Finding Scholarships and Financial Aid
Learn how to find the best financial aid and scholarships to save on your college education.
2021-08-25 Finding Scholarships and Financial Aid
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Finding Scholarships and Financial Aid. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelist. Hi everyone. My name’s Isabella, and I’m a junior at Penn state university, majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Okay. We’re going to take a quick poll. So we would love to know what grade everyone will be entering in the fall.
Always takes a second to, uh, hear back. Okay. Seems like we have a lot of people going into their senior year. [00:01:00] Awesome. As well as a handful in ninth and 10th grade and quite a few in 11th grade as well. Uh, okay. So it looks like numbers are starting to, even out. We have 4% in going into ninth grade, 16% going into 10th grade, 28% going into 11th grade and 52% going into 12th grade.
All right, I’m going to close the poll now.
So, um, start off, we’ll talk about when is a good time to start thinking about financial aid and scholarships. So I think the best time to certainly about it is while you’re doing your applications and when you get your school list, but at this point, I just made it kind of keep in mind and be wary of, and it’s not really something to be using as like some eliminates live for a school list just yet.
And we’ll go over why later you should use it as a reason to not apply to the school. But, um, once you’re admitted to schools, then that’s when you kind of start doing that really serious, like conversations and comparison of like the, uh, [00:02:00] financial aid packages and considering, um, what kind of resources you would use to pay for school, whether that’s your families, um, resources, uh, loans, scholarships, that type of thing.
And then a good thing to start thinking about a scholarship specifically, um, is as early as possible. And so we’ll go over more later, how to kind of start incorporating that into your planning early in high school. And then later on in senior year,
And so, uh, another common question a lot of students have is what are the differences between financial aid, scholarships, and grants? So scholarships can be either from the school or from outside sources, like, um, non-profits companies, local and really big national companies. Um, and so some of these scholarships have requirements to maintain it, like need to have a certain GPA saying, stay in a certain major, but they don’t need to be repaid later on.
And so grants are gift date or money that does not be repaid. And so these are generally from the school, the federal government or the state government. Um, and those [00:03:00] are normally part of a financial aid package. And so financial aid is basically they described grants and scholarships, but financial aid also includes loans, which do need to repay the repaid later on.
And then one thing that’s not up here is also work study, which is, um, you might do something on campus and then they’ll pay for part of your housing or tuition and that kind of thing.
So, where can you find scholarships and grants to help you pay for college? Um, I have ever around here because literally everywhere is the answer. So look at local companies, nonprofits, big companies are companies that your parents or grandparents might work for. Um, when a good example I have, this is I had a friend in high school whose mom worked for a local engineering company and they had very specific internal scholarship for employees dependence, and it was like a pretty big scholarship.
And so that was a big part of how she ended up paying for college. Um, so your high school might also have scholarships that they offer or they might have community connections and then they, through [00:04:00] your high schools, how you would find those. Um, and then also your perspective colleges. A lot of the times they will have, um, lists saying like, if you have a certain GPA act sat score, we’ll give you the scholarship.
And then other times it’s not quite as straightforward. So then kind of doing research as to what type of scholarships you might be considered for when you apply or might have separate applications. Um, a lot of state schools have. Full ride programs are separate applications that are generally really competitive, but stuff is going to be like, look at it and then work on.
Um, and then also just doing Google searches for things like electrical engineering, scholarships, or scholarships for cross country athletes or scholarship for, um, Hispanic students like doing these Google searches can be a really good way to see what kind of things are out there. Um, and then another thing is to make sure that you felt the fast, but to be considered for grants.
Because a lot of times, either, even if it’s just for the school, like for the school, to be able to know your financial needs and you know what you have. And so you’ll have to fill out to get grants from them as well.[00:05:00]
How do local scholarships different from national and international schools? Local scholarships are generally a lot less competitive because they’re pulling from a smaller applicant pool, which is your community, um, or your regional area. And so it’s a lot easier to stand out because you’re just competing among students from your community instead of all around the country.
And then additionally, since you, a lot of it’s like the really national, uh, the really competitive national and international scholarships, you have a lot of really high achieving students who are going out and applying for these things, but for community, uh, scholarships, it’s more of a equal distribution.
Um, in terms of, uh, the type of students who are applying, um, these local scholarships also have tend to have a lot more focus on the community and how you have volunteered or been involved in extracurriculars and that kind of thing. They also have less of a structured review process sometimes where it’s just a couple of committee members from a company rather than a huge team, like for the Coca-Cola scholarship or something like.
And one important thing I really like to point out [00:06:00] is that acquiring lots of small local scholarships can be just as rewarding, literally in terms of finances as wanting to just one large national scholarship. So definitely don’t discount. Those is the overall point. So some tips for a successful scholarship or grant application.
So it’s very similar to your college application in terms of demonstrating, uh, your achievements both academically and then what you do extracurricularly. Um, and another thing that I think is really helpful is to focus on the scholarships values and what they’re looking for in applicants, and be sure to demonstrate that in your application.
So what I mean by that is, um, depending how to like establish a scholarship based on a lot of times, have a page saying this is what the scholarship values, uh, like whether it’s community service or well-roundedness, or. Dedication to, uh, a sport, that kind of thing, make sure that you’re demonstrating those qualities in your applications.
So make sure that if they ask and I say like, what are you passionate about? Maybe that’s a good place to talk about your volunteer work as a scholarship, volu values, people [00:07:00] who do volunteer work. And another big part is to not blow off the essay and scholarships and grant applications. Uh, just because they might be little, like a hundred words, make sure you’re being thoughtful and have them reviewed and edited by either your family or friends or a teacher or that kind of thing.
Okay. So we have another poll and we would love to know where you are in the application.
Okay. It seems like a lot of people are researching schools. That makes sense. It’s a good time for that. Um, quite a few people haven’t started, but also given how many people we have not entering senior year. That’s totally fine. Um, [00:08:00] okay. Looks like the numbers are starting to even out 23%, haven’t started 43% are re researching schools.
18% are working on their essays. 13% are getting their application materials together and 4% are almost done. Good for you. Almost done. All right. I’m closing the poll and we can move on.
