Did your child make the AB Honor Roll or Dean’s List every semester? Are his/her college entrance exam scores above average? If so, congratulations! Unfortunately, those grades will not necessarily earn him/her a full-ride scholarship to college. Each year, countless students believe the hype that if they make a 4.0 grade point average or ace their exams, colleges will be throwing money at them to attend. Although some students will receive generous financial aid packages, the odds are not exactly in your child’s favor. It is estimated that only 0.3 percent (roughly 20,000) of all full-time undergraduate students receive enough scholarship money to cover all their costs.
If you think those odds are staggering, consider the fate of high school athletes who are also banking on their skills to earn them enough money to pay for college. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), roughly two percent of all high school athletes are offered some type of scholarship, but very few are full-ride awards. In fact, there are only six sports that offer full-ride scholarships: men’s basketball or football, and women’s basketball, gymnastics, volleyball and tennis. For Division I athletes in these sports, it’s either all (full-ride) or nothing. For all other sports, the average NCAA scholarship is worth approximately $11,000. That’s not going to make much of a dent in the typical college bill at an NCAA institution.
So, what does this mean to your child, if he/she has spent the last four years working hard to make top academic marks or excel in his/her sport? Although the chances of scoring a full-ride scholarship may be slim, there are other resources available. There are approximately 250 private, full-ride scholarship programs available, but also thousands of other big money scholarships waiting for gifted students. If your child has participated in clubs, volunteer work, or has other talents, such as writing or music, pursuing scholarships within these categories may help reduce the overall cost of college. Your child should also consider these resources for locating additional scholarships:
In addition, your child should consider using several of the free online search tools, like ScholarshipExperts.com, to locate available scholarships, as well. Using a service that requires your child to complete a profile will be much more beneficial than using one that simply requires your child’s name and basic contact information. An in-depth profile reduces the time your child will waste sorting out the awards that do not pertain to him/her. Encourage your child to apply for the smaller awards, as well, as these can help cover other expenses, such as books, housing and meals. Smaller scholarships and those with larger word counts (essays), often receive fewer applicants, so this will also increase your child’s chances of winning the award.
It’s hard to accept that even with the best grades and test scores, your child may not receive the rewards you feel he/she deserves, but don’t take it personally. There simply aren’t enough full-ride scholarships available to give every deserving student a golden ticket to college. In the end, it takes more than perfect grades to land a full-ride scholarship; it also requires a little bit of luck.
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