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College Scholarships in 2022

While getting into college is certainly difficult, often times it is figuring out how to finance your or your child’s education that keeps you up at night. As the total cost of college continues to rise exponentially every year, it has never been more crucial to understand how to minimize the total amount of money you spend out of pocket. Financial aid is helpful, however it is largely driven by your “need,” (we’ll tackle how colleges calculate financial aid specifically in another article). This means that there’s little you can do to control how much money you receive or don’t receive. Scholarships in 2022, however, are more often than not driven by “merit,” which means you CAN control to a large extent how much money you receive. This means a higher SAT score, an eloquent essay, or a more specific activity list can increase the number of scholarships you win.

Who Awards Scholarships in 2022?

There are (for the most part) two parties that award scholarships: colleges and third party organizations (e.g. local companies, angel donors, etc). Boston University awards a “Presidential Scholarship,” which is a $25,000 tuition scholarship renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study. Most (but not all) college scholarships, like BU’s presidential scholarship, do not require you to submit any additional essays, scores, or interviews—by applying to the college you are automatically entered to win any of the scholarships that school has to offer. My best advice to maximize your chance to win a college scholarship is to confirm whether you need to submit additional information or a separate application to qualify for a scholarship from the school’s official website.

Third Party Scholarships

In addition to scholarships awarded by the college, there are millions of dollars in scholarships awarded each year by third party organizations. These scholarships can be relatively small in the neighborhood of $100 to covering all of your college expenses including tuition, room and board, and fees. Generally, the more money the scholarship awards, the more information you’ll have to provide. So how do you get organized? The first step is to recognize the fact that students who succeed in the scholarship process are the ones that apply to as many scholarships as possible. What I tell students and families to do, starting the summer before your senior year all the way through the fall of your freshman year of college, is set a regular weekly time dedicated to scholarships (e.g. Sundays from 8-9pm over the next 67 weeks are for scholarships).

Next, create a scholarship profile on the following websites: Scholly, Fastweb, Scholarship America, Scholarships.com, Cappex, Niche, and any scholarship platform the high school you attend uses for local neighborhood scholarships. These “profiles” often mirror your college application and as a result will ask you for an activity list, a few essays, your academic information like grades and SAT scores, etc. You don’t have to fill this information in for every scholarship, but rather just once for the profile. It’s very similar to the process of filling in information on the common application and submitting that common application to a whole bunch of schools.

How Many Scholarships Should You Apply To?

The beauty is that several third-party organizations will post scholarships they plan to award to one or more of these websites, which means once you fill out the “profiles,” all you have to do is hit “submit” to as many possible scholarships you find on the websites. This is about volume. Plain and simple. You may only win 0.5% of scholarships, but if you apply to 5000 scholarships over the  course of a year, that means you just won 25 scholarships I also recommend that every student pay special attention to scholarships that award large amounts of money, including but not limited to the Coca Cola scholarship ($20k), Buick Achievement scholarship ($25k), AXA scholarship ($10k-$25k). These scholarships will require more time and effort than simply hitting “submit” like the aforementioned and are drastically more competitive. Bake the effort required for these scholarships into your weekly schedule as you see fit, because winning one of these can pay off big. Lastly, if you believe you qualify for scholarships geared towards helping low-income families pay for college, please look at the list at this website: https://lowincomerelief.com/scholarships-low-income-students/.

All in all, remember that consistency over a long period of time is what will both maximize your chances of winning scholarship money but also ease your stress. The best advice I can give, therefore, is to set a regular schedule where you are “doing work” for scholarships. This could be putting together information for your profile, researching scholarships that may be the right fit for you, talking to a college to see what information is required to be considered for their scholarship and what the deadlines are for this information, or actually submitting applications. Doing a combination of these things with regularity and frequency will ultimately be the reason for your success.

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