Scholarships: Cross t’s and dot your i’s

VAluable: Scholarships are a tremendous help to families and can be awarded for a variety of reasons. To increase chances of success check with the school early and ensure you understand exactly what is required. Photo: Shutterstock
VAluable: Scholarships are a tremendous help to families and can be awarded for a variety of reasons. To increase chances of success check with the school early and ensure you understand exactly what is required. Photo: Shutterstock

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To help make education more affordable for families, many schools offer a variety of scholarships. They are a means of helping cover the cost of a student’s learning by rewarding achievements and outstanding effort.

Scholarships can be awarded for range of reasons: academic performance, sporting talent, music, dance, drama, art, community involvement, leadership potential or financial circumstances – the list is endless.

The financial contribution scholarship offer will also be diverse, with full tuition or part tuition often provided. Many are for certain periods of time, such as a year or two, and may have to be reapplied for when they lapse.

It is also valuable to enquire whether you can apply for more than one scholarship, and whether you are able to reapply once you have been fortunate enough to receive your first scholarship. Without exception, a student who receives a scholarship must then meet the relevant criteria set out in documentation. Continuation of this type of financial support is conditional on a certain level of performance, so don’t slack off once you are given the good news.

If parents and carers are hoping to put their child’s name forward for some financial assistance, it is imperative to get organised and make note of the time frames in the process.

Across the board, scholarships are highly sought after and the process is usually strict in terms of deadlines – late applications are rarely accepted.

So, to give your child the best chance of success you must be aware of a school’s scholarship systems. 

First things first, make contact with the school/s you are hoping your child will attend and enquire about what scholarships they offer. Make sure this is done long before you child will be walking through the school doors – because most scholarship processes begin a year or two before they are to actually be used.

It will be of no use chasing up information in November before your child starts the following February.

Scholarship processes may require:

  • an application form and fee (usually non refundable)
  • an ability test, performance or portfolio presentation (for the arts) 
  • character references
  • interviews with school personnel.

Some tips to success:

  • check who was awarded the scholarship in recent years. Ask them about what they thought of the process and whether they have any advice.
  • treat the application like and assessment/assignment. Get it done early. Check it meets the criteria. Get someone else to read over what you have prepared and make sure all attachments are included.