Home schooling is a burgeoning industry. There are more options to complete high school than the traditional public school. More than 2 million students are completing their education online and through other curriculums from home. Scholarships for home-schoolers abound in many different areas, including art, architecture, mechanics and information technology.
Benefits of Home Schooling
Most states have accredited home-schooling programs. These can get overlooked by those who are used to home schooling as well as admissions officials or others who may not know much about the home schooling process.
As home-schooled teens transfer to higher education roles, they are confronted with the same types of challenges that conventional high school graduates have. The tuition to get into top colleges can be expensive. When the tuition exceeds a family’s budget, financial aid and grants for home-schoolers are an excellent alternative.
Types of Home-School Scholarships
Most scholarships don’t specifically exclude home-schooled students, so don’t feel that you shouldn’t apply simply because the scholarship doesn’t mention home-schoolers or uses language that may sound exclusionary.
Pell Grants and scholarships for home-schoolers are available for any student who can meet the requirements. Merit scholarships can fill the gaps that federal assistance may leave so that the student isn’t stuck footing a big bill for college.
Home-School Scholarship Application
The application you send in for a scholarship is a passport to riches. It contains many important facts as well as your dream of receiving those helpful education funds.
A good scholarship application will contain:
- A concise, moving and well-crafted essay
- Recommendation letters
- Scholarship motivation letter depending on the application guidelines
- Relevant grades, test scores or transcripts
How to Write a Good Scholarship Letter
To craft a good letter for your scholarship, you should acquaint yourself with the process. Make a list of your past accomplishments as well as your goals. Make sure to be specific with your goals for school as well as how you plan to use your degree.
Recommendation Letters for the Win
Asking for recommendation letters can seem like a lot of effort with minimal payoff. However, a recommendation letter or multiple letters can greatly improve your chances of getting a scholarship.
A good letter can help you stand out and be memorable to a scholarship board. It offers insight about your character, work ethic, accomplishments and personality from a third party. They can boast about your achievements and qualities in real-life situations or within a competitive classroom setting.
How to Ask for Recommendation Letters
It can be stressful to ask someone to write a glowing letter about you. However, a professional person or professor will have experience in writing recommendation letters and will often be glad to assist ambitious students to reach their goals of higher education.
A good idea is to share the scholarship requirements with the person who will be writing the letter. Offer information about the organization that is offering the scholarship as well as any information that can help them tailor the letter to the interests of the board that will be deciding who will receive the scholarship funds.
Who to Ask for a Recommendation Letter
If you aren’t sure who to ask for a letter of recommendation, consider your circle of associates. A list of people to contact to vouch for your character and qualities includes:
- Clergy person
- School guidance counselor
- Volunteer leader
- School organization leader
Tell them why you are asking them specifically to write a letter for you. Bring up any relevant information about why you chose this particular scholarship. If you have enough lead time and know the type of talent that a scholarship requires, reach out to community organizations and volunteer to get experience in the area that the scholarship embraces.
Scholarship Essay Tips
It can be a challenge to write a letter about yourself. A good essay can help you to get a strong foothold in a highly competitive and crowded scholarship pool.
Create a list of all of your accomplishments, awards, test scores and classes you aced if unusual or unique and the basic academic achievements that make you a good candidate for certain scholarships. Highlight how your talents and goals are a good fit with their organization or the concept behind the scholarship.
Before adding the essay to your scholarship application packet, go the extra step and have a professional letter writer, teacher or parent go over your work. A second pair of eyes is always good to find a simple mistake. Reading your own writing can be difficult, particularly when it is such a personal subject.
Basic Structure for a Scholarship Essay
Begin your letter with a brief introduction that quickly shows your personality and grasp of language. Concisely describe your goals and how this particular scholarship relates to you and your goals personally.
Outline your strengths and ultimate goals and add in any extracurricular activities that are related to the scholarship or add information about all that you bring to the table.
Scholarship Essay Tips
The scholarship essay is vital to the board making the decisions because it offers them a glimpse into who you are. Scholarships are not a lottery. They are awarded based on achievement as well as personality and perceived potential.
- Make sure your goals and creativity shine in the scholarship letter. What is motivating you to go on to get a degree?
- Always double check the guidelines for a scholarship. Make sure you have met all of the criteria and included all of the relevant information. You don’t want all that hard work to go unrewarded.
- A scholarship essay shouldn’t be lengthy. A well-crafted, one- or two-page essay is more than enough.
- Double space the scholarship essay for easy reading by the recipients.
- Use crisp, clean paper with one-inch margins on the top, bottom and sides.
Scholarships for Home-Schoolers
Most of the scholarships that are specific to home-schooled students require the recipient to start classes no later than the following fall and to have had some home schooling in the last years of high school at a minimum. They tend to fall within the range of a few hundred dollars to $2,000 or more in scholarship funding.
- The Craig Dickinson Memorial Scholarship – This is a one-time award of $1,000 to a student who has excelled academically. Students need to have been home educated for at least two years before graduating.
- Mason Lighthouse Scholarship – This is a one-time award of $1,000 given to an outstanding individual who has been of service to his home school, church or community. Scholarship applicants must be graduating seniors who were home-schooled for at least the last four years of high school.
State of the Arts Scholarship –
Home-schooled students who plan to study performing or visual arts past high school can receive $1,000 for their efforts. Applicants must have been home-schooled through four years of high school and show a proclivity for art, dance, music, theater and studio art among other creative subjects. Scholarship recipients must begin an educational program in an art school, college or university.
* Al Clements Memorial Scholarship – These two $300 scholarships were set up in honor of the late home-school activist. Students who have completed a minimum of two years of high school in a home-school environment can apply. SAT and ACT scores as well as community service at home and abroad assist students in achieving this monetary award.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.