5 Critical Things You and Your Child Need to Know About Applying for Scholarships

The idea of applying for scholarships can be overwhelming for students and parents alike. Many people have a range of misconceptions about how the scholarship process works, when to apply, where the money goes, and even if it will ever get easier. Luckily, there are answers to all of those concerns!

So, before you let the scholarship process turn into a giant black hole in your mind, our friends at The Scholarship System shared five things you and your child need to know.

  1. It Takes Work (but the Work Can Be Reduced)

We all know the adage, “If it was easy then everyone would do it.” Well, the truth is that the scholarship process isn’t always easy. In fact, it takes hard work and dedication. But this is a fact that actually works in your child’s favor.

By being willing to put in the time and the effort, your child is functionally in the minority. Many college students don’t try for many scholarships because of the work required, so they are facing less competition. And less competition means better odds of winning!

If you take the time to look for lesser known scholarships, you may find yourself with even more notable odds of winning if you are able to seize the opportunities.

The Scholarship System holds a free 45-minute online live training that shows you the exact steps your child needs to take to find hidden scholarships that have less competition and makes applying for scholarships less stressful. They’ve helped students secure over $624,000 in scholarships, which is kind of crazy. So we thought we’d share the training with you. Click here to see when their next one is being held!

As for how to reduce the work, keep reading!

  1. Your Child Can Apply for Scholarships Up to Their Senior Year (IN COLLEGE)

This point was no surprise to me but the founder of The Scholarship System, Jocelyn Paonita, said she kept applying long after high school.

She explained that another common point of confusion is based on the idea that scholarships are for incoming freshmen. And, while it is true that there are many opportunities for those looking to start their college adventure, it is also true that your child can apply to many scholarships up to their senior year IN COLLEGE (and beyond if they continue.)

Each scholarship is in control of the qualifications that determine a student’s eligibility, and many are available to undergraduates during any year of their education. So, even if your child doesn’t get selected for a scholarship as an incoming freshman, they certainly get another shot to apply during their sophomore, junior, and senior years. In fact, some are even available to graduate students, so they may be able to go on to that Masters or doctoral degree without having to pay the full cost out of pocket.

So, don’t stop looking just because the first round of deadlines passed, and don’t let your child give up if they don’t win the first time. Instead, have your child save those websites and schedule a calendar reminder to check back when it reopens next year. Then they won’t miss out on the opportunity to get more scholarship money the next time around.

  1. Winning Scholarships Gets Easier Once You and Your Child Know What to Do

Here’s another point where an old adage really says it best, “Practice makes perfect.” While the phrase is certainly cliché, it is incredibly relevant when it comes to applying for scholarships.

In the beginning, the scholarship process is unfamiliar, and even a bit scary. However, as more applications are completed, the easier it is to give the next one a try. And repeating the process this year also provides experience to build in next year, and the one after that, and so on.

So, don’t be afraid that the first ones aren’t perfect. It does get easier as your child moves forward.

  1. Some Scholarships Funds are Sent Directly to Your Child

Most students and parents assume scholarship awards are sent directly to the college or university that will be attended. While some scholarships do work that way (especially institutional scholarships), a significant portion actually sends the money directly to the student who won.

But, why would a scholarship choose to send the money to the student in the first place? Because it provides the winner some flexibility. And that flexibility applies directly to our next point.

  1. Scholarships Can Be Used for More than College Tuition

While most people associate scholarships with paying tuition, that isn’t necessarily the only thing for which the funds can be used. Sure, some scholarships are restricted to tuition only, but many can be used for other school-related expenses.

One of the most common secondary uses is other mandatory costs. Things like textbooks and required software can be incredibly expensive, but they are necessary to get through the classes. Scholarships that allow some spending flexibility are designed to make these costs more manageable as well. And, if your child ends up with enough in scholarship awards, they might be able to eliminate these costs entirely.

But that isn’t where it ends either! Costs associated with room and board can be covered with certain scholarship monies. That means no out of pocket expenses for dorm room, meal plan, or both. This means students can have their classes covered, books and software needs met, a roof over their head, and food on the table, all without spending a dime of your money.

