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Tips for finding scholarships for college | How parents can help

Applying for financial aid should be a family affair.

ATLANTA — When it comes to saving on the cost of college, experts say it’s important that parents remember it’s a family affair.

Financial Planner Dr. Michael Thomas of the University of Georgia’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences said leaving the job of searching for financial aid to a high school student can be risky.

“What happens is that later down the line, mom and dad find out son or daughter didn’t do the things they’re supposed to do and missed a deadline,” said Dr. Thomas.

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Thomas said instead of trying to grab big national scholarships, look local first.

“Mom and Dad’s employer potentially, are they offering scholarships?” he said. “What are the deadlines? Are there local businesses or organizations in the community that offer scholarships? Then you want to look for statewide scholarships, then regional, then national.”

Thomas said the more effort required in applying for financial aid, the fewer students apply, and the better your chances of getting some financial help.

Contact students at your high school who have won scholarships and ask them about the process.

“They’re going to be able to tell you this is what I applied for, this is the deadline, this is what I had to do to get it,” said Thomas.

You might even find a scholarship winner willing to share tips about how to write an essay and the information that’s key to being the next winner of that same financial aid.