Scholarships: What does it take?

<p>A good number of the parents on these boards have children who recieved scholarships from colleges. I'm hoping they can help me out. </p>

<p>What did it take for you children to gain these merit-based scholarships? Did they have to have steller ec's and high gpa's?</p>

<p>From the time my sons were young, I have looked for every opportunity for them to exercise and develop their natural talents and interests. I also examined college websites and places like fastweb to find out what kind of scholarships existed that matched my sons' natural interests and talents. </p>

<p>I read about the scholarship winners so as to find out what things that my sons could do to enhance their chances. This is how I learned about ECs, summer programs, opportunities that my sons could create for themselves. I also learned what kind of things for my sons to highlight on their essays.</p>

<p>Since my sons would not qualify for much need-based aid, I also eliminated from consideration colleges not offering merit aid that matched my sons' qualifications. It is best to do this very early in the college process because it is not fair to allow students to apply to colleges that the parents know there's no way the parents can afford.</p>

<p>I want to emphasize that I didn't force my kids to do activities in order for them to get scholarships. IMO it's a waste of time to try to make kids look good to colleges by participating in activities the kids don't want to do. I see too many parents who force their kids into certain clubs and activities because the parents think those activities look good to colleges. The kids aren't interested in the activities, and their nonstellar performance will not impress anyone. The kids would be better off doing the activities that they really like.</p>

<p>As a person who has served on national and regional scholarship committees, I also know the importance of not doing applications at the last minute, and of making sure the applications are proofread and also are written to highlight the things the committee is looking for.</p>

<p>A scholarship based on community service will not have a committee that is impressed by an essay describing how a student got high grades and high scores. They would be impressed by an essay describing why a student is interested in service, and what activities the student has done, why the student chose those activities, and how the students' work has affected others.</p>

<p>depends on the school
What I have seen is that instate publics have best merit- as the state often has awards designed to keep high achieving students in state.
If my daughter had attended her 2nd choice public instate college, she would have recieved a $2,000 from teh state and a $1,000 award from the college
Her 3rd choice school, an out of state public also offered her merit awards and hinted that she would get a full or at least greatly enhanced ride if she applied to a special program.Her 1st choice school, doesn't offer merit awards- cause dude! we are all like pretty bright here, ya know? ;)</p>

<p>The definition of "stellar" SATs and grades is different between colleges, depending on the caliber of the average student at the school. Many colleges offer merit aid to students who are well above their average in their scores and grades. They do this in order to attract higher level students to their schools. Therefore, the qualifications needed for a merit scholarship vary greatly between schools. Some schools state the grades and SATs explicitly while others do not, for example The College of New Jersey gives the SAT and class rank combinations for its scholarships on its website.</p>

<p>It depends on the school. Some schools give pretty nice merit scholarships for grades and SATs that some people here on CC would consider "average." I think if you're hoping for merit money, it's important to remember that you may have to aim at some less selective or less well known schools that can still offer a wonderful education.</p>

<p>Like Northstarmom, my our family is not likely to qualify for any need based aid and I have also focused the college search on choices that have good merit based scholarships. From that list my son has chosen the ones he will apply to. Or he suggests a school to me and I check on merit opportunities for him. It is true that for the most part these are schools where he will be their cream of the crop. He could be admitted to higher ranking schools but then there will be no merit aid. A question for other parents who have use this stategy. What do you think about the trade off and about being a student in a college where the majority got lower SAT/GPA's?</p>

<p>My daughter's offers have been based on the national merit status mostly combined with her SAT score, class rank, and gpa. It was a combination of these things but the main draw has seemed to be that national merit thing. Oh and one of the schools she applied to even offered her aid on the basis of her stated religion on the app. One offered aid based on her volunteering record. Maybe her ec's aren't stellar, but they are solid.</p>

<p>None of the offers came from Ivy league schools. Some of them came from schools ranked highly in the books and magazines we looked through when trying to narrow down the choices. good luck.</p>