Scholarships

Don't pass up a full ride

Don't pass up a full ride

Let's be clear: getting a full scholarship is very rare. Fewer than one percent of college applicants end up getting to go for free. It takes more than just being a good student who wrote a good application essay. But still, one percent is still thousands of students a year, so you may want to do some thinking and planning, just in case.

Here's a simple rule to help you know how to think about full scholarships: you should not pass up a full ride. If you apply to a school and they offer you a full scholarship, go to that school.

Asking for more financial aid

Asking for more financial aid

Now is the season when acceptance letters begin to arrive for a lot of seniors, and with acceptances come financial aid packages. (Remember: you never know how much a university is going to cost you until you apply and get accepted.)

The bad news is that very few students receive "full ride" scholarship or aid packages that cover everything. The most-quoted number I could find was about 20,000 per year, or 0.3% of applicants, though that number is possibly outdated. The NCAA says about 2% of high school athletes get college scholarships.

The good news is that around 88% of students do get some sort of discount. If you get an aid offer that isn’t a full ride, you probably want more. You may need more, but needing and wanting can be different. How do you ask for more money?

Thinking about scholarships, part two

Thinking about scholarships, part two

Last week I wrote about scholarships and a few big-picture guidelines to use when searching for funding. Think like a donor to understand why the big money is probably going to be at the college itself. Look to the organizations you already belong to. Understand how much you need and what you’re willing and able to do. This week I’d like to give three specific examples of what I’m talking about to see how this works.

Thinking about scholarships, part one

Thinking about scholarships, part one

The whole college admissions process—choosing which colleges to apply to, completing the applications, waiting for responses, and making your final choice—is often overwhelming. Figuring out how to pay for college is even more overwhelming. We’re aware that there are scholarships available, but we don’t always know how to find them, how to evaluate them, how to apply for them, and even if they’re actually worth it. There’s a lot of complexity, and each individual’s situation is different, so it’s difficult to make a few simple rules for everyone to follow.

What if you get a full ride?

What if you get a full ride?

Let's be clear: getting a full scholarship is very rare. Fewer than one percent of college applicants end up getting to go for free. It takes more than just being a good student who wrote a good application essay. But still, one percent is still thousands of students a year, so you may want to do some thinking and planning, just in case.

Here's a simple rule to help you know how to think about full scholarships: you should not pass up a full ride. If you apply to a school and they offer you a full scholarship, go to that school.

What are scholarships good for?

What are scholarships good for?

Early this October, as I was sitting in on a meeting of College Possible coaches, the program coordinator specializing in scholarships brought up this amazing stat: When their students got some sort of scholarship, 93% graduated college within six years. When there was no scholarship, only 45% graduated in six years. This is based on College Possible Minnesota's 2008 cohort, meaning their participating students who graduated high school in 2008 and have been tracked since then. So even with all the coaching and support that all College Possible students receive, getting a scholarship more than doubles their odds of graduating. This doesn't just mean "full ride" scholarships that pay for all of college, but any type of scholarship that helps make college cheaper. 

Statistics rarely have stories or explanations, so it's up to us to brainstorm some reasons why getting even a small scholarship can increase your success so dramatically.

Why you don't deserve a scholarship

Why you don't deserve a scholarship

You don’t deserve a scholarship.

I’d like you to stop thinking that you might deserve a scholarship. I’d like you to stop wondering if you deserve a scholarship. You don’t deserve a scholarship. I don’t mean that others do deserve a scholarship but you don't, I just mean that we should be very cautious about this concept of Deserve. It’s not the best way to think about scholarships.