FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Securing College Scholarships in Difficult Economic Times
(SAVANNAH, GA) College has always been an expensive proposition
for most students and their parents, and the floundering economy over
the past couple of years has made it that much tougher for students to
come up with the funds necessary to attend the college of their choice.
But finding a college that is a perfect fit and securing a scholarship to
help pay for it is not as elusive as it may seem.
“The ‘sticker price’ should not be the first determining factor in
whether the student can or can’t afford a school,” says Mary Beth Fry,
Director of College Counseling at Savannah Country Day School. “I tell
families never to cross schools off of their lists because of tuition.”
Fry, an expert in college counseling with 17 years of experience in the
field, explains that if a college or university offers merit scholarships,
or if a student meets full demonstrated financial need, there’s a strong
chance that the student won’t have to pay the often shocking “sticker
price” in tuition.
“It’s best to keep those options open, at least in the early stages of
the college-search process,” says Fry, who helped Savannah Country
Day School’s 78 seniors secure more than $4 million in merit-based
scholarships in 2009 (not including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship).
Determining and Finding Scholarship Opportunities
Fry says that one of the most important factors in getting started in
the scholarship search process is to carefully research the available
options. She explains that some of the most competitive colleges and
universities, particularly the Ivy League schools, do not offer merit
scholarships. However, those colleges may offer generous financial aid
packages for students who demonstrate need. Fry suggests visiting
www.fafsa.ed.gov to get an estimation of family need.
When searching for merit-based scholarships, Fry says that rising
seniors should spend the summer before their senior year researching
scholarships by visiting college websites. She says that students
should specifically consider the following when researching scholarship
Does the school have named scholarships that require a specific
teacher or counselor nomination?
Can the student self-nominate for a particular named
Are there application deadlines for the scholarship?
Are there baseline criteria for a named scholarship that
the school publishes (for example, a minimum grade point
average, class rank or SAT or ACT composite score)?
“If a student determines which of his or her schools has named
scholarships and if he or she keeps a check list of application/
nomination deadlines and criteria, starting off the senior year can be
so much easier,” Fry says.
Fry also encourages students to use “a bit of old-fashioned leg
work” when seeking out scholarship opportunities, for example
asking parents if their businesses offer scholarships for employees’
children and looking into small scholarships offered by churches and
community groups. These smaller scholarships can help defray the
cost of travel, books, computers, and other miscellaneous expenses
Students may also use free search engines such as www.fastweb.com
and www.scholarships.com to access information about various
scholarship opportunities. Once they visit the websites, students
simply register and respond to questions that help refine their search.
The students will then receive regular updates about scholarships that may
fit their student profile and for which they can apply.
Positioning Yourself as an Ideal Scholarship Candidate
But what is ultimately going to be the determining factor in getting
those much-coveted merit-based scholarship?
“For those of us on the admission side, we’re looking for what this
student will add to campus both inside and outside the classroom
and diversity—geographic, ethnic, socio-economic,” says Jean
Jordan, Dean of Admission at Emory University. “For faculty, I’d
say the emphasis would be much more on what they will add to the
Fry echoes Jordan’s advice, encouraging students to begin positioning
themselves as ideal scholarship candidates from the moment they
begin their high school careers.
“Students should strive to do their best in all of their classes and to
take progressively more challenging coursework from one year to
the next,” says Fry. “In addition to that, we encourage our students
to discover their interests and develop their talents right from the
beginning of high school.”
Characteristics that may make a student stand out to admission
The demonstration of leadership in any area of interest (e.g.
student government, environmental awareness, volunteering,
a particular academic or artistic passion pursued over the course
of high school
Seriousness about independent research (e.g. scientific
research), or community outreach
“The ways a student can make himself attractive to colleges are
practically endless,” says Fry. “The key is to find a passion and to
pursue it with consistency and dedication.”
Savannah Country Day School is a pre-k through twelve independent
school that seeks to prepare students of academic and personal
promise to meet with confidence, imagination, and integrity the
challenges of college and of life. In partnership with supportive
families, we strive to cultivate in each student the desire and the
discipline to grow wise, to lead lives of personal honor, to appreciate
beauty, to pursue physical well being, and to serve others with a
generous and compassionate spirit. For more information about
Savannah Country Day School, its mission, and its programs, please
visit Savannah Country Day School.
Carriage Trade Pr
Savannah Country Day School