Mistakes that Can Rob You of Scholarship
Education is expensive, now more than ever
For many young people, getting financial aid or a scholarship is the only way they can afford to get an education. However, colleges are not very enthusiastic when it comes to parting with money. You will only be able to get support if you understand how the system works. Going in blind, your family and you are likely to make several critical mistakes that will rob you of financial support. Here is a list of things to avoid.
Only applying to your dream school. Now, I’m not saying that you won’t get into your dream school. However, the more options you have, the more likely you are about to succeed. Many people see the process of college application as colleges bestowing them with a privilege to set their unworthy feet on campus. This cannot be further from the truth. Educational institutions are there to provide a service that you will be paying for, so apply to as many as you can and show schools that you have options.
- Skipping the “intimidating” schools. Some colleges have reputations as either being too expensive, too prestigious, or too challenging to get into. The trick is to ignore these stereotypes and apply anyway. You’ll never know the actual price tag without doing some research first. Some private schools may post staggering prices like $55,000 dollars, but with aid, scholarship opportunities, and on campus work engagement it will eventually be reduced to $25,000, while a public school with a $40,000 starting price will only provide a $5,000 loan.
- Delaying the planning. This may be a bit of a lost opportunity for most. Most families don’t start thinking about colleges till the senior year. However, if you really want that glorious financial aid, you should really plan in advance. In addition to your academic performance, certain extracurricular activities will increase your chances of getting scholarships. Volunteering, art competitions, sports, and even pageants can help you pay for education.
- Getting distracted. There are so many things a young person may care about more than the financial aid application process, but if you don’t want to spend the next ten year after graduating paying off loans, you better keep your eyes on the prize. It is also good training for when you’ll have to file your taxes as an adult.
- Going after small opportunities. It’s true that there are some scholarships that remain unclaimed simply because people don’t know about them. However, those funds usually provide an infinitesimal amount of money. Focus on financial aid instead.
If all these rules seem a bit overcomplicated you can always employ one of financial aid services that know all the hidden pitfalls of the process. They don’t usually charge more than 5% of the money saved, so that’s a good investment. Whatever you decide to do, good luck on your application process and have a great experience in college.