Providing follow-up and support for scholarship recipients

Here are some ideas for follow-up and support for individuals and organizations that provide scholarships to students pursuing higher education.

Are you a member of an organization that provides scholarships for youth pursuing post-secondary education? Awarding scholarships to youth is a rewarding experience. It displays your commitment to invest in the future of youth. According to Michigan State University Extension, providing the scholarship is a valuable step in assisting youth to reach their post-secondary educational goals.

For scholarships that are awarded, is there a follow-up plan or program in place to provide other types of (non-financial) assistance for the scholarship recipients? FinAid provides some service ideas (under the subheading “More than Just Money”) to enhance the effectiveness of a scholarship program, such as:

  • Mentoring
  • Counseling and tutoring
  • Social, team-building and leadership retreats
  • Community-building programs
  • Alumni development

 When the scholarship is awarded, follow up and set an orientation with the scholarship recipient(s). During the orientation, provide background information about the scholarship provider and the guidelines and expectations of the scholarship. Also during the orientation, provide information to let the recipient know how they will be supported throughout their experience in higher education.

 Assist scholarship recipients during their years in higher education (college, technical or trade schools) by establishing and maintaining contact with them. Make an effort to find out how they are doing in classes and the other aspects of college life. Encourage scholarship recipients to write about their experience and share it with the organization or scholarship committee at the end of each semester or school year.

 As scholarship providers, get an understanding of the scholarship recipient’s career plans and goals. A scholarship provider, donor or committee member may already have a general idea of the scholarship recipient’s career goals from the application that was submitted or interview that was coordinated for the scholarship. This information can be requested from the student at the orientation.

 Why is an understanding of the career goals of the recipient important? As a support network for scholarship recipients, scholarship providers have a network and connections to different people who work in various careers. Find a way to utilize the career network to connect the students to different people in a career field they are interested in pursuing. This can lead the scholarship recipient to participate in career activities such as job shadowing or an internship to learn more about their desired career field.

 Students pursue higher education to become qualified for careers and open doors for more job opportunities. Students seek financial assistance to help cover the costs of higher education and make it possible for them to attend institutions of higher education. As scholarship providers, continue to support students financially. In addition to the scholarship award, find ways to follow-up and support the student during their years in post-secondary education.

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