By the Numbers
The book, Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice, upon which this quick guide is based, was written for all students who are attending or hope to attend college. The obvious students are high school seniors and current college students. However, if parents and teachers of elementary and middle school students embrace conversations about college admissions and financial aid, they have an exciting context for such conversations:
- How nurturing the gifts, talents, and interest revealed during elementary school can substantially expand college admissions and scholarship consideration years later
- How after-school and summer program experiences can be used to expose and enrich students in exploring their passions and developing their gifts and talents
- How course work, enrichment activities, and extended learning opportunities can provide opportunities for students to deeply explore their academic interest in ways that will make them well prepared and highly sought after in the college admissions process
- How students can use their natural gifts and talents to receive scholarships that allow them to pursue a broad range of college majors and future careers
Through such conversations, parents, teachers, and students will develop a better understanding of, and appreciation for, how the involvement of elementary and middle school students in such activities as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, summer programs, community service, leadership activities, and volunteerism can pave the way to thousands of dollars in college scholarships.
8 out of 10 students receive financial aid
According to the U.S. Department of Education report, The Condition of Education 2012 (2012, p 266):
- 85.5 percent students entering 4-year colleges and universities (41 percent) receive financial aid:
- 73.6 percent receive grants or scholarships
- 58.7 percent receive student loans
- 75.5 percent of students entering 2-year colleges and universities (27 percent) receive financial aid:
- 66.9 percent receive grants or scholarships
- 39.1 percent receive student loans
While most students will need financial aid, it may be impractical for most families to “save for college.” However, each family can make academic achievement a household priority, maximize each student’s gifts, and approach K-12 schooling with a focus on matching each student’s academic achievement and gifts with the right colleges and scholarship opportunities.
4 Scholarship Pathways
College and financial aid planning largely involves developing strategies in four broad areas, as outlined in A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams (Wynn, 2009, p 4):
- Academics: Course work, grades, and class rank
- Extracurricular Activities: Sports, clubs, student organizations, and community service
- Personal Qualities: Gifts and talents, achievements, circumstances, or overcoming adversity
- Intangibles and Other Influencing Factors: Ethnicity, gender, family background, and geographical area
How you apply yourself within the first three areas, combined with your intangibles, will shape your options and opportunities in the college admissions process and college scholarships competition.