Um, so we’ll go over. What is basketball and how does that contribute to financial aid? So FASFA is the free application for federal student aid and they use it to determine your financial aid, eligibility, and need based off your grandma’s financial status. So you’ll get questions like what’s your family’s income.
Um, what type of assets you have investments, that type of thing. They’ll also ask about the student, but this isn’t really a major part of it. Um, because I’ve seen like my firstly for me, my financial status as a student has changed multiple times, like at least in starting college. And [00:09:00] there’s been like some pretty significant changes and I haven’t seen a change at all.
And like the number I get from FAFSA, um, and many schools use the FASFA as a guideline when giving out need based financial aid. So it’s important not only for federal and state aid, but also a lot of schools would use it to give you your financial aid package. Uh, they’ll use it as a gun. And then other schools will require you to have a file to be even considered for merit based scholarships.
So even though they’re not using your financial aid number into account or anything like that, they still want you to have it on file.
And so kind of going with that, we’ll go into what is mean blood versus being aware. So need-blind means that the scholarship will not take an account of your parents’ income or financial aid, but mean aware means that they will take it into account. But however, this will just be a component of the application.
It’s not going to be, it’s not gonna be the, make it or break it. And it’s also not going to be a part of it that would negate your other achievements or anything like that.
And so how do you tell how much [00:10:00] financial aid a school might give you before applying? So that’s something you could do by going on their website. Especially. So a lot of Ivy league schools and competitive private colleges like MIT and Stanford, they’ll give, um, full financial need as determined by FAFSA and their financial aid office, a combination of those two things.
And what that means is whatever they determine your family can pay is what you will have to pay. And so the school costs $20,000, but they determine your family needs paid 20,000. They’ll cover the other 50,000 through a grant. Um, so some schools have calculators on their website and so these kinds of work and how the more accurate the information you put in more after you’re going to get out, but it’s definitely an estimate and a very rough estimate.
And that’s the thing to keep in mind, uh, with state schools, some states schools give more scholarships than others. And again, that’s kind of about going their website, look around online, that type of thing, ask around, um, asking older students and what they receive can be really insightful, especially if you, you know, they’re from a similar community or socioeconomic status.
Um, and then I think online forums, depending on the forum can be [00:11:00] helpful. It gives a really rough idea and be very careful online because you’re not quite sure what people saying. You don’t know who they are, but it can be like a good place to get like a rough idea or a starting point. And so how can students be aware of scholarships, financial aid while crafting the school list?
And so something that I did was I researched how much the schools cost. And I put this on a list. I could keep in mind when I was getting these, uh, decisions back. And then also when visiting, um, so research how much it costs and compare it to how much you can afford your family. And then also start asking me how much aid you’ll think you’ll receive.
And then at the beginning stages, like I said earlier, don’t limit your school list. Only what you can afford, because you never know what financial aid or scholarships you may receive. So you might be thinking, oh, well, I’m not going to get into scholarships to attend this school, but then you get your financial aid package and you want big merit scholarships.
So on the chance that that happens, you definitely don’t want to limit your school choice in the application stage because you don’t know what you’re going to get at the end. And it could come out really well. But with that said, I think one really important thing is to make sure you have some [00:12:00] financial safeties on your school lists.
There’s some schools that you love and you’d be happy going to, and, you know, you can afford without any financial aid at all.
And so where can students find more information about financial aid online? So most financial aid offices should have a phone number or email listed. And so that’s something don’t be afraid to reach out. When I was a senior in high school, they were all super quick to answer and that kind of thing. And even as I was close to like the decision deadline and I like was still asking questions, I’m still getting really good at.
And so my last advice to students who are looking for financial aid and scholarships, um, so my biggest piece of advice is putting together a scholarship list no matter where you are in high school or the college application process. And so I have kind of like a screenshot of what mine looks like. Um, and so I basically put like what the scholarship is when it’s due the amount, um, things like is there, if there’s two rounds, like the advancement day, you know, you got to the next round interview date, um, whether you need rec letters, if you’ve applied, if it’s renewable, which basically means, uh, [00:13:00] like if you to, can you continue proceeding for multiple years or is it kind of a one-time.
Uh, so the reason I think it’s a super important is because during your senior year, you’re really busy year of going to school. You’re applying to colleges, you’re probably a leader or some type of position, and you’re all your extracurriculars, which is gonna take a lot of time. And so rather than having to search for and apply for these scholarships during a really busy year.
And we’re, again, we’re applying to colleges as well. Just having a list on means you did half the work. It was just, just finding them. And now you can basically go, okay, it’s December. I have these seven scholarships can apply to this month. Instead of being, I need to find scholarships. It’s like, I’m applying to be seven this month.
Um, so the earlier you start, the longer more defined your list will be for senior year. Uh, so if you start like freshman year, now you have a really solid list that you can work off senior year. But even then, I don’t think I started too close to my senior year and I still had a really long list. Um, and so additionally, don’t be afraid to reuse essays for the different scholarships, with similar prompts.
Um, don’t feel like you need to write any brand new essay each time if they have similar prompts, [00:14:00] it saves a lot of time to just kind of rework it a little bit and. Um, and another important note on that is to continue applying to scholarships, which are in college. Um, I found that I have a lot of scholarships still available for me in college.
And that a lot of times they’re almost more tailored and easier to get because, uh, they’re related like student organizations I’m in like society of women, engineers, or like the American society of mechanical engineers. A lot of these like programs and organizations that are in college, like nationally and also the local chapters will give out scholarships.
And if you apply to those and you’re in an organization that just it’s smaller applicant pool. Um, and so when you went scholarships, it’s really important to keep up how much you want and when you should receive it, because sometimes especially with local scholarships, you can kind of get lost in the shuffle a little bit.
And so I actually had this happen this past year where a scholarship I won my senior year that I’m supposed to receive every year. I hadn’t heard anything about, and it was July and I had to go reach out to be able to get that money for this year. And then one piece, one book that I really liked that I read early in high school and.
I think it was super helpful. And my [00:15:00] pursuit of financial aid scholarships, it’s called confessions of a scholarship winner. Um, so it basically, it was over a lot of, I said, but the reason I think it’s great to read an early high school is cause she goes over a lot of how to become a good candidate for scholarships specifically.
