Tag Archives: Scholarships

Questions of the Day – Scholarships and Visiting Colleges

Sorry for the absence guys, been working on a new blogging setup and it’s taking a lot more work then anticipated. Hopefully it’ll be up and rolling by the middle of the week, along with the 10 step guide to college prep. But for now, here’s the latest round of questions.

How do I go about finding scholarships for my child?

First thing to do is go to FastWeb.com and create a profile. See what your student qualifies for. Do the same at ScholarshipExperts.com. These sites list outside scholarships given out by companies and organizations which don’t come from the individual colleges your son or daughter is applying to. It’s quite possible that your student will not meet the requirements for a good majority of these non-institutional scholarships. Even so, with the thousands that are available, he or she will most likely be in qualification for several. The requirements are all different. Some are academic based. Others are need based. Still others required you to be a female of french decent living in Oklahoma. These obscure ones can be hit or miss. It never hurts to apply for any of them, sometimes the committee who decides who to reward them to will choose someone who doesn’t meet all the requirements, but only if no one else does either.

Your local public library is another good resource. Most libraries have numerous books on scholarships.

Make sure to fill out the FAFSA form to see what federal and state aid you qualify for. Although not technically “scholarships,” there are many grants available that don’t need to be paid back. Usually these are based upon academic merit or need.

Lastly, check with each school your student is interested in applying to. They will usually have a scholarship list on their website or course catalog. Look into this and see what you qualify for. You never know, you just might get the whole thing paid for!

When should we start visiting colleges?

Although it’s never too early to begin visiting colleges, I probably wouldn’t start until at least freshman year of high school. Make a list, along with your student, of the potential schools interested in, and try to attend as many open houses or preview days as possible at these schools. If you’re going to be vacationing or traveling somewhere near one of your potential universities, stop by to check out the campus. Meet with the admissions office to take a tour. make a list of your likes and dislikes. By senior year, hopefully the list will be narrowed down enough to be able to make a good decision.

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Questions of the Day – Top 5 Activities & Scholarships

This is a continuation of Dayna’s questions from yesterday. I’ll be answering one or two questions per day, as you guys ask. If you want more or less, let me know!

What are the five most important things that colleges are looking for, i.e. extracurricular activities, leadership, etc?

Now this is a tough question, and the answer can change based up certain variables. Is the student applying to an Ivy League school or a local community college? Does he want to go into computer science or pursue a liberal arts degree? The answer to these questions are vital in determining what the individual schools are looking for. However, all that aside, there are certain things that every student can do in order to best prepare himself for admittance to the top colleges and universities.
1. Grades. No matter what school or program a student is applying to, his grades will matter.
2. Test scores. Since most colleges and universities see home-schooled students as not taking an objective curriculum compared to their public or private schooled counterparts, standardized test scores are even more important than grades.
3. Public service. Schools want to see that a student has been involved and is giving back to the community.
4. Extra-curriculars. Just as important as the others, colleges want to see that a student is well rounded and not one-dimensional. Whether it’s sports, music, 4-H, Scouting, etc. extra-curriculars are extremely important.
5. Letters of recommendation. Most universities require 2-3 letters of recommendation from a non-family member. Remember those extra-curriculars and public service activities? That’s where these letters should come from.

What is the easiest way to find out about scholarship money and apply?

Each school has their own institutional scholarships, so it’s best to check with them to see what they offer and the qualifications. Fast Web is a great resource for outside scholarships and grants. Also, filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the best option to see what your family qualifies for in both federal and state aid.

Any other suggestions? Please weigh in if you have other suggestions or resources.

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Questions of the Day – Entrance Tests & Scholarships

Several times a week I’m going to attempt to answer specific questions from my readers directly, in the form of a blog post. Since most questions I receive from homeschooling students and parents are very similar, but asked in many different ways, hopefully this will benefit the entire homeschool community. In the name of simplicity and space, I may rearrange the format of the questions asked and spread the answers out over several days for ease of explanation and readability. If my answer seems overly broad or ambiguous, please realize that the answer most likely will vary from state to state, and college to college. If you’d like further clarification, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Today’s list of questions comes from Dayna. She asks:

Which entrance exams should be taken and when? Do test prep courses help improve scores?

Students should plan on taking both the ACT & the SAT exams their junior year of high school. Depending upon what area of the country you live, or which school your student is applying for, one test or the other may be preferred. For example, in the Midwest, most schools push the ACT. However, on either coast, the SAT is preferred.

Studies have shown that most students scores tend to improve by a couple of points each time they take the tests. Because of this, the earlier a student begins test taking, the more likely his scores will be in the higher ranges needed for scholarship levels come senior year.

Test prep courses most definitely help. There are quite a few good ones out there. The Princeton Review is one of the most popular. Grockit.com is an online resource for test prep that is free of charge.

What is required to qualify for the Tennessee Lottery & Hope scholarships?

The requirements for the Tennessee Lottery & Hope scholarships are the following: Tennessee residency for minimum of one year; 21 or above ACT score; 980 or above SAT score; 3.00 GPA or higher. For further information, check out their website.

I’ll answer more of her questions tomorrow. Got any other suggestions? Please comment if you do!

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