and nostalgia. Your "baby" is preparing to leave the nest and take the first substantial step towards adulthood. As you begin to enjoy this great moment, you also need to ponder who will foot the bill for their college education.
The first step is an honest conversation with your child about college and all related expenses. Develop a budget regarding the amount of money that's required for college, being certain to account for peripheral expenses such as trips home, clothing, extra-curricular activities and toiletries. You then have a starting point for what sort of financial aid is required. You need to let your child understand that they are primarily responsible for meeting this budget, but that you will assist in any way that you can.
Because some teenagers may be procrastinators by nature, you will need to provide serious motivation to get them moving in the right direction. In the same way that many parents use positive reinforcement or a bit of bribery to aid in toilet training, doing chores and getting good grades in school, the same basic principles can apply even as your child is now on the border of adulthood.
If you have the economic means, one option available is to match a percentage of the college scholarship dollars received. For instance, if your child gets a scholarship valued at $1,000, you can contribute 10% yourself. If you'd like, you can put your percentage into a separate checking account for your child to use as spending money at college.
You can also assist in finding financial aid for your child with an agreement contingent upon them completing scholarship application piece themselves. This will prevent them from spending too much time searching online and instead devote effort to the more tasking component of completely the paperwork. Another option is to give them a pass on household chores if they promise to use that time to submit scholarship applications instead. As an example, instead of doing dishes after dinner each evening, they can spend that time completely applications.
Another way to motivate your child is to make scholarship searching a mission the two of you attack together - make it a nice bonding experience. You should set aside some time each week to go to lunch, discuss the scholarship hunt and provide ideas on new avenues to explore.
Lastly, motivate them by celebrating each scholarship they receive, whether small or large. This can be as elaborate or simple as you would like, as long as the essential message that your child receives is that you're proud of them and all of their efforts. Nothing motivates continued positive action like a little pat on the back along the way.