And so I don’t know, I read it and it was great and it helped me a lot, but so I think now we’re doing push. All right. So this is the end of the presentation part of the webinar we got through it quite fast. Um, I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving onto the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat so you can see and then read them out loud before our panelist gives you an answer as a heads up, if your Q and a tab isn’t working.
Just double-check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not the webinar landing page. Okay. Our first question is if you receive a scholarship, does it apply to all four years of [00:16:00] college? So if it was a $2,000 scholarship, would you get 8,000 in total? So the answer and that kind of depends on the scholarship and that would be in the fine print around their website.
Some scholarships are a one-time award where you get $2,000 this one time, and other ones will say, it’s renewable for four years. That means they’ll give you $2,000 every year. And so that varies from scholarship to scholarship. Okay. Our next question, I’ve seen a few that are along these lines. It is when do we complete the FAFSA?
So I think the FASFA is due October 1st. Of the year that you’re the freshmen. And so it’s due. So if you’re a senior right now, it’d be due October 1st of next year for that year. I’m pretty sure, but I, for college applications, you want to have that in, by whatever the school says their deadline is for their financial aid package.
Our next question is what is the FAFSA not take into account, severe medical bills and high [00:17:00] mortgages when considering aid, um, some of the shirts there is a place for this on the past one, but if there’s not anything that’s going to be a major issue. Um, when you’re getting your financial aid package, that’s only, you could definitely reach out to the school with and say, I have all these other things that aren’t considered in FASFA that I think have significant, significant impact on my financial aid eligibility.
And they’ll definitely work with you and talk to you about it.
All right. Our next question is if you don’t qualify for need-based aid, are there other government aid options? So I’m pretty sure the government gives out, uh, the subsidized and unsubsidized loans to everybody or almost everybody. Um, but as from the government, I think they also offer mostly loans if you don’t qualify for grants and that type of thing.
But I know there’s a parent plus loan that everyone qualifies for and it has lower rates than a lot of the private loans. Um, so that’s definitely to look into, um, [00:18:00] yeah, also just kind of looking on government websites is probably the best way to do that. That information should be very visible and available.
Okay. Our next question is, is it possible to find a specific website for 11th graders to find scholarship offers? If yes. Where would that be? Um, so the majority of scholarships tend to be available to seniors in high school. I remember actually someone said to me that when you’re a senior in high school is the most amount of money you’re going to have available to you in your life in terms of like applying to scholarships.
But there are ones for underclassmen as well, but as far as I know, there’s no specific website where you can find them. Um, but looking at things like scholarships for juniors, that type of thing, that would be helpful to find those. Our next question is who could I ask to help me with filling out the FAFSA application?
I think the best person for that would be your parents. Um, I know for me, I was able to fill out certain parts, but like the personal information, like who my parents are, [00:19:00] what my name is my address, but when it came to my family’s financial assets and income, I had no clue. Um, so, so my mom was really good for that.
And then I think also like my mom used her income or her tax return, something like that. And she basically linked it directly from the website where she does her taxes into the FAFSA and he would have to copy the information. And so that was definitely your parents. And then if your parents, um, are struggling with it or you’re still not sure, I think a guidance counselor at school would be a really good option because they generally know a lot about.
Okay, this question is kind of a big one, but what is the best way to write a successful essay, an application? Um, so I would say, start with the scholarships website and what they say they’re looking for in applicants, because some scholarships are very specific and that they want a student who’s really involved in community and barn TRN, or is very academically successful.
Or sometimes it’s kind of just all around, but I think that’s a great place to start because then, you know, what kind of [00:20:00] theme or kind of values you should have at the forefront of your mind while you’re writing this application. And so, and I think the reason why that’s helpful is because then, like I mentioned earlier, then in the essay, you can say, you can make sure focusing on your volunteer work if they, if they value volunteerism, um, or if they really like student athletes, that’s a great time to, when you’re looking at your activities, put like your cross-country experience at the very, very top and that kind of thing.
So that would say that’s the biggest part in terms of like overall. And then for filling it out, um, again, with the essays, make sure reviewing those like almost stringently stringently as you went with a college essay and then for activities, same thing. Don’t blow off the two, like 100 word, um, description of your activity, make sure you’re maximizing that and doing a really great job of explaining all the awesome things you did there.
Okay. Our next question is what was the book you just mentioned? I’ll type it in there. Um, it’s just so the reason I really like it is because it’s a book I read my freshman year of high school and I think that’s [00:21:00] was one of the biggest thing. One of the best things I did, because it really sets the tone for the rest of high school.
Cause I talked about what kinds of things scholarships look for as sort of like, um, so my parents went to college, but then went to college outside of the U S, which is totally different to the college application process here. Um, so they like didn’t have too much like feedback from me and I’m the oldest.
So I think reading that book was really helpful and dictating my activities and my, um, like pursuits later night. And then it also, like later in the book, they go over like how to do really good scholar, scholarship, interviews, and applications, that kind of thing. But yeah, that’s basically why I mentioned the book because I personally found it super helpful and I’m sure there’s also a lot of awesome books out there as well.
That’s just the one that like really set the tone for me and changed a lot for me. Okay. Our next question is, should I tell other schools that I have a scholarship for a particular college? Um, so that’s kind of up to you, but it’s not quite like, [00:22:00] um, there’s a lot of students applying to schools and I don’t think telling one university, oh, well this other university offered me $20,000 a year is really going to leverage anything in their financial aid office.
So that’s definitely something maybe you can do. Um, if maybe you’re having like a very, like a one-on-one conversation with somebody that you think has like any power over that. But overall, I don’t think like mentioning that’s really going to do very much. So it’s kind of. At that point that does have more of an impact with grad school, but I don’t think it has the same impact with undergrad.
Okay. Our next question is when you win scholarship money, does it go directly to you or does it have to be sent to your parents’ bank account? So it actually, most of the time goes to, so if it’s one of the school, it never touches your bank account, it just gets taken off your tuition, um, or your overall school cost.
