Merit-Based Scholarships for Domestic Students
CollegeAdvisor.com (formerly Bullseye Admissions) presents its webinar on Merit-Based Scholarships for Domestic Students in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with a Bullseye advisor. Our presenter will provide information about how to identify merit-based scholarships, craft your unique narrative, and stand out in the scholarship application process. Our advisor will share their insider information as a recipient of the Shipman Scholarship (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor) and the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship (Vanderbilt University).
2020-11-12 Merit-Based Scholarships for Domestic Students
Great. All right. Welcome everyone to this webinar today. My name is Jesper and I’m currently an advisor with bulls-eye advising. And so today’s focus. Topic is merit based scholarships for domestic students. Before I start just a couple of technical things. If you have any questions for me or technical issues, you can drop those in to the Q and a or through the chat to me or to tests as well.
And also we’ll have a Q and a section later that we’ll use the Q and a. Feature chat section four as well. So what I’ll do is if I see a question that I want to answer, I’ll copy and paste it from the Q and a, which is anonymous into the chat and answer it for everybody. Also we’ll send along the slides in the chat for everyone to see.
So you can follow along with me as I’m going through, but really excited to talk to you today. And thanks so much for spending your time tonight, listening to me. Again, my name is Jesper. I grew up in a really small town in the Midwest of about 10,000 people. And I graduated from high school and ended up going to Harvard for college, where I studied sociology.
But during my college application process, I also received scholarships from both the university of Michigan and Vanderbilt university. And so I sorta bring an experience in advising on scholarships, both from my personal experience, applying to college, but also advising other high schoolers. And so I helped to share that perspective with you today.
And currently I am in medical school in Michigan. So if you are interested in medicine or being a pre-medical student, I’m happy to take those questions as well in the Q and a section. Like I said, the first 30 minutes or so will be focused on me presenting to you about different topics that I think are important to consider as you apply and carve out your merit scholarship list.
If you have one and then the last 30 minutes or so we’ll set aside for a Q and a, so I can really answer any type of more specific questions you have. That being said, you can, again, feel free to drop questions into the chat Q1 or the Q and a function throughout the presentation. If you want me to try and stop and answer them.
So this is a short overview of the outline. I’m going to talk a bit about how to identify what you might be a good fit for a good timeline to apply. My top tips for structuring your applications exercise and prompt mapping. Talk a bit about my own personal experience applying that about non-college based merit scholarships.
So those like scholarships outside that are foundation-based that are from local nonprofits and some concluding remarks for removing to the Q and a. So the first question I get from a lot of people is how do I identify a merit scholarship that I might be a good fit for, or that is worth applying.
And really the truth of the matter is any merit scholarship is going to be a very competitive process to be considered for whether you are applying directly to a scholarship that we’ll talk about in a second, or you’re trying to hope, you’re hoping to be screened for one by a college. And so usually I start by telling people you can Google search.
For different scholarships. And usually what I do recommend is when you’re thinking about scholarships for attached to specific colleges, I would just like Google the name of that college and add scholarship to the Google search. And you should be able to find a page that will tell you more about the specific scholarships they offer, as well as if it’s an application based one they have to apply to, or it’s one you’re just screening for.
We’ll also send a line on a a short list of scholarships leader in this presentation for you to look at. And that can be a good start as well. Now, in terms of thinking about if you are a good one fit or not for the scholarship, there’s a couple of rules of thumb I use. These are not the only things you should use because it’s a holistic process.
But if you’re just trying to get a general idea, what I recommend is first looking at the median and average percentiles and the 25th and 75th percentiles for the colleges, you’re looking. Where you’re hoping to be considered for a scholarship. And if you find yourself like within that, 50th percentile or even above within their 25th and 75th percentile, I think you’re definitely going to be a competitive applicant, at least for that college and potentially competitive as well to be considered for scholarships.
It’s not like the only rule you should use, but maybe it’s one that’s helpful for you to think about as you’re going through the process. Do you have any specific connections to the college? Did you do a summer program there? Did one of your parents go to that college? Have you been in touch with, faculty staff from that university?
Those are all potential flags on your application that might also help you get consent. Any compelling story applications, awards scholarships are things that colleges specifically give out to students who are among the top of their pool or fulfill a need that they have. Top of the pool, that’s pretty, self-evident, you have decent grades centered ice tests.
If you took those and you have pretty meaningful leadership positions and accomplishments. And then the other side of the coin is are you fulfilling a need? They have. So there might be scholarships that are aiming to diversify the student body that are for people of specific interests within different fields.
