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Scholarship Gold Consulting- Helping students prepare for college and compete for scholarships
                                             Elizabeth Hartley, coach/consultant/author 
July 2014
Vol 2, Issue 1


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"College Wise


 a free monthly newsletter by Elizabeth Hartley,  





Hi College Bound friends!


I hope you have had a wonderful start to your summer and a great 4th of July.  I am writing to you from Camp Joy, a camp for special needs adults in the NC mountains, where I am volunteering for the week.  It's a joy to watch my own son serve as a counselor, as I did for many years long ago, and to see my special needs sister have a good time as a camper here.  But, as fun as it is, I still want to take a bit of time to get this month's newsletter out to you!


Reminder of your "summer to-do list" from last time- How are you coming on these?


Rising seniors- Over the summer you want to finalize your list of colleges you plan to pursue (5-8 is typical), prepare for your fall SAT or ACT exams, work on your application essays, do some volunteer work and attend any pre-college camps that appeal to you.  The Common Application will be re-opened on August 1st, allowing you to start your applications even before school starts.


NEWLY AVAILABLE!- HERE is a paper copy of the Common App that you can complete in advance and have it ready to input online in August.  Fill it out and use it as your master reference sheet for all of your applications.  It will be a big timesaver!


Rising Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors- Use your summers to pursue your hobbies and interests, to volunteer, travel, read a couple of good books, start your own small business and perhaps attend some pre-college camps.  What you choose to do over your summers can really add that extra pizazz to your applications and set you apart from the students who just used their summers to hang out at the pool and play x-box!  


Rising juniors also need to prep for the PSAT they will take in Oct of their junior year since so many outstanding scholarships are offered to students who score well.  


New Workshops Announced- by request
Click course title for details and registration

1- *College Bound Essentials
 July 24th- Mooresville, NC  6:00-9:00

2- **
- July 24th- Mooresville, NC 3:00-6:00 

3- *College Bound Essentials
- Aug 23rd- Lake Wylie, SC 9:00-12:00
4- *College Bound Essentials- HomeschoolersSept 11th- Columbia, SC 6:00-9:00
*What is College Bound Essentials? If you want to navigate high school, college admissions, scholarships and financial aid with confidence and success, this workshop is for you. What you learn can totally change your strategy and your choice of college.  The most expensive schools may be the cheapest.  Come learn why!  
(The homeschool version adds in important extra topics unique to homeschoolers, including how to best present the student's information to the college for optimal results.)

**What is Middle School Essentials?  This fun and engaging workshop educates students in grades 5-8 with regard to what lies ahead in high school, why college needs to be in their game plan, how to spend their summers, how to participate in the Congressional Award program and much more.  This class is just the thing to give students an early launch into the college-bound mindset.
college funding


When I'm teaching a class or speaking at a high school, I ask how many parents present believe that state schools are less expensive options to private schools and almost 100% of the hands go up.  While it is true that the "sticker price" of state schools are substantially less than private schools, what you end up actually paying can paint a different picture.  

Merit Aid- Each college has a budget for "merit aid", which is scholarship money offered to a student to entice them to come to that college.  It is offered based on gifts or attributes that the student possesses like outstanding SAT or ACT scores, athletic abilities, musical or artistic talent, exceptional volunteer service and other talents that set the student apart from the norm.  
State schools traditionally don't have the budget to offer a lot of merit scholarships.  They will offer some here and there but it is hard to get the big, full rides.  However, private colleges tend to be much more generous and motivated in offering merit scholarships, often in sums so large that the student's bill is below a state school option.  
The only private schools that won't offer merit scholarships are the ones that are so highly ranked already (top 50 in the country or so) that they don't need to use scholarships to recruit the best and the brightest students because they already get those top students.  In that case, they tend to be extremely generous with need-based aid (see below).
Need-based aid-  Each college also has a budget for providing student aid based on need, as determined by family income and assets.
State schools generally focus their aid on the families that have incomes less than about $60,000 (give or take), going by the federal formula on the issue. Students who are found to have financial need can expect to get a Pell Grant (up to a grant slightly less than $6000 per year) and perhaps a few other small grants.  However, in most cases, if the family still can't afford the remaining amount due, the college will help the student take out student loans to bridge that debt.  

Gamecock Guarantee-  First-in-family students get free tuition to USC.  One unusually generous state school program is the Gamecock Guarantee that waives tuition and fees for all SC students whose parents did not graduate from a four-year college and who come from modest income levels.  For details, click HERE.  
Private schools, however almost always use a different formula to determine who gets need-based aid.  Students who would get no need-based aid at a state school may get massive need-based aid at a great private school. For an extreme example, a student who comes from a family that makes $120,000 will get absolutely no need-based aid at a state school but would enjoy free tuition and additional funds towards room and board if they attended an Ivy League like Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth, etc.  Even families with incomes of $200,000 would still get about 50% off at an elite private school. (It's getting into those schools that poses the biggest challenge!)
To investigate what your family might pay at a variety of those elite schools that are particularly generous with need-based aid, just run an internet search for "Net Price Calculator" or go to the Financial Aid section of each school's website.
 Summary-  If you have come to the conclusion that the best possible scenario is to be really bright and also poor, you're spot on.  However, if you are a gifted student who won't qualify for need-based aid, look to strong private schools that have a generous merit scholarship program.  Ultimately, there are too many variables at play to assume you know what your most affordable option will be.  My advice is to apply to a range of schools (state, private) and let the process unfold.  You may be surprised at the results!
Want an early start on College Scholarships? 


If a student wants to pursue a big, full-ride scholarship to a specific college, then he or she will pursue those opportunities directly with each college in the fall of their senior year.  


However, over $19 billon in scholarship money is available from independent sources each year from Rotary Clubs, churches, foundations, Lions Clubs, veterans groups and even retail chains. Many of those scholarships are open to students well before their senior year.  

 There are a number of sites that will offer to serve as a matchmaker between a student and the scholarships that he or she might be eligible to pursue.  Some sites are not reputable but a few are tried, true and trusted.  I'll list a few of the ones I have come to trust over the years.







Pursuing these independently awarded scholarships is a great idea up until the fall of the senior year.  Students should take that semester off from this quest and focus on completing their college admissions and scholarship applications.  Once those are complete, the student can circle back to pursuing the outside funding they need.


(Cautionary note-   Some elite schools, like the Ivy Leagues or other schools ranked near them, may elect to allow you to apply outside scholarships to your account but they will deduct that same amount from the aid they were planning to give you, leaving you with the same bill. Check with the school regarding how they apply outside scholarships.)


Elizabeth Hartley                 

Scholarship Gold Consulting                                         


 HartleyGold@yahoo.com                                                  www.ScholarshipGold.com 

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