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5 tips to secure a private school scholarship

It’s that time of year when hundreds, if not thousands, of scholarships open up at private schools across the country. The application period has kicked off at most schools, culminating in scholarship testing usually around February or March.

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If you’ve been toying with the idea of applying for a scholarship for your child, you probably have some concept of how daunting and time consuming this can be. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this hard. Requirements, eligibility, testing and discount level vary from school to school, but the objective is always the same; to make private education more accessible for families while attracting talented students to the school.

We’ve pulled together some tips to help you in your scholarship quest and hopefully save some valuable time in the process.

1. Find the right fit

Researching school options for your child when you’re not sure where to begin can absorb hours of your time. And that’s before you even start exploring scholarship opportunities. This can be an incredibly frustrating experience for parents. As one parent told us - ‘It’s a full time job!’ Up until now, the only option for unearthing scholarship opportunities was to dig around on individual school websites with each school having different requirements plus varying open, close and testing dates. School Places can certainly help alleviate this frustration. Rather than trying to source information across multiple school websites, we can help you find and compare scholarship information in one place.

There are many types of scholarships available, so a good starting point is to determine the type that best suits your child. Have a clear idea of why you want to pursue a scholarship and how it will benefit your child and your family.

2. Work your Network

A little social networking certainly won’t go astray if you’re considering applying for a scholarship.

In the case of sport and music scholarships, chatting to coaches and teachers to get an idea of your child’s scholarship prospects may help. Some schools rely on these mentors to identify potential scholarship talent.

3. Start Early

Preparing for a scholarship can be an extremely time consuming process. To ensure you give it your best possible shot, it’s crucial to be aware of application and test dates to be able to start preparing early.

Application periods are usually open for a handful of months. The application itself can often be quite involved, requiring copies of school reports, awards won and references from key people. If applying for multiple schools, each application should be tailored to the relevant school.

Sport and music scholarships rely on the student having a history of strong performance.

In general, schools open applications for key intake years 12-18 months before the year commences. For example, right now most schools are accepting applications from students for scholarships with entry to the school in 2018.

Allowing plenty of time to get your application together and being prepared for the testing required helps alleviate pressure on your whole family.

4. Get the Timing Right

Scholarship dates vary between schools, but as a general rule most start accepting applications from September or October each year and remain open until February the following year. Testing then occurs after applications have closed, usually in February or March. Some schools do offer an extended deadline but, if you opt to register after the official closing date, you will incur a late fee.

It’s vital you don’t confuse the application dates and testing dates. Whilst children don’t sit entrance exams until 2017, if parents fail to register or complete their application form by the required deadline, their children won’t be able to sit the scholarship test.

Most schools will use a scholarship testing company like ACER or EduTest. If this is the case, your child could sit the one test and have the results sent to your nominated schools. If you want to apply to multiple schools who use different testing companies or hold the exams at the school, you child would need to sit the tests for the various testing companies. So make

As dates vary, it’s important to make sure you are familiar with the key dates for the specific schools you are applying for, so put them in your diary! School Place makes this as simple as possible by listing key dates for each scholarship upfront.

5. Commit and Go for It!

Scholarships can help substantially with your child’s education expenses, with schools offering up to 100% remission on tuition fees. The rewards are certainly worth the effort.

Be ready to invest time and support for your child throughout the process. Your child only has one chance at securing the scholarship so make sure you put time into their application and consider additional tutoring to ensure they’re prepared for the upcoming tests.

Remember, you can apply to several different schools (bearing in mind that there are application fees involved) so pick the options that best suit your child’s strengths and go for it.

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