You can find information about those by looking at the scholarships and the descriptions themselves. And you can also look at different people who have gotten a scholarship before and what kind of profile they have and see if you know how you might match up to that. But again, there’s no formula.
If you have the time and the interest, you should definitely consider it. So here’s some examples that I want to share with you in terms of like scholarships that are associated with universities and the focus of today will mostly be on four year university scholarships. But I think these lessons can be taken to any type of scholarship or money that you’re looking to get in the future.
Duke university has a couple of full ride scholarships. The NGB duke scholarship, the Robertson scholarship, the university of Virginia has a full ride scholarship at UC. Berkeley has a, I think it’s a full tuition scholarship, but you can university George Mason university, I will say almost every university offers a scholarship.
So I would say if you are worried about financing and you are not sure, what kind of funding is available, definitely, do a Google search. Like I said we have a list of scholarships that I will send out to you right now. So you should see this as a pop up in your screen
and you can just click this link and have it open in a separate tab and take a look later. But these are a list of scholarships that bulls-eye has compiled for for all of you to take a look at and hopefully guide your process as you’re thinking about what you might want to be considered for. Now, when we’re talking about scholarships that colleges offer to you, not necessarily.
Foundation scholarships or other ones that we’ll talk about leader. It’s very important that you apply as early as you can. I know here, it says early action deadlines and those have passed for this cycle, but there’s a variety of many scholarships that you can still be considered for. Some of them have deadlines and December, some of them you are automatically considered for a few apply regular decision.
But I would say if you’ve come to this webinar and you’re a senior right now, you still have plenty of time to be considered a, you should definitely start now though.
So two, explain a bit more of the distinction that I talked about earlier. There’s different kinds of scholarships at colleges we’ll offer you. The first one is application based. These are scholarships that you just have to apply to by the listed deadline. Usually it’s either a one you applied to the college by the list deadline.
So for example, early action or two, you apply to the scholarship by their list of deadline with additional essays. And so for example, Vanderbilt case Western reserve university, these are application-based. You have a separate application, you have to fill out by a certain deadline. I believe in December for these scholarships.
And this the same is true of many other universities that offer this type of scholarship screening based are ones where, like I said, you applied to the college by a certain deadline and you are automatically screened. You don’t have to do anything extra, just send in your application normally by the deadline they list.
And if you are a applicant that they want offer scholarship to our consider, they will reach out to you usually in the spring. Sometimes student interview sometimes to directly offer the scholarship. But I would say. Application-based screening based. Those are the main two types of scholarships.
You’ll see, that are offered by universities.
All right. So I’m going to talk a bit more about my top five tips for approaching the application process for scholarships. All right. The first one is that I think you should create a scholarship spreadsheet. And now what is this? This is an example. It’s a very simple Excel spreadsheet where you can keep track of the different deadlines and if applicable the SAP.
For the scholarships that you’re applying to, this is very helpful, especially if you’re like me, you sometimes have a hard time keeping track of deadlines, staying on top of, all of the different kinds of assignments and obligations you have as a senior. Cause it’s a very busy year and having this is a great way to start.
And the added benefit here is that if it’s an application based scholarship, where you have to fill out essays you can use this to identify overlapping prompts between different scholarships. So for example, a diversity type essay talking about the value of diversity to you, and what you will add to diversity of the school is in a common essay that you will see among applications for scholarships.
And you’re able to see the trends and where those prompts overlap when you have a spreadsheet like that.
Now the next thing that we’re going to do is a, an exercise that I call. Prompt mapping. So map out the scholarship application, prompt and criteria.
We’re going to do this actually together and you can send your answers to the questions that I will pose in the chat or the Q and a, but first, let me give you an example of what this looks like. So I think it’s very important when you are applying to a scholarship that has separate essays to carefully read the prompts.
A big mistake that people do is, they don’t actually answer what the question is asking. And if you don’t do that, I think it reflects poorly on your application. And sometimes people run into that issue when they think two prompts are similar, but they’re not really. And so they use the same essay.
And so even if you are doing that, which is totally fine, you need to read the prompt closely, make sure you are identifying both what the question is asking. And also, if you are adequately answering. Cause the question is very much giveaway. I think what scholarships are looking for specifically in applicants.
So the first thing here is a criteria actually for the scholarship. This one is from case Western reserve, I believe. And it is awarded based first on leader on character or demonstrated potential to be a leader. And secondly, upon academic performance, intellect and accomplishments, and then the essay prompt you have here is describe your potential to be a leader.
How do you envision yourself making a difference in the world? So as you can see, there’s a couple of key aspects. I think that they’re looking for in the scholarship that are explicitly stated in the criteria. And the question prompt now, in terms of the criteria, it says first upon character or demonstrated potential to be a leader, pretty obvious you’re right.