Um, but if it’s an external scholarship, a lot of the times for me, they’ve gone, they want to pay directly to the school because they know it’s going towards your tuition. But so, [00:23:00] um, cause like I have enough scholarships that it pays for all like my billable things like hows are phenomenal. Um, now I’m off campus housing, but when I was on campus and then my tuition, but then I had enough that I would get like a refund every semester that I could use for like personal expenses and books and like other things I needed for school.
So a lot of time it gets paid directly to the school, but then the school will refund the extra amount to you. Then I’ll just getting. Um, and then sometimes scholarships do directly pay it to you or your parents can be counted if you want it to go there. So it can be kind of either one it’s basically whatever you listen to the scholarship out like form.
Okay. Our next question is, is there a difference between the amount of money private or public colleges get? I would say, um, it really just depends kind of on like the competitiveness of the school. So some privates, I think private scholarships tend to give out more aid, but they also tend to be more expensive.
Um, but then public scholarships or public schools get out more merit scholarships and that kind of thing. [00:24:00] Uh, so there’s not really like a black and white answer to that. Like you get more aid from private or public. It totally depends on the school and like the caliber of it and that kind of thing. So again, that’s something I would just recommend, like looking at their website and trying to figure out like, Um, and like different things that you’ve heard and like different resources online.
There’s a lot of really good articles that talk about, uh, like how much financial aid you can expect from certain schools. Like, I know Penn state for example, is generally like a lot of people told me they don’t give out a lot of merit aid. Um, and so like, I kind of went in with that mentality, that kind of thing, which didn’t, didn’t turn out to be true.
Yeah. But, um, so yeah, so that’s something to definitely look around with. Okay. Our next question is, is there a max scholarship amount you can get and what if they exceed tuition? So like I said, um, so no max, you can get, um, with, uh, like, like what I like said before. Um, I have more, I get more every year than what is the cost of my [00:25:00] housing and on campus are canceling on campus housing and tuition when I did live on campus.
Uh, and so then, um, it’s kind of just reading the fine print on the scholarships and making sure that if a scholarship says it needs to be used for housing. You aren’t using it for other things. And so when you start to add it up, a lot of times you got to make sure that you’re just like the amount that you have in your pocket that didn’t get paid for housing or tuition is the, is an amount that like, would be allowed to be used for other expenses.
So it’s just kind of reading the fine print of the scholarship, but there is no maximum near school would normally just give you a refund if you exceed whatever your tuition cost is. Okay. Our next question is, should you still apply for the FAFSA, even if your parents have a high income or lots of savings?
Yes. And the reason is cause for even to get like loans and that kind of thing, you need to have a FASFA or federal, federal, and state laws. You need to have a fast one record. And then also I know like my school, for example, or even a lot of external scholarships, I applied to, they say, do you have FAFSA filed?
Even though it’s not taking into account my need whatsoever. They [00:26:00] just, I’m not quite sure why they need it, but like, it’s always a question. Do you have your basketball and pile? So it’s definitely new. So make sure.
All right. Our next question is, is there an area where you can find a list of scholarships or is it school specific? Um, so the first part of that is find a list of scholarships. Uh, so I know when I was in high school, my local library had a big book of scholarships. And so that’s, you know, I don’t really know how much of you go to the library, the internet it’s very popular, but, um, you can also find them online.
I know Penn state makes a list of external scholarships to apply for. So a lot of schools I’m sure do that. Um, and then also schools have a list of their internal scholarships. Sometimes, sometimes they’re more or less transparent about, or it really depends on the school, but you can definitely find this if you look around online or, um, one thing that I did a lot of was look at people who had won a lot of scholarships and like had talked about it somewhere or.
Basically in the public eye a little bit about it. And like, I would go on like, uh, [00:27:00] like their LinkedIn or on their personal website where they would list all the scholarships they want and then put them on my list to look at it and then apply for later. And so I don’t know, I found that really good way to do it.
Um, but yeah, it’s just kind of like looking around, there’s not really like one specific list that I can point you to, that will have everything you’re looking for. Okay. Our next question is, do you have any specific websites that you recommend for finding scholarships? I guess this is kind of connected to the last one.
Yeah. Um, so there’s also like there’s all those like big scholarship websites online.[00:28:00]
Oh, okay. So it looks like, um, Isabella may be having some problems. So we’re going to, uh, uh, hopefully yes, she’s coming back on. Okay. Sorry. I’m not quite know. But, yeah. So that’s her for specific websites on, yeah, just kind of looking around a line, that kind of thing. Some people tend to like list out things, but no, I don’t have any specific websites as in like this where you find what you’re looking for.
It really is just a lot of research and looking a lot online.
Okay. Our next question is, do you apply to the FAFSA every year since circumstances change or is it just based on the year before you start college? Yeah. So you reapply every year. You have to file it every year. Um, and I think it’s based on [00:29:00] two tax years ago. So like for next school year, I think it would be not the previous year’s taxes, so.
Okay. So now, so for next school year, like when you’re flat filing it this year, it wouldn’t be 2020 taxes. I think it’d be 2019 taxes that you would be looking at and like that type of return and that kind of thing. Um, so yeah, so you do need to refile every year because circumstances change and that can really change your financial aid.
Okay, our next question is what are the chances of actually receiving any sort of scholarship? Um, so there’s, again, not like a hard and fast kind of statistic for that. It just depends where you’re looking. Um, so I think if you’re applying to only like national really competitive, big, high profile, full ride scholarships, like Coca-Cola, or like, uh, what’s it called Carson or Bryce, Cameron impact scholars.
It’s another really big one. Um, if you’re only applying to big national ones, I think your chances of getting a lot of [00:30:00] scholarships are lower. Um, just because again, it’s really competitive and, um, like you’re competing to like some of the most like high achieving kind of, you know, go getters students in the country.
Versus if you’re applying to a lot of local ones, I think you have a lot higher chance because you’re a smaller applicant pool. Um, and then you’re also like, uh, you’re, uh, you have a higher chance of standing out within the applicant pool and being able to tailor your application more specifically in that.
