The Parents’ Guide to Scholarships
Jan 06, 2018

For a child born in 2016, private education in Sydney will cost parents over half a million dollars.

A study conducted by the Australian Scholarships Group revealed that the trend is similar across all Australian cities with the national metropolitan average cost of private education coming in at $431,538.

While private education has several benefits, these enormous costs are not a viable option for some parents.

“With school fees increasing faster than incomes, it has never been more important for parents to financially plan for their child’s future as early as possible.” Independent statistician and Managing Director of foreseechange, Charlie Nelson told the Australian Scholarships Group.

Here’s where scholarships can make a huge difference. If successful, scholarships can range from covering the entire school fees, a portion of them or assisting in equipment costs for  part of or the entirety of a child’s schooling.

But as competition grows, applying for and attaining a scholarship is no mean feat. While requirements vary between schools, there are a few general similarities that exist across the board.


Types of scholarships

Generally, most private schools offer scholarships that fall into one of the below categories:

  • Academic excellence
  • General excellence – including academic performance, sport, leadership and extracurricular activities.
  • Excellence in a particular field like music or sports
  • Scholarships for students from rural area.

Apart from these fundamental categories, it is advised that parents review the offerings of private schools in their area to see if there are any additional options.


Increasing your child’s chance of success

While demonstrating financial need is certainly a crucial aspect of most scholarships applications, students will also need to demonstrate excellence in the field they are applying in. If this is sports, a commendable sporting record from a young age that clearly demonstrates both skill and passion will be beneficial.

Similarly, if your child’s talent lies in music, demonstrating a commitment to the field across a period of time is recommended. For parents, this means giving your child plenty of opportunities to hone their skills long before you apply for a scholarship. Getting private tutors or ramping up the opportunities available near application time can also be a good idea.

For those interested in general excellence scholarships, applicants need to show strong performance in academics as well as a commitment to extracurricular activities and strong leadership skills. Encouraging your child to take part in prefect programs or activities like debating, public speaking or Duke of Edenborough are recommended.


ACER testing

When it comes to academic excellence scholarships, many schools rely on the Australian Council for Educational Research. ACER creates scholarship tests that assess your child’s academic excellence across a range of core areas to determine their suitability.

If the school you are hoping to apply for offers scholarships via ACER, parents have the option of choosing between the following:

  • Cooperative Program: In this program, a number of schools choose to participate in a standardised test. All students interested in attaining a scholarship in any of the participating schools will sit the test on the same date and the results are sent to a list of schools that they have nominated as their preferred. This option is suitable for students who wish to apply to many different schools for scholarships.
  • Alternative Date Test: If the school you are interested in does not participate in the Cooperative Program, they will run their own test on a different date. Here, test results are not shared between schools so students will have to sit multiple tests if they wish to apply to multiple schools.

Although the application process can seem tedious and time-consuming, it’s undeniable that scholarships can go a long way in assisting parents in affording private education.