The first thing that they value is character and demonstrated leader. So you probably want to make sure that in the essays you write for this application you’re touching on those topics. Second of all, academic performance, intellect and accomplishments, that’s probably your grades. Any additional research projects or academic projects you pursued and your general accomplishments, you can see here.
They very much clearly state the hierarchy of what they value in their applicants. Now, what are some key aspects of the essay description? Describe your potential to be a leader. We talked about that. How do you envision yourself making a difference in the way. And I think a lot of times for these essays, they want to look at previous experience as a predictor of your future potential.
And so it’s good to have, some time in the essay to talk about, in the future, I want to do XYZ, but you really need to back that up throughout the bulk of your essay with your demonstrated experiences. So really focused on those anecdotes, those specifics from your background to really show to the committee that you’re not just talking fluff about what you want to do in the future.
You’ve actually demonstrated similar leadership in the past. And so what you can also do by doing this prompt mapping is I identify what are potential topics. And I’ll go over that exercise in a second, but also you can cross reference with other essays, like I said, and figure out what are the overlaps in terms of previous essays you’ve written and topics you can incorporate into this particular.
We’re going to do this together. And like I said you can send your answers to me in the chat, the Q and a section, and to all read those out. And honestly, this is the Cornelius Vanderbilt scholarship. This is one that I received when I applied for this to Vanderbilt university. And the prompt here is the college of arts and science is a liberal arts school committed to introducing every student to a broad range of subjects and the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
How will you embrace the breadth of courses offered by the college of arts and science? How will this fit into your academic journey or life’s passions limit your response to 500 words? So the question as I have here for you are specifically about what you want to take out of his essay description, as important things that you think that they should.
Let’s let’s answer the first one first. So college of arts and sciences is a liberal arts school committed to introducing every student for a broad range of subjects and the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. What do you think are some traits that might be congruent or align with this type of description of their college?
Feel free to send your responses to me in the Q and a, and I’ll read those out,
right? So I’m not seeing any responses yet. Oh, okay. Cool. I’ve seen one. Well-rounded. Give another 20 seconds. Just your general thoughts about traits you think are important or can add intellectual curiosity. Absolutely. Great. Yeah. So I’ll just stop there and move on. I think very much. This is one that is looking for are you a student who is going to embrace a environment where you’re exposed to a lot of different subjects?
It’s not a very narrow focus, a liberal arts education is not one where you are learning to do you know how to fix you, like pipes or like coding not learning specific technical skills. You’re learning how to think, how to answer problems, how to problem. And so I think, this leads into the next one.
We’re not going to do a Q and a for this one, but how you’ve embraced the breadth of courses offered, are you someone who is open-minded right. Someone who has as well-rounded, who is diverse, who values diversity. I think that these are all really important values that you should consider. Yeah.
Someone who is curious, wants to explore outside their area of study. Absolutely agree. Yeah I think that’s very much answers the second one as well. And then how will you fit this into your academic journey or life’s passions? We’re not gonna do a QA here, but I really think, again, it goes back to first, do you have an understanding of what a liberal arts education means?
That’s the first part of this question? Are you able to identify the values that you can demonstrate in your essay that can show that to the application committee? And then how is this going to fit your future? How do you see yourself taking advantage of this? Because on the one hand scholarships first.
Attracting top student bins or students who fill a need for university. The second of all, these committees want to know are you going to be a person who will take full advantage of the opportunities you are afforded by the scholarship? There are hundreds, even thousands of people applying.
Why should they give this to you? It’s not just by your resume. It’s about how you’re going to use it. And here Vanderbilt is asking this explicitly to you. How are you going to incorporate this into your future journey and passions? All right. What I’m going to do here before I go into my personal experience, talking about scholarships is I’m going to go back to the other tips that I didn’t have specific slides for and overlap over.
Overlay those for you. So outside of the first two, tracking spreadsheet, scholarship, prompt, and criteria, I think it’s really important that in your essays, you back up your claims with examples, you want specifics, you don’t, a general statement is good, where you say I’m very interested in computer science or I care a lot about community service.
But then you want to back those up with the, it’s like show me the evidence, right? What are the anecdotes, the examples, the resume that you can bring in and narrate, not don’t do it. You don’t just have to list it because listing is boring. You can do that in a resume.
Can you narrate one of those experiences in your essay to show that for the reader? So for example, if you’re interested in community service, maybe you can focus your essay. And if the essay asks about that, you can focus your essay about maybe one time, perhaps you are in key club and you help lead a project to rake leaves for seniors in your community.
