When looking for scholarships online, I found an ever-shifting landscape of scholarship opportunities for military connected teens. I spent hours sifting through pages of links to scholarships; searching for scholarships that I was eligible for, that were current, and that had functional applications.
I was overwhelmed - not to mention frustrated - as I sifted through list after list after list of scholarship opportunities. It seemed like I was finding dead links and dead ends more than I was finding clear information that would lead me to applications for aid.
Part of the problem is that some scholarship resources aren’t updated often enough. This leaves a trail of no longer active application pages that are time-consuming to go through and examined for usefulness. The other issue with lists and databases of scholarships is that many are geographically based; unless the database takes that into account and organizes it in a way that allows the user to click directly to the applicable applications, it can mean hours of painstaking perusal.
And yet, there are many benefits of digging through the resources available. As military teens, there are many options to help us pay for further education.
In light of that, I realized that it might be helpful if I created a list of tips. Here is some advice and a few resources to help you navigate your scholarship search:
Talk to your sponsor(s). They may know of scholarships that their workplace or unit offer.
Find out if the previous places your sponsor worked at offer scholarships to children of alumni. For instance, the Army War College offers scholarships to children of alumni.
Look online, but don't forget to look local! You are more likely to receive a scholarship that accepts applicants from a limited pool - i.e. the military base nearest you, the chapters of military organizations in your area…
Side note: Some organizations, like some spouses’ clubs, may require that you or your parent/guardian be a member by a certain date for you to be eligible to apply. Checking early into the details of scholarships can pay off.
The Fisher House Foundation has an online database of scholarships that are open to military children. This database was more user friendly than most I encountered. It also allows you to input details about yourself and then helps sort through scholarships that you might be eligible for.
This link has both the Fisher House Commissary scholarship and a link to the database (which contains many more scholarship opportunities).
Lastly, apply! Consider taking the time to set up some sort of reminder that will help you remember to set aside time to complete the applications well before they're due. Trust me, it’s worth trying setting a reminder! :)