That has to be the end, right? Actually, no, it doesn’t. Some scholarship money is paid directly to the student so they can use it in any way that supports their education. Need a bus pass to get around? Use scholarship money. Need to replace a subpar laptop? Use scholarship money. How about a haircut before they start their internship? Yep, scholarship money to the rescue.

And it’s this potential for flexibility that makes getting as much as they can in scholarship awards really worth the effort. So, what do you think? Still not worth the time and effort? Something tells me it is.

If you thought these tips were helpful, check out The Scholarship System’s free webinar for parents, “6 Steps to Quickly Secure Scholarships for College .” In her training, Jocelyn will talk about the process she used to secure over $126,000 in scholarships, graduate debt free, and now help thousands of families around the country secure money for college. Some of things she will talk about include:

  1. How your child can get paid to go to college, even if they aren’t Einstein, nor the next Tom Brady
  2. How millions of students miss out on thousands of dollars in funding every day without realizing it (and how to avoid that happening to your child.)
  3. How the click of a button could cost you over $27k extra for college
  4. The most powerful search trick that the founder of The Scholarship System used to bypass all the scams out there, saving hundreds of hours, and having a list of scholarships (they are actually eligible for) nearly handed to your student.

Click here to see when they are having their next free online training.

Ep. 59 Scholarship Success Story – Pam Andrews, The Scholarship Shark

Imagine having enough money in scholarships to cover your college and graduate school education, twice.  That is exactly what happened to Pam Andrews (The Scholarship Shark) and her oldest son.  With the tenacity, relentless pursuit and focus of a shark, keen

The Scholarship Shark

The Scholarship Shark

organizational skills and her son’s commitment to the process, they were able to secure over $700k in scholarships.  He is now attending his dream school in Florida, pursuing his animation/art college education.

This episode is an in depth conversation with Pam about their journey which started with the decision she and her husband made to homeschool all four of their children and encourage the benefits of education.

Pam talks about the challenges she faced all along the way and did not begin the scholarship process until her son’s senior year.  It was at that time that they teamed up and put together a plan to not only search for colleges, but pursue scholarships as a way to pay for them.

Her motto is: “Don’t just get in, get it financed!”

“Schools don’t want well-rounded kids, they want a diverse student body.  Be the best YOU!”

Here are her tips for parents of High School Juniors:

  1. 3-layer approach: Look for schools that offer Merit Aid/Merit Awards, then those that meet 100% of “UN-MET NEED” and then every eligible private scholarships.
  2. Get Organized! Go to local library and use the books there that list scholarships/reference
  3. Identify what your child wants to do (career exploration)
  4. Begin developing relationships with colleges that you want to or have visited
  5. Attend pre-college programs.  Great way to experience the campus and courses
  6. Start searching for scholarships NOW!
  7. Be intentional with your child’s last two years – find volunteer opportunities related to their career
  8. Watch those deadlines! Aim for two weeks before REAL deadline to get all of the info needed.

Links mentioned in this episode:

www.thescholarshipshark.com

ACTION ITEM: TEXT  Money4College to#44222-

to get on her email list for the upcoming book & e-Course

www.scholarships.com

www.fastweb.com

www.collegeboard.org

 

Ep. 58 Didn’t Get Enough Financial Aid? Here Are Your Other Options + Delaware Goes To College

didnt-get-enough-financial-aidWe want everyone who resides in the State of Delaware to know that Gov. Jack Markell cares deeply about  students going to college offsetting the high cost of a the education.  The State Department of Higher Education has partnered with several local high schools to present workshops for parents and students:

  • FAFSA Submission Workshop for Seniors – Thursday Oct. 13th 5-7pm @ Indian River High School
  • College Scholarship Workshop & Fair – Wednesday Oct 26th 6-8pm @ Indian River High School

Visit their website HERE for other schools that have events planned.