I don’t know, you have your own personal experiences. You can think about those, but that’s just one example. I think of how you can really make this specific, and it’s not just the overall essay itself. It’s like individual claims you make, the more specific you can be. I really think the better because it makes it more personalized.
Now the fourth tip I have is right early and get feedback often. I’m glad you’re here with me right now, listening and thinking about scholarships. If you are applying to cycle and your interest in scholarships after this, webinar’s done, you should sit down, maybe think about some of the advice I’ve given started doing some research on these scholarships, with the list that we’ve sent you and get to work and try and write your essays as early as you can.
After you’ve decided what kinds of scholarships you have the time to apply to, and then get feedback very often, from people you trust and maybe it’s a teacher that you like a lot, maybe it’s your, a family member. You trust, maybe it’s a mentor figure in your life. You want to get that feedback and ask them, does this authentically represent me in the way that you see me?
The last one not as applicable right now, because it’s a past November 1st, but apply it by the deadline of the application or for screening scholarships while you’re a screened for the scholarship apply probably by the regular decision or whatever deadline they list. So for example, I think USC to be considered for scholarships, you apply by December 15th.
Okay. For other schools, I think you applied by regular decision. You’re considered the application-based ones. Like Vanderbilt’s, they’re all in December, so definitely keep an eye out for those deadlines. All right. What I’m going to do now, before I move into Q and a is I’m going to talk a bit about my own personal experience, applying to scholarships.
And then I’m going to set aside some time to talk a bit about other funding opportunities and concluding remarks. So in terms of what I went through, when I applied I knew that financing was going to be a big issue for my family. It wasn’t like, we had a ton of money to just go wherever I wanted.
And so both, scholarships, but also financial aid were very high on my priority list, as I’m sure it is for you regardless of your financial situation. And so I decided early on the process that I was going to look for schools that both like I wanted to go to, but also had good scholarship programs that I was hoping to be considered for.
So I ended up narrowing my list down to this. The Morehead Cain is a full ride scholarship at UNC Jefferson full scholarship at university of Virginia. The shipment scholarship is a, the larger scholarship that university of Michigan offers and corneas Vanderbilt is a full tuition scholarship from Vanderbilt.
In the end, like I ended up receiving the Shipman scholarship from Michelle. And the cornea Vanderbilt scholarship from Vanderbilt. I received an initial interview for the Morehead Cain. I didn’t make it past that stage. I think that really shows like these are very random selection processes.
Don’t get too anxious about or expecting about a positive result. And then Jefferson, I wasn’t even nominated for by the applicant the admissions committee. What I focus mainly on my essays was I talked a lot about school improvement and specifically what that means is improving my high school environment, increasing academic opportunities, like bringing in new coding class in the school fixing small things like our lunch menu options that people were complaining about.
I really cared a lot about improving the community around me. And I think that really much very much showed in my application, both through the essay and my activities. I applied early to these scholarships. So I tried to apply, in advance of the deadlines or at the deadline when I could and for the cornea vendor.
But when I think I submitted that maybe a week or two early, but if you apply by the deadline, you’re not going to be at any disadvantage. I don’t think that they give you bonus points or anything for applying early. And yeah, the interview process I can’t give too much advice right now because it’s so early, you wouldn’t really do that until later, but really, try and practice.
If you get interviews, I will emphasize this over and over, do practice interviews and really work on, reviewing your own application and making sure you can tell your own story. Because that’s really what they’re going to be asking you. The last thing is like, why was I selected?
I think it’s like difficult to say. I felt like I was a overall well-rounded applicant. I had pretty good scores, leadership activities, extracurriculars, but I didn’t have, huge national awards or even regional awards for that matter. And I really think maybe what got me cross the finish line for some of these scholarships was the overall narrative I presented and the effort I put into my essays, really showing, not just telling, like I was someone who wants to make an impact in the future and care about my community.
And I’ve done that through these different activities in my local area. We’re gonna do a quick poll before I add some final remarks and then move into Q and a. Feel free to just select any or all of these options about what kinds of scholarships you’re considering. And I think. That’ll give me a better idea as well through the Q and a what I can focus on
all right. So I see a few more responses. I’ll give it about 10 more seconds and then I will close the poll. All right. I’m going to close the poll now. And so I’m not sure if you’re able to see the results, but basically I’ll read them out to you. We have people interested in college specific scholarships in national scholarships, local scholarships, and search engines, and still deciding.
So what I will say. Is before I talk about other of these other scholarships inside of colleges, the advice that I provided earlier about prompt mapping, having a scholarship spreadsheet about thinking about, how you can best fit this scholarship or represent yourself as a good fit for the scholarship are applicable to any scholarship you apply to.
