Try for Athletic Student Aid. We aren't talking about the "Body by Nautilus, Mind by Mattel" tackle who can do the 40 in 4 seconds. Husky U. will find that person. We're talking about students who are better than average in a variety of sports, ranging from tennis to golf to lacrosse. A great many colleges seek people who can be developed into varsity material. The rewards come in two forms: outright scholarships or an "improved" financial aid package.
See The Winning Edge.
Try for an Academic Scholarship. Over 1200 colleges offer academic scholarships to students with a B average and SAT scores of 900 or more. Middle income folks take notice: Most of these scholarships are not based on financial need. If you are just outside the SAT eligibility range for one of these awards, take a good SAT preparation course. It may raise your scores enough to enter the winner's circle.
Don't Pass Up the Entitlement Programs. Billions in low-interest, subsidized federal student loan money goes unused each year simply because students think they are ineligible, don't bother to go through the paper work hassle, or just don't know about the program.
Go the Cooperative Education Route. Over 900 colleges offer cooperative education programs. Alternate formal study with periods of career-related work. Earn up to $8,000 per year during the work phase. It may take an extra year to win the degree, but it will be easier on your pocketbook.
In Looking for the Perfect College, Worry More About Fitting in than Getting in. Most colleges accept over 50% of their applicants, so unless youre applying to one of the countrys few truly "selective" schools, chances are, youll be admitted. Whats most important to your future, then, is choosing a college where youll be happy and successful.
Dont Waste Money on Scholarship Searches. Scholarships dont always reduce the amount you have to pay for college. Learn the truth about financial aid packaging. Then, if you still want to spend time looking for that big prize, do it yourself, for free! The information you need is floating around in cyberspace and is yours for the taking. Several companies (with very large, up-to-date databases) offer free scholarship searches. Others just give you lots of valuable information!
Visit With the Financial Aid Officer. The college financial aid officer will present you with a package of assistance that should, in theory, cover the difference between what college costs and what your family can contribute. If you feel the college really wants you, because you are a brain or an athlete or the child of an alumnus or can help with meeting other diversity goals, you may be able to get the school to improve the composition of the package. Your objective: To increase the grant component (money that doesn't have to be repaid) and reduce the loan component (money you must repay).
Understand How Financial Aid Works. By knowing the rules and the formulas, parents and students can plan ahead to maximize their eligibility for financial aid. This isn't unlike the method used for presenting one's financial picture to the IRS so as to qualify for the smallest possible tax liability.
Apply for Financial Aid No Matter What. You won't be considered for any other need-based aid unless you do. And many schools won't consider you for eligible for their own scholarships until they're certain you don't qualify for any of Uncle Sam's money. So Apply, apply, apply.
Be An Accurate, Early Bird. Be as accurate as possible in filling out financial aid forms. Submit them as early as you can. When resources are tight, it's first-come, first-served. Those who must resubmit their forms and those who are slow in applying come in at the end of the line. By then, all the money is gone.
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