Also note that several Community Colleges in the State of Delaware are waiving the cost of college applications from October 17th through November 18th for Delaware residents.  This is a great cost savings. Visit the website for more information: delawaregoestocollege.org

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This episode is about what you can do when your financial aid runs out.  I came across an article from USATODAY that gives some guidance on this issue. There are many parents and students that we have talked to since starting this business and podcast that are in this troubling position in which they did not get their financial aid package renewed or the amount they received did not cover anywhere near the cost of their college.  You might be wondering what can you do at that point?  Here are 3 suggestions of how to deal with the gap between what the school costs and what you can afford:

1.       FILL OUT THE FAFSA NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOUR FAMILY EARNS – the FAFSA creates doors of opportunity for you to qualify for need-based aid, work-study assignments and institutional scholarships

2.       SPEND TWO HOURS A WEEK (MINIMUM) APPLYING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS –  We advocate looking for scholarships consistently and with an intensity as if it were a part-time job.  Don’t waste your time on sweepstakes, scams or other contests.  Invest in a specific plan to outline your skills, objectives and match them with the offers available online.  Ask your parents if their employer offers scholarships, start locally with non-profits and foundations.

3.       BORROW STUDENT LOANS WISELY – It pains me to even write this – BUT, If you have to take out student loans, READ THE FINE PRINT! Understand what you are signing.  Federal loans should be your first option, those that are subsidized don’t accrue interest while you’re in school and have flexible payment options. Then there are private loans, unsubsidized federal student loans or PARENT PLUS loans which have high interest rates and additional fees.

Links mentioned in this episode:

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP – The College Money Maze Community

State of Delaware Scholarship website

Essay Edge – We are an Affiliate Partner with them.  They are the PREMIERE essay editing service with Harvard Trained editors!

Ep. 57 College Applications: Early Action, Early Decision or Regular Decision

ep-57-college-applications

College Applications

College Applications can be time consuming and very overwhelming, especially if you are just getting started. In this episode of the podcast we discuss some new terminology in college applications as it relates to admission: early decision, early action and regular decision.

Here is an infographic which explains what the different terms mean to you and the college or university.

Each one of these decisions can impact your college career. Choose wisely!

Links mentioned in this episode:

College Greenlight blog

Princeton Review (discount on test prep courses)
$100 Off Ultimate Courses & Private Tutoring

 

Ep. 56 Colleges that Meet 100% Financial Need

Financial need picToday’s episode is a discussion about “financial need” and the colleges that meet that for you. This term means different things to different people.  To you, it may mean the total amount you will be responsible for in terms of college costs or expenses. To a college or university, financial need means the balance left after your EFC (expected family contribution) has been applied against the NET PRICE.

We call it – “THE GAP”.

Having a basic understanding of how colleges arrive at your need is critical.  Here are the formulas that are important to note:

TUITION + ROOM/BOARD + FEES= NET PRICE

NET PRICE – EFC (Expected Family Contribution)= FINANCIAL NEED

The blog – College Greenlight – has a list of the college that I mention in this episode that meet financial need.

Links mentioned in this episode:

College Greenlight @cggreenlight

FAFSA

Net Price Calculator

SAT Test Dates

ACT Test Dates

U.S. Dept. of Education College Affordability & Transparency Center

College Tennis Scholarship Stats

Related Episodes:

E. 52 The College Money Puzzle Part. 1: EFC & Net Price Calculator

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Ep. 54 College Diversity & Fly-In Programs: Have You Considered Attending One?

DiversityOn this episode of The College Money Maze, we talk all about college diversity and fly-in programs.

The programs are often called various things at various colleges: (INSERT SCHOOL NAME) College Diversity Day, Leadership Weekend,  Future Achiever’s, Overnight Program, Multi-Cultural Weekend, Explore Weekend, Discovery Weekend etc…

The list of names goes on and on.

This concept of college diversity & fly-in programs was first introduced to us by a friend of the show – Ms. Tamara Jones (you can listen to her episode here).  She found out about them when researching different schools for her daughter. They took advantage of this opportunity to visit a school, stay for the weekend to get more of an up close and personal feel for the campus to see if it was a good fit. AND IT WAS!