Because I think whether it’s a foundation selecting you or a college selecting you, I think it’s a very similar process, right? They’re going to read through your application, your essays, the other materials you send. And they’re going to ask themselves, first of all, is this a person who we consider a strong applicant and second of all, is this person a good fit for our scholarship and are they going to make the most use of it?
And even though I focused a lot on like colleges take this advice I’ve given and you can apply to any of the other scholarships you’re applying, you’re considering. So on that note, in terms of other scholarships my advice is. Outside of colleges, you can, if you have the time, you can look for other funding opportunities.
Local scholarships are a pretty good shot because they are typically having fewer applicants than national scholarships. Local scholarships are ones you find through local foundations. Maybe you’re a parent’s employer, maybe your own employer. I think like burger king, for example, offers scholarships to its employees and a good way to find these is both through a Google search, but also word of mouth, talk to your guidance counselor maybe talk to some previous students who have graduated.
And, if you have the chance to talk to them about funding opportunities, maybe they’ll give you some hints about like opportunities that are out there that not a lot of people know about, still offer a meaningful amount of money for you to apply to. And those are probably the ones you have the best shot at again, because with national scholarships, it’s a very much a toss up.
And on that note, national scholarships are ones offered by a very large foundations. There’s the Coca-Cola scholars program, the Nordstrom scholarship, that sort of high school juniors, the Jack Cook Kent scholarship partially based on financial need. And so these ones are very competitive. I would know because I applied to a few and I didn’t even make it past the first round for most of them.
And if you think you have the time and the interest, I would say again don’t be dissuaded. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot, but, make sure, first of all, you’ve done your normal college applications. And then you can, work on these scholarship essays. The last one is college needs based financial aid, which is something a lot of people I think, should think more about if you feel like you qualify.
So a lot of the, a selective private universities and more and more public universities are offering significant financial aid packages. Most of them say they meet a hundred percent of your demonstrated financial need. And I would say that it depends on the school. The schools I’ve listed here, I believe are all ones that do that without offering any loans, which is a very big difference than schools that say they meet a hundred percent of your demonstrated need, but do it partially through loans rather than entirely like grant based aid that you do not need to repay.
I’ve listed a couple here, but you can definitely look up the schools and see their financial aid policies. But for example, if you are in a family that I think makes like less than 150 K a year or something, then I think for a school like Harvard or the Ivy league, you only have to pay 10% of your family’s income per year, which is actually quite a bit cheaper than the tuition and room and board for a state, some state universities.
So if you fall into that category, definitely look at some of these other private schools. But they don’t offer merit based scholarships. They, these ones offer primarily need-based scholarships. So my final remarks before we move into the Q and a are, I think that start looking now, try and map out your prompts and apply as early as you can or start working as early as you can, but apply by the deadline for the scholarship.
If you get an interview, do a lot of practice with a teacher, maybe with a coach with an advisor, people who know you in different settings and try and find a wide array of questions you can do. So through just like Googling general interview questions. Cause you might be asked some variation of those.
What’s the time you failed. What’s the time you demonstrate. But also you can, if current scholarship recipients, or you can find their contact info, don’t hesitate to Colby, email them and say that you’d love to chat for, 10 to 15 minutes to better get an idea of, what the interview process was like and what to expect.
And I find that most people are pretty responsive to that kind of outreach. And again, you can feel free to reach out if you would talk more. We have a large fray of great advisors here at bullseye who ha are attending different schools who have received different scholarships, including me. And the advice that I can provide to you is about finding your narrative, identifying scholarships you’re good fit for, and then my own experience applying to scholarships.
So with that in mind we’re gonna move on to Q and a now. What I would like you to do is if you have a question rather than send it in the chat if you could put in, put it in the Q and a box where it says, ask a question that way it’ll be easier for me to keep track of the different questions that people are asking.
Otherwise I have to go back and forth between the chat and the Q and a. Yeah I’ll give you a little bit of time to think about some questions. It can be very general or it can be very specific about your situation. Like more individualized, happy to provide advice. And again I’ll keep this anonymous, so you’re not going to, it’s not going to share your name or anything with other people.
Or, if there are specific topics you want me to touch more on I’m also happy to do that. So if you don’t have specific questions, but you’re just more generally interested in, Hey, can you talk more about this that you touched on then? Feel free to send along some questions. All right.
I’m gonna start posting these questions into the chat and answering them. So the first question I see here is you can see in the chat now is about pre-med and experienced getting into medical school. Is that okay? I guess I would need more specifics about what specifically you’re asking about regarding medical school, but what I can say is that Being a pre-medical student is very difficult.
