Want to avoid the student loan debt trap? Apply for scholarships! Here’s how:

If you’re the parent of a college-bound student, you know that tuition figures for colleges across the country have reached record highs. And, the increase is significant for every type of school from for-profit, to public, to private.

For example, the total Cost of Attendance for Harvard University in 2016-2017 was $63,025 for tuition, room, board, and fees. Stanford was $64,477, Yale clocked in at $66,445, and Georgetown cost a whopping $72,214.

It’s easy to see that tuition costs have rapidly outpaced earnings!

But my child isn’t looking at a Highly Selective school, you think, hopefully. Maybe we’ll try a popular state university? Be prepared. The University of Delaware’s cost of attendance has also increased dramatically in recent years. The published cost of attendance is now for in-state students $27,792 and $47,782 for out-of-state.

With a U.S. median household income of $59,039, how can the average family possibly afford college? In a word: SCHOLARSHIPS.

But my child isn’t a violin prodigy, math genius, or a sports superstar, you may groan. The good news is that there are thousands of scholarships available for students of every ethic background, from every level of academic success, and for special talents such as sports, music, community service, and more. The trick is finding the right match.

Where to find college scholarships

In any scholarship search, organization is the key. From the thousands of scholarships available, you must be able to pare down to only those that apply to your student. And, fortunately, there are many online resources available to help do just that. A few include:

These sites ask you to create a student profile based on grades, activities, athletics, interests, and personal data such as age, sex, ethnicity. So be prepared to spend some time on this prep phase. The more detailed your responses, the more matches you’ll find. Use multiple resources, because not every scholarship is listed on every site.

In addition, Back to Basics highlights scholarships for Delaware students regularly. So, bookmark our Scholarships page and check back frequently.

How to organize your scholarship search 

Now that you’ve researched dozens of scholarship opportunities and have a file folder stuffed to overflowing with information sheets, dates, and requirements, you need to get organized! Create an Excel spreadsheet, organized by due date, to keep you on track. Filling out a scholarship form is a moot point if you miss the deadline, so keeping on top of the process is the key.

Also, many scholarships require advance work – from reading a book and then writing an essay based on the work, to procuring letters of reference (sometimes several), to writing stand-alone essays on such topics as “If you had a superpower, what would it be?” (Yes, this is a real prompt.) But again, advance planning is necessary, so a detailed list by date is crucial.

The secret to winning scholarships is…

The “secret” to winning scholarships is really no secret at all. Most applications require personal data, often transcripts, letters of recommendation, or proof of involvement in a project, but the key to getting your application to the top of the pile, is unquestionably the quality of the essay.

So, how can your student make their essay stand out? Revise, revise, revise! This is where the advance planning comes in handy. If an essay is written on the day before it is due, there is no time to edit. Have your student ask a trusted friend or mentor to read it and critique. Remember, the friend or mentor can’t write the essay, but can certainly give constructive comments regarding word choice, grammar, and suggest important points that may have been missed.

This summer, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is offering a workshop Delaware that will help move your application package to the top of the stack with a well written, thoughtfully edited, interesting, and memorable essay (scholarship essays, as well as college admissions essays). $99. ENROLL HERE.

  • June 25 -28, 2018            Mon/Wed/Thurs   10:30 a.m. – 12:00 pm
  • July 30 –Aug 2, 2018       Mon/Wed/Thurs   10:30 a.m. – 12:00 pm
  • Aug 6 – Aug 9, 2018        Mon/Wed/Thurs   10:30 a.m. – 12:00 pm

A final word about scholarships. Beware of scams! Anyone who says that they can guarantee you a scholarship is not telling the truth. With help, you can increase your students’ chances of success by being organized, by meeting deadlines, by checking and re checking that each element required is enclosed in the application packet, and of course, by submitting the best essay possible. But, no one can guarantee a scholarship. If any group or organization asks for a fee to submit a “guaranteed scholarship” – run!

About Back to Basics Learning Dynamics in Delaware

Back to Basics offers 1-on-1 tutoring in 60+ subjects, professional development, translating and interpreting in 21 languages, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior specialists, reading specialists, paras, ELL services, homebound services, RTI support, psycho-educational testing and test prep. Plus, Back to Basics Private School is Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 Private School for K-12. We also offer summer school and educational summer camps, original credit and credit recovery, along with unique enrichment options such as music, art and photography. And, Summer Planning starts NOW!  In addition to College Essay Writing, learn about more educational summer camps, summer school, original credit and enrichment options in Delaware.

Photo by FreeDigitalPhotos.net and nenetus.

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