Playing and Winning the
OK, you don't have a 4.0 GPA, you're
not the senior class president, you
can't throw a football fifty yards,
and your SAT scores aren't generating
letters or phone calls from Harvard,
Yale or Princeton. So, you'll never
qualify for a college scholarship,
Not necessarily. There are lots of
scholarships, and other kinds of financial
aid for which you might qualify. Some
colleges may offer you academic grants
with a GPA of 3.0 and SAT scores of
1000. Ashland University offers scholarships
to twins. Many church affiliated colleges
offer grants to students who are members
of their religious denomination. And
that's just the beginning.
Are you good at writing essays? If
you are, your writing skills may be
the ticket to a scholarship. There
is even a scholarship for students
who agree to abstain from using tobacco
and alcohol while in college.
You may even qualify for a scholarship
because of where you live, your last
name, your ethnic heritage or race,
or a disease or handicapping condition
you may have. Get the idea yet? There
are all kinds of scholarships, grants,
and financial aid programs out there.
Some require economic need or have
other restrictions, others do not.
You can search through hundreds of
thousands of possible scholarships
(free!) in more than twenty different
data bases at http://www.college-scholarships.com.
While you're there, you can sign up
for a free email newsletter with articles
on college admission, scholarship
and financial aid programs, college
survival tips, and income opportunities
for college students.
youll find scholarships given
by individual college to all enrolled
students meeting the listed criteria.
Student-athletes may visit http://www.college-athletic-scholarships.com
to find the information needed to
secure an athletic scholarship (or
an opportunity to compete in a Division
III or other non-scholarship program).
You should be aware that many private
colleges offer substantial scholarships
and grants in order to be more competitive
with lower cost public institutions
and/or attract students who might
otherwise enroll elsewhere. These
monies are often offered to students
with very little or no demonstrated
financial need. In fact, many private
colleges frequently "rebate"
30%-35% (or more) of their tuition
revenue in the form of institutional
financial aid. When these funds are
factored in, private colleges may
ultimately be little or no more expensive
for some students to attend than public
colleges and universities with lower
If you can demonstrate financial
need, as established by your answers
on the FAFSA
form at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ ,
you may want to apply to at least
a few colleges which meet 100% of
demonstrated financial need and do
so with a reasonable proportion of
gift aid to self-help aid (loans and/or
work-study funds). Take note that
although some relatively small number
of colleges will meet the full need
of all enrolled students, many more
will be far more likely to meet or
nearly meet the full need of stronger
Remember three words
research, and research. The more time
you spend investigating scholarship
opportunities, the more likely you
are to find scholarships for which
you may be eligible.
Don't let anyone discourage you.
There are lots of people "out
there," including some educators,
who are inadvertently spreading their
serious misconceptions about who may
qualify for financial aid and what
is required to do so. Most important
of all, do not fail to investigate
or apply to a college you like because
you think it is too expensive. That
is one of the most common and worst
mistakes a family can make. Remember,
you never know what kinds of scholarships
and/or financial aid you might receive.
However, just like you should have
"fall back" or "safety"
colleges in case you are not admitted
to your first choice institutions,
you should choose and apply to colleges
that will be affordable if you do
not receive the financial assistance
for which you hope.
Obvious as it may be, I feel obligated
to remind you to pay attention to
details and deadlines when applying
for scholarships because so many students
fail to do so. I could hardly believe
it when an independent educational
counselor who probably earns in the
neighborhood of $1,000 for helping
a student identify and gain admission
to appropriate colleges asked (on
an email list serve) how many words
above the limit one of her counsulees
could go on his college application
essay. Dont make the mistake
that she did by assuming there will
be no penalty if you come close
to the requirements or are only
a few days beyond the deadline.
If you dont pay attention, be
prepared to pay for your mistakes.
But, do it right and you have a great
chance of getting some scholarship
and or financial aid help. Good luck.
About the author:
Dan Rosenfield is a university dean
who creates educational websites as
a hobby. Among his sites is , one
of the most popular college admissions
and scholarships websites on the net.
You can reach Dan at .
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