Medical school is even harder. I’m a first year medical student right now spend most of my time studying, including on the weekends. So really if you are thinking about medicine or even any career, honestly but especially with medicine, you don’t do your research try and shadow physicians, try and make sure, first of all, that you really care about this career.
And then once you’ve identified that then throughout pre-med you’ll have different advisors, you’ll have both like professional advisors, but also your upperclassmen classmates, talk to those people, get their advice, their study tips the pre-med tips, shadowing tips. These are all important information.
Just like I’m giving to you now about scholarships that I think will make your experience much more smooth. All right. The next question I can say, I can see is what is the best advice you can give to a junior in high school? As a junior high school, you have some more time to think about this, which is great.
And you have more time to build up your overall profile and resume, which is even better. So what I would think about is don’t attach yourself right now to like particular scholarships or even particular schools. The college application process is a very random one, but if you are hoping to be considered, then maybe, do a couple things.
First of all take a look through these scholarship criteria, just to get a better idea of what they’re looking for. And then maybe look at a kind of the activities that you are doing, the things you’re working on and whether or not you are challenging yourself in those activities, in, your academics to, do good work, right?
Because I think that colleges and scholarships specifically want to see people who have really pushed themselves to do well. Obviously not overboard, right? You want to be reasonable, but people have challenged themselves academically who have pushed themselves in extracurriculars to take on meaningful leadership roles.
And also very importantly to see like how far you have come relative to where you have started. This is super important to think about. Especially if you are feeling like you don’t think you’re competitive, it’s not necessarily just about what is your overall like scores, your extracurricular achievements, your accomplishments.
It’s about where did you start? Cause if let’s say you, your background is more, you didn’t have a lot of opportunities in your high school growing up a lot of opportunities financially through your family. These programs are not going to judge you the same way as someone who had a lot of opportunities growing up right there, they’re going to judge these relatively to see a relative distance traveled is the way I hear it a lot.
That was a bit of an aside, but I think it’s an important point to think about. In terms of, junior and high school, look at your activities, look at these criteria try and ask yourself the question. Am I pushing myself to, put myself in a position where I’ve really challenged myself and pushed myself to get up out of my own box.
The next question I see is for I’ll put it in the chat here for college merit based scholarships. Does it also require submission of FAFSA and the CSS? I think for scholarships that are partially need-based yeah. Because otherwise, if you don’t submit FAFSA and CSS, they can’t assess your financial need.
But I would say my understanding is the vast majority of merit based scholarships, right? Not financial need-based, but merit based scholarships are merit based. So unless they explicitly stated in their scholarship, I don’t think they need to see your financial situation to evaluate whether or not they want to select you.
But again, you should read the criteria for each scholarship. I think all the ones that I’ve talked about today do not have a need component to them. They just offer them to their top apple.
All right. The next question I see is similar to the one I had answered before his junior year or too early to start looking for merit based scholarships. There are a few scholarships that you can only apply to your junior year. Actually, there’s only one I know about, I think it’s like the Nordstrom scholarship.
You can look it up after, but I think there’s $10,000 and you have to apply as a junior. So to that extent, it’s actually not too early to apply, but again, the vast majority of scholarships are going to be offered to seniors. So don’t stress so much about identifying those now. Think more about, are you putting yourself in a position to succeed to the best of your ability?
And if you are doing that, then you are positioning yourself. Hopefully for any type of scholarship you want to be
all right. That’s the question is how many scholarships did you apply to and how many do you recommend that we applied to? So I applied to. I think I applied to two scholarships that had an application component to them. And then I applied to maybe six or four schools excluding those scholarships schools that automatically screened me for scholarship.
In terms of how many to apply to. I think it’s less a question of there’s an ideal number where you have a better chance of getting one. Obviously the more you apply to you, the better chance you have of receiving one, given that you are a competitive applicant, using the advice I’ve provided earlier, I’d say the way to think about this more is like what, how many scholarships do you have the energy and time to apply to?
Because I think the main limiting factor you will find as a high school, senior applying to scholarships is that you are trying to still balance your classes, get good grades, do well in your extracurriculars and apply to colleges themselves, which is a lot of work. And so I think it’s more about how do you prioritize scholarships or how do you prioritize the ones you want to apply to instead of how many that you should apply to.
And I think in terms of how to prioritize those, it’s it’s a matter of thinking about first of all, like how much do you want to go to that particular school is something that people consider when they weigh scholarships. And then second of all, like how competitive are you for that scholarship?
