One strategy for financing college that often goes overlooked is getting someone else to pay for it. How do you do that?
Every child in need of college money should apply for scholarships and grants. Even a student with average grades.
"The myth is that you have to have an amazing GPA or SAT score to win a merit-based scholarship," says Ben Kaplan, founder of ScholarshipCoach.com and author of "How to Go to College Almost for Free." "That thinking takes people out of the running."
Students who are otherwise gifted can win money from nonacademic scholarships, such as essay contests, community service scholarships and awards based on artistic or athletic skill.
While winning a scholarship usually isn't guaranteed, you can maximize your child's chances by having Junior follow several simple steps.
|Winning money for college|
|Get organized in your hunt for scholarships and grants by taking these steps.|
Utilize national scholarship databases. Web sites such as FastWeb.com, CollegeBoard.com and Scholarships.com provide a list of scholarships a student is eligible for based on information entered in a personal profile.
But no single database is comprehensive, according to Kaplan. Smaller scholarships are underrepresented on national databases, he says, because these large Web sites count on scholarship programs submitting their own information to the database. Smaller programs simply aren't organized enough to send in their program materials.
To find these smaller scholarships, which often offer better odds to entrants, tap your local resources.
Apply early. "Many people think of applying for scholarships when the kid is a senior in high school, but there are lots of scholarships for younger grades," says Mark Kantrowitz, who is the Finaid.org publisher and director of advanced projects for FastWeb.com. FinAid keeps a list of scholarships available to young kids, which includes everything from essay contests to a creative peanut butter sandwich contest.
"Many awards require advance preparation," he says, citing the Intel Science Talent Search as an example. The contest requires the student to complete a science project. So, it makes sense to search early in order to identify the prerequisites of a scholarship.
|-- Posted: Sept. 17, 2007|