The College Greenlight blog publishes a list of the programs each year.  I am sure it is not an all-inclusive list because new ones are always added.  Also in the comments section of that blogpost, several people mention additional schools.

The other interesting fact is that they will often reimburse you for visiting the school (especially if you are accepted as a student). All you have to do is ASK.

After reviewing the list of college diversity programs, something was glaringly obvious.  These schools are mainly PRIVATE ELITE/IVY COLLEGES.  That tells me that they have created these programs to deal with their “lack of diversity” on their campuses and attract high achieving multicultural students who may not have them on their radar.

If you think that your local state University would have this type of program – THINK AGAIN. Your state University probably does not have a diversity problem.  They probably attract a wide variety of students. You be the judge and let us know what you think.

Links mentioned in this episode:

(Related Episode) Ep. 16. How To Start Planning for College…

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP: The College Money Maze Community

FAFSA

SIGNUP FOR OUR EMAIL NEWSLETTER:

we send you scholarship information directly to your inbox!

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Go to ITUNES and leave us a rating/review

Ep. 53 The College Money Puzzle Part 2: Financial Aid & Scholarships

The College Money Puzz;e-2

This is the second and final part of our series on The College Money Puzzle.  In this episode, we focus on the fundamentals of financial aid and scholarships.

Mostly, this will give you the last two pieces of the puzzle to gain a thorough baseline understanding of all of the money factors with getting into and paying for college.

Financial aid can be awarded in the form of State Aid or Federal Aid. The most important first step is understanding that completing the FAFSA is the only way to find out if you qualify for any type of financial aid and even some institutional scholarships. Here are our best suggestions about money, financial aid and scholarships:

  1. Complete the FAFSA entirely, correctly and timely (or early starting in October 2016).
  2. Be consistent with your information from year to year.  Your money situation may change for any number of reasons.  If so, be honest and clear and provide supplemental documentation if necessary.
  3. Find out if the school(s) you are interested in are also requiring you to complete the CSS PROFILE.  This is an additional financial form which asks more specific questions about assets, investments and household income or resources.
  4. The Common Application is a great way to say money by avoiding the additional application fees when applying to multiple schools. You pay one fee and apply up to about 10 schools at the same time (saves money) with only one or two essays to complete. Now high school juniors can create an account, save their data and update it when they are ready.
  5. The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success application has more than 90 member colleges (most elite, private schools).  Double check your colleges for which application they accept.
  6. The Common Black College Application is available for those that want to apply to HBCU (Historically Black College and University).
  7. For Scholarships, start early and local.  There are many private foundation, local clubs and organizations that offer scholarships. Search where you live first.
  8. Have your student develop a close relationship with their guidance counselor who is often the gatekeeper in the high school when it comes to scholarships.  They often recommend students for local scholarships for various reasons.
  9. Check with your employer, especially if you work in corporate that may offer scholarship money to the community and to the children of their employees.
  10. If you are not a member of a fraternal organization, I am sure you know someone who is.  Minority Greek-letter organizations focus on education and offer scholarships to youth.
  11. Do a general search on the internet by topic (Math, Biology, English, etc…). Use a major search engine to narrow down the focus.
  12. Try not to disqualify your scholarship application by not filling it out completely, answer all of the questions.
  13. Do not go over the word count. Have someone else review the essay.
  14. Finally, commit to at least 1 hour each day or time on the weekend to search and complete scholarship applications. Act like it’s a PT JOB!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Brown School Senior Wins $1 Million in Scholarships (Check out the video)

Ep. 50 Unique Summer Scholarships

Ep. 45 Gap Year, Alumni, What If I Lose My Financial Aid?

