Kaila Didn’t Get Enough Scholarship Money Before Starting College: Here’s the Advice I Gave Her
The end of my senior year has been really busy with finalizing my college decision and preparing for my Senior Projects (internship). I am attending Saint Joseph’s University in the fall and have received financial aid, but it will definitely not cover all expenses. Your aunt has informed me of your scholarship success and sent me a link to your blog, which I have read. I guess my question is: how were you able to receive so many scholarships? In a way, what did I do wrong during my scholarship search?
I want you all to read my response for Kaila. Students (or the parents of students) who’ve just been admitted into college and even current college/university students who need more scholarships and money for school can benefit greatly from the advice outlined below. Hi Kaila, Congrats on your high school graduation, college acceptance, and financial aid offer!
I’m not going to focus on what you did “wrong,” you didn’t do anything wrong if you got into college with a financial aid offer so I think a better question for you to ask me is “what should I do more of?” I’ll focus on what you can do right now in order to improve your chances of graduating debt-free and getting as many scholarships as possible.
Here’s what you need to do:
Continue to search and apply for as many eligible scholarships as possible – winning scholarships is a numbers game and a continual process. You should NEVER stop applying for scholarships while you’re a college student still eligible for them.
Keep in touch with your high school guidance counselors and check in often to see if they have any new scholarship info or if they know any people in their professional network who are knowledgeable about scholarships and student funding programs. My hope is that your guidance counselors will introduce you to as many people possible who can help you if they aren’t able to directly give you the information that you need.
Do extremely well academically during your first year in college. Aim to get straight A’s and keep your GPA as high as possible. Take on a smaller course load (12 to 15 credits) and directly ask your ALL your professors “how can I get an ‘A’ in this class?” – these two steps will make all the difference in keeping your GPA high (I wish I would’ve known to do this as a college freshman). A high GPA is crucial for getting more scholarships and potentially “getting paid to be a student,” like I was. This high GPA will also allow you to easily transfer to schools that can give you more money.
With your high college GPA, apply to transfer to a college or university with a much larger endowment , for example, the Ivy League schools, Duke, MIT, Stanford, etc. Do your research on which colleges and universities have large endowments and can afford to give larger financial aid packages.
Research your college’s website for financial aid and scholarship opportunities from top to bottom. Email all the academic advisors and financial aid staff and representatives that you can and ask them if there are any scholarships that you can apply for now before you even step foot on campus (if you have to email one hundred people, do it! You’ll never regret taking the time to do this.) If the scholarships that they mention aren’t due for some time, make sure to record the name and information, website, and deadline dates on an excel spreadsheet and keep track so you never miss a scholarships opportunity or deadline.
Get a summer job or summer side hustle! You’ll need to prepare for unexpected college expenses and create a habit of working, earning, and saving money early so by the time you graduate from college you won’t be in the horrible condition that most recent college graduates are in. Countless recent graduates are trying to fight off $20,000 to 100,000+ worth of student loan debt, they feel trapped, and they can’t pursue their passions and set up their new post-graduate lives because of that heavy financial burden. I don’t want you to be in that situation. So you have to start thinking about creating a financial safety net for yourself right now.
Make sure to take advantage of all the information that I share on getingetpaid.com. I discuss the specifics about what it takes to craft the best scholarship applications possible. Read the posts thoroughly. The right information is your true ammunition and armor against student loan debt. Get the right information, take the necessary actions with that information and you’ll be just fine. After taking these action steps, you’ll be way ahead of most other students who don’t take the time to search and apply for scholarships – which is a crucial investment in their educational and financial futures.
You got this, get to work and tell me how it goes.
What do you all think about the advice that I gave to Kaila? Do you think it was helpful? Do you think it could have been better, more detailed?
Let me know and feel free to leave a comment.