Guidance counselors help their students enter the next stage of life and fly on their own in a number of different ways. One way a guidance counselor can help is by assisting students in locating scholarships and filling out scholarship applications.
While it varies greatly based on the institution, the average college tuition in the United States costs $35,720. Expensive tuition can deter intelligent students from moving forward without the help of scholarships. Here are six ways school counselors can help seniors with scholarships.
1. Point Out Student’s Strengths
As part of the scholarship application process, a student will need to point out her accomplishments and strengths. However, many students suffer from insecurity and could use some help in this area.
Talk to the student about what stands out throughout their academic career. Some qualities scholarship committees look for include::
- academic aptitude (measured by GPA and ACT score)
- work experience (work/school balance)
- community involvement (clubs, volunteer experience, etc.)
- artist ability (band, theater, art, writing)
- personal accomplishments at home
2. Locate Applicable Scholarships
Most students know how where to start looking for college scholarships, especially ones that best apply to them. There are a lot of scholarships out there, and it can be difficult for students to sort through them all.
Guidance counselors can help find scholarships that are suited to the specific student in question. For example, many women can benefit from scholarships specifically designed to encourage young women in education, such as the Nancy Etz Scholarship. Of course, the guidance counselor should also take a minute to ensure the student meets the requirements.
3. Go Through Application Process Together
The application process can get confusing at times. A guidance counselor can walk the student through the process to ensure that they complete the application accurately and in full.
Every detail on the form must be filled out correctly. As a guidance counselor, you can clarify the student’s GPA and go over what they plan to major in, as these questions on the form will hold a lot of weight to the people deciding on who gets the scholarship.
Some forms may require signatures or initials in multiple places, so it’s best to double-check that the student didn’t miss anything. The applications may also require specific documents, and a guidance counselor should make sure the student has all necessary documents before putting the application envelope in the mail.
4. Proofread Essay
The essay is one of the most important aspects of the scholarship application. School counselors can help the student pick the best topic and edit their essay.
First, the student should pick the topic. A guidance counselor can give input on the topic to make it something that will appeal to the committee. Cliché topics can bore the panel, so it’s important to stand out right away. This also applies to the very first sentence. The first sentence should invoke emotion and earn the attention of the reader. The student should try to maintain this momentum throughout the essay by using strong, clear language. Finally, they will end strong with a positive message.
A guidance counselor should make sure the essay follows all requirements and leaves the reader with a good feeling at the end. They should also help proofread it since grammar and spelling mistakes can negatively impact the impact of the essay.
5. Clarify Expectations
A guidance counselor should manage expectations at the end of the application process by clarifying when a decision will be made and the likelihood of acceptance. Some scholarships have very low acceptance rates, and a guidance counselor should explain that, while statistically unlikely, the student still stands a shot. The guidance counselor can also explain that this acts as practice for applying to different jobs and opportunities in the future. The student should walk away knowing that it’s always worth the time and effort to try for even difficult possibilities.
6. Build Confidence
A guidance counselor should give the students confidence in themselves and their future at the end of the application process. They should let the student know the positive qualities they witnessed over the years as well as potential careers that suit the student’s personalities and skillset. This will give the child a positive outlook about their future and the confidence to believe in themselves in whatever they want to do.
Guidance counselors should start preparing students for college at the very beginning of high school, encouraging good grades and community involvement with future applications in mind. When the time comes, it’s a beautiful thing to watch a child grow and go for their dreams.