Like there are a range of merit scholarships, right? So a merit scholarship from Vanderbilt for example, is probably going to be, or duke is probably going to be more competitive than a merit scholarship from a smaller four year university that has like a higher admissions rate. So if you need to ask yourself, what is my priority when it comes to applying to scholarships, is it, I just want to get a scholarship at any school.
And that’s what I care about is it, I want to get a scholarship from any of XYZ schools. And if I do, I’ll go there. Is it just, I just want to throw my name into the hat and be considered, you need to think a bit about what you’re looking for at your values when you apply and then incorporate those as you prioritize your list.
And that’s what I did was, I wanted to find scholarships that were significant value that would cover at least tuition and or universities that I wanted to attend. And so that’s how I narrowed down my list to, like UNC UVA, Vanderbilt, Michigan, et cetera. All right. The next question I say, I see, and you keep them coming because we definitely have plenty of time to continue talking about them is a, if the admission probable probability is in the last 25%, it is so possible to get the college specific scholarship.
If you could clarify your question, that’d be great. But I think my understanding is if the admissions if the admissions rate of the school is like below 25%, can I be competitive for a scholarship from that school? Schools that have an admissions rate below 25% are selective schools.
Like these are some of the top universities in the U S. And so what that means is that their scholarship processes are probably even more competitive even more competitive than getting into the school itself. So I think one example is I might be wrong. I believe Columbia university, New York offers like a skull, a merit based scholarship.
I didn’t even apply to Columbia. But if you think about that, Columbia acceptance rate, like below 10%, I can’t imagine what their acceptance rate for their scholarship is probably like 0.01%. So in terms of, is it possible to get. If you don’t try, then you have no chance of getting it.
That’s the truth of it. It’s more a question of, do you have the time and the interest to give it a shot? And do you feel like you’re reasonably competitive enough to be considered? I would say, interest in time to apply is the number one thing. And then second of all is are you competitive?
Because you could think you’re competitive. I thought I was competitive for every scholarship that I, I want it to be considered by every scholarship. And then there are a lot of ones that I didn’t even, get up. I didn’t even get like to the semifinals round four. There were schools I didn’t even get into.
It’s very much even more a toss up than college applications itself. I would say you need to think a bit about the advice I gave you earlier and see maybe if you’re a competitive applicant to the college itself first and then decide if you have the time and interest to apply. All right.
I see a number of questions also that were sent the test. So I will get to those as well. But this is the last one I see in the Q and a for me is how are scholarships and financial aid given a medical school? Does it work the same way as applying to colleges? When should we know what fields in medicine we want to go into?
Okay. So I’m assuming everyone here is a high school, right? So I would say first of all, don’t stress out so much right now about these questions. This is so far in the future, you haven’t even gotten into college yet. Don’t worry about going to medical school because I think the first thing you can do is, do college applications go to a good school and then you will have plenty of advisers who can answer these questions.
I would say scholarships and financial aid though, do work similarly in medical school as to colleges they’re a mix of merit-based and then financial need-based. But I don’t believe any of them are application based. So I think you’re automatically screened for most medical school scholarships in terms of what field to go the medicine again, too early, because you don’t really decide this until the last year medical school and the whole purpose of medical school is to help you decide what you want to go into.
If you are interested in medicine, though, I would say, do some shadowing right now in high school. Maybe shadow different specialties different, providers and I think that will give you the best idea of like, how to figure out your interest right now, but I guarantee you that you, those will probably change if you go to medical school.
All right. So the next question that I’m going to. Paste that I see from tests. Yes. Let’s see. So showcasing life challenges we have faced and how our innate strength to overcome is not considered playing the sympathy card. What is your field and medicine? Okay. So it sounds like the first question part of this question is asking about how do you think about presenting your life challenges and challenges and ability to overcome the challenges in your essays.
If you are from a background where you experienced a lot of challenges growing up throughout your high school career, whether it’s like financial it’s personal, et cetera, I think it is important to represent that. And you probably will already be representing that in your common app essay or your common application itself.
But if you don’t have a chance, I think it’s a good place to, if the essay prompt applies, touch on that. Cause again, it’s all about relative distance traveled, not necessarily absolute distance traveled. If you can show to the committee more about, the kind of circumstances that may have, led to you getting a lower sat, score, lower grades, not as many extracurriculars, but maybe you had to help care for your family.
And you had a part-time job, talking about that and how you overcame those challenges are very meaningful and I think will make you competitive for scholarships too. So I think it’s less a plane, a sympathy card, and it’s more of just representing what is your story and representing it authentically.
And if you can do that, I think you are leaving nothing on the team. My field of medicine. I don’t know either to be honest. I think I have come into medical school, interested in maybe emergency medicine or internal medicine, which is like primary care, but I have three more years to go.