Ep. 41 Why Millennials can’t get State Financial Aid

Ep. 39 Winning $1 Million in Scholarships (Without being the cream of the crop)

Ep. 31 How to Win College Scholarships

Also listen to our 4-Part FAFSA Series (Ep. 25- Ep. 28)

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Ink Cartridges (Back to School Sale)
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Dr. Eric Thomas, Motivational Speaker (check out this YOU TUBE video)

The Secret to Success Podcast (w/Eric Thomas & CJ)

Ep. 52 The College Money Puzzle Part 1: EFC & Net Price Calculator

The College Money Puzz;e 1The College Money “PUZZLE” consists of four pieces – EFC (expected family contribution), Net Price Calculator, Financial Aid and Scholarships that when used “strategically” can help you figure out how to pay for college. This begins our two-part series to talk in depth about these pieces of the puzzle that are uniquely intertwined and interconnected. We will begin with Expected Family Contribution and Net Price Calculator.

 According to this January 31, 2014 Forbes article by Tony Onink, you
can have a household income up to $425,000 and still qualify for some financial aid.
  It is just a matter of the number of dependents and type of school that you apply to, either public/private as well as two-year vs four-year college or university.

In this episode, we discuss why you should know your EFC (expected family contribution) and use the Net Price Calculator to find out the “true cost” of the college that you are looking at.  Every college and university has some sort of calculator on their website, you just have to find it.  They don’t really want you to know what it will cost.  The “real cost” consists of tuition + room & board+ fees – EFC- Merit Aid/scholarships= balance or gap.  This gap is what you have to be worried about.

Your EFC will usually not change from year to year.  If you have more than one child in college, your EFC is split between the children.  That is a good thing because you will likely receive more financial aid as a result.  Stay tuned for Part 2 next week: Scholarships & Financial Aid.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Ep. 25 FAFSA Pt. 1: Getting Organized

Ep. 26 FAFSA Pt. 2: EFC & CSS

Net Price Calculator

SAT Registration

ACT Registration

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Ep. 51 Top 5 Tips for the Student Athlete

This episode of the podcast is a conversation with an experienced high school counselor, Student Athletestudent athlete consultant and business owner, Sonya Duval of Achievement Matters Consulting. She talks in detail about her experience working with students, her passion of helping them become “student loan/college debt free”, scholarships and gives tips for the student athlete.

 

Top 5 Tips for the Student Athlete

  1. Recruitment starts in the 9th grade for a student athlete (and even in middle school in some areas).  Do well all four years of high school as well as on your SAT & ACT tests. Grades are very important in the college admission process. There is a difference in being looked at by coaches versus getting accepted into college.
  2. Work on your athletic skills at the same time. Go beyond the everyday practice with the coach, put in the extra work to become stronger, better at the sport which shows your self-discipline.
  3. Ask your student athlete what they want to do in terms of their career before the junior year (major).
  4. Learn to NOT be a “REACTIVE” student athlete player. Instead, be PROACTIVE and seek out the schools and coaches that interest you. Don’t sit around waiting for someone to notice you.
  5. Develop an EXPOSURE PLAN. This is a plan to get YOU in front of people who could potentially offer you an athletic scholarships. Put together a PACKAGE which contains your athletic profile, your letter of interest for that school and highlight film.  This PACKAGE should be sent out in spring of their junior year (she gives an example of a email blitz of a student’s package to 70 coaches).

“Leadership and Character Does Count!”

Links mentioned in this episode:

Achievement Matters College Admissions Consulting

Follow Sonya Duval: Twitter, Facebook

TCMM Podcast Episode 50 – UNIQUE SUMMER SCHOLARSHIP BONANZA

TCMM Podcast Episode 15 – What it takes to be a Gates Millennium Scholar

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards – For Outstanding Volunteer Community Service

NCAA Guide for Collegebound Student Athlete

NAIA

 

 

Ep. 45 Gap Year, Alumni & What If I Lose My Financial Aid?

gap yearHave you considered taking a gap year? Today’s episode is a Q & A session with Mr. Thomas Holmes, a retired college financial aid administrator.  We ask him several questions related to a student taking a gap year, how do alumni advocate for their students and what happens if a student loses their financial aid?

His responses to our questions provide insight into the mindset of college admission and financial aid administrators.  He explains it from their perspective and gives you, the listener food for thought.
ed2go

Links mentioned in this episode:

Malia Obama & A Gap Year

Gap Year & Financial Aid

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Harvard & their alumni power

Work Study

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