So, and I think it also is religious a numbers game. Like I remember my senior year, I applied to 80 scholarships or something ridiculous. And so I didn’t re, like I said earlier, we use your essays and that’s how you apply to that many. Um, but, and then at the end, I think I won maybe like 10 out of 80 or something like that.
And a lot of those were local too. So I think, um, yeah, it really is just a numbers game. So I applied as much as possible and make sure to keep applying in college and apply to just one each year. Like keep applying to as many as you really can feasibly. Okay. Our next question is even in a need-blind [00:31:00] college, do they ask for the FAFSA?
Yes. I don’t know why, but yes. I think that, I think with need-blind someone is still going to look at your FAFSA from that school. It’s just that the admissions officer is not going to be the person to do that. So they’ll choose whether or not you’re going to be admitted before they choose. Before they start dealing with the financial aid, but the college will still need it at some point.
Okay. Our next question is, how has the FAFSA completed if I’ve said FAFSA so many times tonight, if your parents are divorced and you live with both of them, do they complete it together or individually? Um, so I don’t have any experience that’s, I’m not quite sure, but I’m sure there’s lots of things explaining that align.
Um, since they, you probably both of them, you probably need to report both of their financial situations and I’m sure there’s some way to do that on there. It’s probably a very common situation. So, um, yeah. [00:32:00] Okay. Our next question is what are some things that schools and external scholarships look for in applicants and what makes people stand out?
So I think it’s kind of a very similar, um, strategy to college applications. Like Les look for high academic achievement. Extracurricular involvement, well-roundedness passion for your intended major or for, uh, some type of activity that you do. Um, and then I think for standing out, it’s kind of, uh, just highlighting like the areas that you really Excel in.
And then, like I said earlier, like the scholarship values and that kind of thing, like trying to highlight those areas and that’s how you kind of stand out. Um, and like, yeah. So it’s basically kind of how you stand out in a college application as well, just by, uh, really like being a good academic student and being involved.
And then also making sure that you’re doing a good job of explaining your involvement and not downplaying any of that as well.
All right. Our next question is [00:33:00] from a timing perspective, do you apply for the scholarships after you’ve been accepted or before? Um, so it depends on the scholarship. Like, uh, if you’re talking about schools specific scholarships, then some schools let you apply to their scholarship. When you’re applying to the school or before you’ve been accepted.
And then like you receiving, as you contingent on you being accepted, uh, which normally if you receive, you’re going to be accepted, um, and other schools have scholarships that you can apply to once you’re in their school. And then they’re like major and that kind of thing. Um, for external scholarships, it’s basically whenever they’re due.
So some are, I think a lot of them are due kind of in the winter timeframe, like January, March, but, um, June to March, but there are some due earlier in the school year or later in the school year. And that type of thing.
Our next question is when do you know if you have received any financial aid or scholarships, if you’re applying early decision, uh, the school will give you a date that they will give you your financial aid package by. And [00:34:00] it’s, I think for me, they mostly came like within a few weeks or a month of whenever I ever received the acceptance.
Uh, so yeah, let’s do a placement on the school website for. Okay, our next question is, are the lottery scholarships or the no essay scholarships worth applying for, or is it a better idea to focus more on essay based or merit scholarships? I would say, yeah, definitely focus on that essay, merit scholarships.
Um, but also like if you just have to throw in your name and your email address, it’s like, it’s not going to hurt you. That kind of thing. I would just say like, uh, a viable strategy. If you’re trying to like, get a lot of financial aid, isn’t just applying to these no essay scholarships like that.
Shouldn’t be the only thing you’re doing is kind of my point with that. All right. Our next question is for an international student, what would be a good research re resource to find scholarships? Thank you. Um, so looking up international students studying in the U S scholarships is a [00:35:00] good one and looking around online for what you can find there.
And so like my vice pretty much stands Sammy. And if you’re international and the only addition I have is to make sure to read the fine print, because, uh, there’s not too many that I remember where you need to be a us citizen, but semester you’re applying to like a scholarship. Uh that’s like for people interested in aerospace defense companies, and they might require you to be a us citizen because you need to be a us citizen to work in a lot of dork in that industry, that kind of thing.
But, um, so yeah, I just read the fine print before you apply it and that kind of thing, but it’s the same advice as for everyone else. All right. Our next question is, um, oh, sorry.
If the family income is above 80 K, should we file a FAFSA or skip it because we won’t get any aid? Um, definitely still file it because, um, to be eligible for [00:36:00] federal and state, uh, loans, you have the possible file. Then something comes again from information. And then even if it’s above the ADK, um, like you’re still probably received some type of way.
It depends on the school. It depends on, um, like how much it costs, that type of thing. But I would say don’t use an income or even like a lot of assets or savings as a reason to not follow the FAFSA. I think everyone should follow the FASFA. And it’s really, honestly, it’s a really easy thing to do, especially if you do your tax on the likes, a lot of times you can just transfer the information over to.
Okay. The next question is, can you talk about the CSS profile CSS profile? Um, I’m not quite sure. I remember, I remember hearing about that.
Oh, so I’m not quite sure. I don’t know too, too much about that. Um, I don’t know if I kind of vaguely remember the schools might use that as part of it. Um, I’m not quite sure if you have the information here. Um, I’m [00:37:00] looking at it right now. So it’s, uh, the college scholarship service profile. Um, it looks like it’s through college board, so it’s there, it’s like a subset of their company.
Um, and it looks like the difference between that and the FAFSA is that FAFSA determines eligibility for federal financial aid programs. Whereas the CSS profile asks for more information about you and her family’s financial situation, which can both be a good and a bad thing. Um, and I assume Becca and I assume just because a college board is a private company, um, it’ll function as the arm of a private company versus the FAFSA being through the federal government, uh, Fortunately, I don’t know more than that.
Um, but I think that’s a, that’s a great thing to ask Google as well. [00:38:00] Um, okay. Our next question is how do you balance selling yourself in essays and applications without sounding like you’re bragging too much? Um, so I think that kind of just comes down to the language you use. Um, I think if there’s any place to brag, it’s an application.
Like you don’t want to sit there and like, downplay, like, like if you like let them entire team, like you let a team like a state championship, don’t be like, I helped lead that, you know, like you love the team and that kind of thing. So that’s not, definitely not the place to use like words. Like I helped, I supported as the place to say I did this, I’d let this, that kind of thing.
