By Stephanie Welder
For parents, the most worrisome aspect of college admissions is finding colleges that are affordable. We hope that chosen schools will offer significant money that won’t have to be paid back. Parents also wonder where they can find outside scholarships to supplement college-based aid. Here is useful information that will help you find the money you need.
- College-sponsored grants and scholarships are usually benchmarked according to GPA and standardized test scores. At the first benchmark, a student receives $X. At the second benchmark the student receives $XX, and so on. It is therefore beneficial for students to keep up their grades and to make the most of their test prep so they can maximize their SAT or ACT scores.
- Students can begin to apply for non-college affiliated scholarships as soon as they are 13. Money is held until the student matriculates at a college. Start applying early!
- Each scholarship has its own requirements and application due date. There are closing dates from January through December, so keep looking. Colleges That Change Lives has recently opened a new scholarship for seniors. The application, which includes submitting two short essays, is due March 1. Applicants are required to have the college they will attend send a copy of their admission letter directly to CTLC. C-Span’s scholarship is a video contest. Entrants create a 7- to 10-minute video on the contest’s chosen topic.
- Some grants and scholarships are just for one year and need to be applied for annually, while others are offered for multiple years. Keep records and reapply as needed.
- Finaid.org and the College Board’s website, Big Future, are good starting places to look for outside scholarships. Also, look into companies whose products you buy; some sports teams, as well as various local and national organizations, also offer college funding. Your independent educational consultant can give you advice on grants and scholarships.
And don’t forget: Never pay for access to scholarships even if the company guarantees to find you money!
Stephanie Welder, founder of Access College and Career Consultants, with locations in Exton, PA, and Cherry Hill, NJ, assists busy families in successfully navigating the college admissions process. There are great schools for all kinds of students where they can thrive, succeed, and prepare for the working world. More blog posts are available on her website, www.accessguidance.com.