Um, but yeah, again, it’s just really comes down to the language. Obviously. I feel like most people have a really good sense of like, what is, what sounds very arrogant and versus not. And again, like it’s a lot higher than I feel like what you would say to like, if like people, when they ask you. Like, what are you involved in?
You don’t start listing off all your leadership positions, but for like a scholarship application, you do start listing off what your leadership positions in that kind of thing. One thing [00:39:00] that I think is important to keep in mind is I, as long as you’re not like down grading other people, if you’re not saying, oh, I would’ve done this, except, you know, my teammates like got no way.
Um, this is the place to list all your accomplishments. Like people want to know in an application what all your accomplishments are. Um, just so just make sure you’re not, um, talking down about other people because that does come off looking bad. And, and like you maybe aren’t, uh, don’t have a good sense of your own accomplishments, but if you’re just like, oh, I did this and I did that night, did that.
And like, I’m proud of these things. You should be proud. That’s awesome. Okay, our next question is, do you recommend applying to as many financial aid, scholarship and grants as you can? [00:40:00] I definitely say yes, obviously without SAC facing the quality, like you don’t want to apply to so many that all your essays, or like Britain three are written in like an hour and you didn’t look over them, that kind of thing.
So it’s whatever you can, like as much less as much quantity as you can do without sacrificing the quality of your like application responses, I would say. Yeah, it’s a numbers game. So the more you can apply to the better, our next question is can you apply to the same scholarship again, if you didn’t win the first.
So for the most part, that depends on the eligibility requirements, because some are only open to high school seniors. So once you’re no longer a high school senior, you can’t do that. Um, but yeah, for a lot of the ones that I, uh, applied to in college that are open to undergraduate students, it’s kind of like, you can keep applying till you want it.
And sometimes, you know, if you want it, you can reapply the next year and see if you want it again. And that kind of stuff. Okay. We’re going to take a quick break in the middle and I want to let you know what you can do. If you want to work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 [00:41:00] admissions officers, sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and a live team member.
We’ll get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us. Oh, Isabel is back. Nice, perfect timing. We’re back to the Q and a. I’m getting a drink of water. Oh, no worries at all. Okay. Um, our next question is if I already have a full academic scholarship based on merit, do you know where to look for scholarships specifically for housing?
Um, so most scholarships that you win, even if they can be used for anything associated with schools, like some of them have more stringent requirements, um, again, in the fine print, but for the most part, they just say like, this needs to be used for school and school related costs. And so like that can literally count as like your laptop, because I would say it like a laptop is pretty much a necessity at this point in [00:42:00] college.
And it can be really expensive, especially if you’re like an engineering or tech major, you really need like really solid high-performing laptop. Um, so I would say like any scholarships can be used for housing. Uh, I know some scholarships, uh, like I’ve only heard of that and like very specific instances where a scholarship is intended to be used for housing, but a lot of times you can use it for other things as well.
Um, so if you already helpful, like tuition may scholarship. Same, they keep flying loss scholarships, and they can be used for your housing, your books, your laptop, your supplies, that type of thing, your meal plan. So, okay. Our next question is can I contact financial aid offices from the schools that I like?
Yeah, for sure. Especially if you have a specific questions or unique circumstances where you feel like you haven’t been able to find the answer on their website, um, definitely check the website first because it’s not really great to, you know, ask them like a question that’s like the first one in their FAQ section, but, um, yeah, you can definitely reach out to them.
Uh, they were all super helpful when I was [00:43:00] senior and I had questions and that kind of thing. Our next question is when you save reuse our application essays, does that mean we can use the exact essay from another one or does it have to be changed? So a lot of times it really just depends on the prompt.
Like, so somebody says, why do you want to study this? And it’s 500 words for one essay, but for the next essay is 250. You have to shorten it to put the new one. But no, there’s a lot of times I’ve literally just copy and pasted the essay because it’s the exact same problem for different scholarship application.
So just make sure if, if you have something of the reason I’m applying to X scholarship that you change, that I think that pretty much automatically disqualifies you if you left in the name of the wrong scholarship. Okay. Our next question is how do I write a good scholarship essay? Should it be kind of sad or should it show all of my qualities?
Um, so definitely make sure you’re answering the prompt is the first thing. And then I think, um, yeah, I, I think the best advice for us is it’s just [00:44:00] make sure it’s you like genuinely you and like, and your writing style and in your, um, personality. Like if you’re a really funny person, feel free to like appropriate early incidents of humorous stuff in there.
Um, but if you’re not a funny person, you’re a very like. Deep kind of emotional person. And I think that’s also a great place to show that and that type of thing. So I would say, uh, I think the question, I’m sorry for the question, but I would let the exact wording of the question, but it was like how to best write an essay.
It’s just, um, make sure you’re answering the prompt and make sure you’re doing something that accurately describes you. And I think that’s how you produce the best one. Our next question is can you use scholarship money for college application fees? Um, so I think if you have scholarship money that you won Biff and the EMT before college, then yes, you can because it as a college related costs.
Um, but if you are concerned about the college application fees, a lot of schools will waive the application. Well, a lot of private schools for the application fee for you, they [00:45:00] can email the, uh, like financial aid office. I know, like I know like quite a few financial aid offices for private school specific lays and they gave me.
They gave me like a waiver for my application fee. And then a lot of public schools, if you attend programs or like visits, like I know at the summer program at one school, a public school. And they gave me a waiver when I went to go apply for college and go to the program like a year ago. So I’d say that’s another good way to look for it.
But yeah, if that’s a concern for you, like the application fee, a lot of times email, they will literally just give you a waiver. Okay. Our next question is, I apologize if you could repeat which tax year do you report if you are applying FAFSA this year? Um, so definitely check that and it’s definitely somewhere very invisible again on their website, um, what year, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the, so for next year you can’t do 20, 21, 20 21 sold progress, but it’s not 2020s taxes that you’d use as 20 nineteens.
Um, so like the [00:46:00] way I think of it, as it goes back,
Our next question is when do college decisions usually come out and when do you know which scholarships you got? Um, so for scholarships specifically, there’s not quite a, it depends on the school. There’s no like one answer, um, for financial aid packages, uh, normally like a month after I got the decision.
So for decisions to come out early action formally, um, late November, late December, like that timeframe normally before Christmas, um, you’ll have your financial aid package probably like in January. Um, and then if it’s regular decision, I think I found out a lot of the schools late March and then had the financial aid package, like maybe mid April, beginning of April.
It was very close timeframe. It was close to the, um, the decision to, but then for scholarships, it depends on the school and like the scholarships. Um, I know for one of my Penn state scholarships that didn’t find out until after I had accepted the offer. Um, and then for other ones I found out that I had gotten them back in March versus other ones.
I found out the [00:47:00] interview. It really just depends on the scholarship and the school. Our next question is our merit scholarships really hard to get, I would say, not really hard to get. And again, it depends on what type of scholarship you’re applying to like really big national competitive ones, really hard to get, especially like the ones that are like full rides and that kind of thing.
But then like local scholarships, um, generally merit based or generally some type of merit, whether it’s like academic merit or your involvement kind of merit based. Um, those are generally like pretty attainable, I would say for almost everyone. So I would say it’s not really hard to get them and the sense that, like, there’s a lot of opportunities for you to get them as long as you’re putting in the effort and the time and that kind of thing to the application.
Our next question is where’s the best place to find external and private scholarships that don’t come from a specific. Um, so there’s a lot of scholarship websites for that. There’s a niche [00:48:00] scholarship.com, college express, um, things like that. And, um, so I think it was a great starting points, especially the new definitely go do, gonna have to dig through a little bit.
Cause sometimes she’ll put in my major, is this giving scholarships based on this major and they’ll have soldiers that aren’t that major that get thrown in there. And I had things that’s, that was kind of always my thing with them is that it’s a lot of like reading through and actually looking at what I’m qualified for, what I want to apply for.
Um, but yeah, and then also I found that a lot of like state schools especially have like external scholarship lists on their website and it’s basically, I don’t know where they pull them from. It’s probably like scholarships that gets them to their financial aid office. And then like from students they have already, and then they just post it as like usually some external scholarship opportunities.
Next question. The FAFSA requires you to report assets and equity in the homes. But what if your current income is low and you can’t really pay for the tuition by dissolving those assets? Um, so that’s kind of a very specific question that I [00:49:00] would recommend every chance to financial aid office for, but the class who does take that into consideration that although like you might have a home that was that’s worth a certain amount that doesn’t necessarily mean your parents are going to like sell the house, just to pay for your college.
If the income is lower, that kind of thing. So that those types of things are all definitely taken in consideration of the passport. And also the school isn’t just use the FAFSA, the, it doesn’t look the fast one number and then go, this is what we’re going to require them to pay at the school. They use the basket as like a tool in determining your financial aid package as well.
So that I’m sure a lot of schools, all private schools, especially like, I know they had a place, like all my financial aid application saying, is there any additional information you want us to know?
Our next question is what if a divorced parent refuses to cooperate and provide financial information for FAFSA? I’m fairly sure there’s an option for that because I remember seeing, um, like on all of college paperwork, it’s like, I have, uh, that you fill out like parent one, parent two, and then you would fill out [00:50:00] like the status parent one pair to like lives with me.
It does not live with me. Um, and no unknown, like no information. So I think that there’s definitely like some type of resource for that, but it’s probably just put unknown and then wouldn’t really make any difference. Okay. Our next question is, are websites like scholarship.com and niche scholarships, legit to apply for?
Uh, because they usually say no essay needed for this scholarship opportunity. I would say it’s kind of the same thing. Like if it’s really easy to fill out, it’s not going to hurt you to apply. I just don’t. I think it’s definitely. I think it’s not like the best strategy to only apply to those is kind of like my thing with them.
But again, like if it’s really easy to submit it, like it’s not going to hurt you at all. Um, and then another thing that’s not really, really the question, but like made me think of it is that if, um, so a lot of scholarship websites will give you the option to apply to the scholarship through their website.
And so I don’t really know too much about like, whether it’s legit or not. I just always prefer to apply directly to the scholarships. And [00:51:00] only if I find it on a scholarship website, I’d go directly. Like, I look up the scholarships, like direct website and like application and that kind of thing rather than somebody going through the external website and that kind of thing.
Okay. Our next question is, do you have to use all your scholarship money received in the current year or can you carry over any left to the next year? Um, so that kind of pens, if you. It depends how you receive it, basically. Um, so if you, if all, you’re say you want to munch once in rewards, your senior year and the next sees the cost of your freshman year and your school will give you a refund.
And then look what I do, or what I did was I put it in like a separate bank account. And I was like, okay, this is what I’m going to use to pay for things next year. Cause I already paid off everything I need for this year. Um, but then it also depends like some, like some scholarships are like, uh, renewable and that kind of thing.
So, or like they aren’t paid to you or they aren’t paid to the school until the next year. So then that would definitely go on the next year. Um, but yeah, like one thing that I remember when I was a [00:52:00] freshman, so I have one more than what I needed for my fall semester, but it was all going to be sent to my school for the fall semester.
I remember asking them to move it to the next year. Like they can just pay the next year. Um, and at the time I didn’t realize that wasn’t really necessary because the school just going to refund it to me and I can just keep it in my bank account until the next year to pay or the next semester to pay and that kind of thing.
Okay. Our next question is how long do my essays have. Um, so it depends on the word count. I would say don’t feel like you need to hit, if it’s 600 words, you do not have to write 599 words. Um, I would say like, whatever amount of space takes, you get your point across, but try to fill up at least, like, I think the rule is like 60 to 80% of the word count or 60% of like the word count, that kind of thing.
But yeah. So, uh, basically just enough. So you get the point across that you answered the prompt and that it’s not too short. So if it’s a thousand words, don’t write a hundred word essay, try to S may say somewhere in the six, 700 word range, but don’t keep rambling on that type of thing. [00:53:00] Our next question is, do you receive more money from your sat or act scores?
Um, so if you’re referring to specific state schools, I know some state schools have like, uh, things on their website where they say, if you have this sat score and this act score, and this GPA. Whatever. And that kind of thing, looking at your scholarship mouse, like if we’re into that then yes. But that also depends on the school.
Some schools don’t have hard and fast rules like that, and it’s just kind of like, it’s the same thing as college application where it’s a component of your application and not like the decision-making factor. Um, so yeah, there’s kind of two sides to that. Okay. Our next question is what a school that I’m applying to potentially give me less money if they see, I am already getting scholarship money.
So a couple of different things on that. The first is yes, they could. Um, so normally I don’t report anything. [00:54:00] I don’t like I report what I know. I have one that makes sense. So I don’t re pour it. Like scholarship money. I think I’m going to win. If that makes sense. Like, cause you don’t need to, you haven’t won it yet.
You don’t want paperwork saying like this is yours and that kind of stuff. Um, so definitely don’t lie, like apply like what you have if you know, you have a certain moment and make sure you’re declaring that. But sometimes they can yes. Say like, um, oh, it looks like you already met your, you have this special scholarship money and this is your cost of attendance.
You already met it. We’re not going to consider you or that kind of thing. And that sometimes can happen. I know another thing when I was a high school, senior was um, for like Ivy league schools, especially, um, they meet full financial need and then to apply scholarships. Um, it has to be applied to the student contribution or something.
It was a really weird thing that I would recommend, um, clarify with them if you’re in that position, because I don’t remember all the specifics. Um, but it was like, uh, scholarships. Reported to the school. It would only come for the student contribution of my financial aid package. And they said they [00:55:00] could reduce like the grant money I received.
And if I’m receiving more scholarship money beyond what they expect my parents to pay, basically. Um, so that was, that was actually a very big factor in my, uh, college decision because, um, my parents were expected to pay a certain amount and I couldn’t do anything to reduce that amount. Um, and my parents couldn’t pay that amount.
So that’s something, again, that’s a very specific situation, which I don’t know that a lot of people fall into. So if that is your situation, that’s something to clarify with them and work with them on and make sure that you’re really understanding that before you commit to any school. Absolutely. Okay.
Our next question is isn’t it, if an essay is optional, should you submit it? Yes. And I say yes. And the reason I say that is because I, a chance you have to show more about yourself is. Like a good chance to show more about yourself and give them more insight as to who you are and what you do and that kind of thing.
Anything that maybe you can stay up as if it says, do you have any additional information to provide at this time? And you can’t think of any additional information you [00:56:00] do provide. Those are okay to say like, no, I’m not gonna this optional essay, but for the most part, it’s an optional essay on how you’ve impacted your community.
You should definitely write that essay. And some that have same with supplemental essays. Uh, okay. Our next question is what students typically get a full ride scholarship and Kennan upper-middle-class students still receive this type of scholarship. Um, so by full ride, I’m assuming you mean like one scholarship that covers everything.
Um, so it just depends on the scholarship and the requirements. Some of them do have, um, some of them are only open to people of a certain like income status, um, that type of thing, and some are open like totally merit based, like open to whoever. So you can deathly still receive. Um, and then also, like what type of students to answer that question, I would say it’s all type of students I’m like, does you’re more involved in athletics and those who are really academically involved and that type of thing, it’s really just finding the scholarships that, um, give you the best chance, like, like the master strengths [00:57:00] basically.
So like that’s something I do a lot of when I’m looking for scholarships even now in college is I like, I don’t apply to scholarships that I think I don’t fit the criteria for, even if I like fit the basic criteria. If I realize I’m not hitting a lot of their desired, like, uh, qualities then about the spending my time focused on that, I’ll focus on the scholarships where I’m hitting more of the boxes and that kind of thing.
Um, so I would say it’s basically just maximizing like your qualities and matching them to scholarships. Um, and then also, uh, for Fulbright, like my comment about that is, so they’re all are definitely scholarships where it’s a full ride, like one scholarship covers everything, but I think it’s also a really good strategy too, are a really awesome, another awesome way to pay for it is to go to multiple scholarships and have all those basically be your own kind of make sure.
Okay. Our next question is what if my parents are not paying for my schooling at all? What would the school do? It’s kind of that, that was my situation as well. Um, it’s kind of like, they still have to, if you lived with your parents and [00:58:00] you were depending on them and that kind of thing, um, then they’re still gonna use your family’s income.
Even if your parents don’t want to pay for can’t, don’t want to pay for your school and that kind of thing. So like, that was a big reason why scholarships were a huge thing for me is because, uh, my parents weren’t going to pay for it. Um, but if you have a very specific reason, like your parents, aren’t going to pay for it because of debt that wasn’t reflected in the FASFA, that’s something you could definitely reach out to the school.
I mentioned to them like, Hey, this isn’t wasn’t like captured anywhere. And it’s a big reason why a big part of my financial situation is a place to put that. Um, but if your parents aren’t going to pay for your school, And like, you’re not going to receive a whole lot of financial aid and scholarship, uh, kind of pursuit is definitely a big part of like, what are you shooting senior year?
Okay. I think this is going to be our last question, but where could you find local scholarships? Uh, so for me, the, my school, my high school [00:59:00] collected all the, like the local scholarships and basically like handed them out to all the seniors said apply. Um, but you can also look for like, uh, like I always looked at like local companies, like I look up like, uh, like I’m from Pittsburgh.
So Westinghouse is like kind of a local big company in the area. And I was literally able to like, look up like Westinghouse scholarships. And I would do this for a lot of like, uh, companies, like local organizations that I’m, you might have something. And then that’s a lot of times I found it too. Um, and then also like word of mouth.
Like if you hear that, um, so-and-so neighbor, who’s two years older than you want a scholarship from this law firm down the street, maybe go ask them like, Hey, what was that? Did they still offer it? And that. Alrighty. That seems like a great place to stop. Thank you everyone so much for coming out tonight.
And Isabella, thank you so much for presenting. All right. So this is the end of the webinar. We had a wonderful time telling you about scholarships and financial aid, and here is the rest of our August series. So tomorrow we have a Stanford university panel. All right, everyone. Have a great [01:00:00] night. Bye.