So that might change.
All right. The next question. I’m not going to put this in the chat cause I can just answer it here is if this is recorded, could you send us the recording? That would be very useful. Thank you. I believe yes, it is recorded. I don’t know how it will be sent out, but I think tests might know the answer to that.
Okay. Yes, it will be sent your emails after the presentation is over. So if he really enjoyed listening to my voice over the past hour, you can feel free to listen to this recording anytime you want. And hopefully the advice I provided is useful. All right. So we have a few more minutes. I am happy to take any other questions that people have concerns you have going into this process.
I still remember very vividly the stress of applying to colleges, let alone, trying to figure out how I was going to finance college. And so I very much empathize with the anxiety you might be feeling now, whether you are a junior, you’re a senior just, don’t stress too much.
I know that sounds easy to say. But just trust in the work that you’re putting in and that everything is going to work out the way it’s supposed to.
Let’s see. I want to see if there are other questions here in the chat. Are there any other topics you want me to talk a little bit more about in the time we have left about merit scholarships, about my own experience, applying to scholarships or even medical school, if that interests you whatever you think might be useful, you can feel free to drop into the Q and a and I’ll do my best to answer.
Alright, cool. Great question here. You say something about how you built your short list of colleges? Yeah, I’m happy to talk more about the college application process itself. I applied to nine colleges. I know people who have applied to many more. I think it’s really a question of, again, your interest in time.
And one thing I’ll add to that, not just interested in time, it’s like third is quality, are you putting good quality into every application you submit? Cause I think to a certain extent, colleges can tell if you are interested in them, by the effort you put into your essays. And I think a lot of colleges, even if you have amazing grades, amazing extracurriculars, if you’re not putting a lot of effort or you’re not even answering the questions they’re asking and they’re prompt, they might reject you even if you are an overly competitive applicant for their school.
So for me, I wanted to prioritize that quality. And also range, having Matt match schools that I felt I was like a good match for schools that were like a reach like the Ivy league schools. And then safety schools is the way people say it. But schools that I felt like I could get into.
And so if you are a junior in your, you’re going to be thinking about this next cycle try and build like a balanced list, maybe have two schools that are safeties on your list and try to apply to those early action. If you can. In fact, you could just apply to one safety school early action, because you will hear back by December.
And that will tell you if you need to apply to more safety schools or matches for the regular decision cycle. So take advantage of the early action, early decision deadlines to help at least guarantee you can go to a college after the cycle is over in terms of the match and the the reach schools, the match schools.
Again, I think it’s so much what I said about scholarships first look at maybe the 25th and 75th percentiles that gives you just a general idea of where you stand. Again. It is not the end all be all colleges, except people who are way below the 20th percentile and people who are way above the 75th.
This is just a very quick rule of thumb, but not a hard rule to follow. They’re going to look at your extracurriculars your personal story. The recommendation letters are very important. So for me, I think my list was like I had like maybe one safety school that I applied to early on.
Then I got in and then the rest of my schools were like matches. So matches were like schools like UVA, UNC and nor reach schools for me were Harvard, Yale, Stanford U Chicago. I also applied to Northwestern. I think that was maybe in between a match and a reach. And then got rejected by Stanford early action, actually.
And then waitlisted by U Chicago. So again, going through the process with high hopes, but low expectations because you really don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s very much a numbers game. With so many people applying for Sophie spots, it could be very random selection process in terms of what gets you in and what doesn’t get you.
All right. So some other, I see. Oh, great. A lot of other questions that I’m seeing here. First let me check via chat. Let’s see. Do you have to reapply or qualify for existing scholarships each year? Typically, no. It’s usually for, it’s usually a set amount you receive or it’s an amount per year.
Some scholarships have like baseline academic requirements, like maintain X GPA throughout college and you’ll continue to receive the money. Most scholarships don’t though. So you don’t have to worry about reapplying. All right. Some new questions I see here. Let’s see. Did you apply for scholarships after applying to college or before.
I would say with applying to colleges because the deadlines were very similar. Like Vanderbilt had its deadline for scholarships, like December 1st, which it still does today. And so you have to submit your venerable application with this scholarship application to be considered. So I didn’t really have a choice.
The other ones, yeah. I just applied with the school deadlines or like the early deadlines or whatever it was to be considered. And then I was like, in the, in, in consideration for the scholarship, in terms of other scholarships, they’re like non-college scholarships. Most of those actually apply to after colleges.
So the local ones typically had deadlines in the spring of my senior year. So I applied to those things. And then there were some names, no scholarships. Those also overlap with college application deadlines, which make them tough, like the Coca-Cola scholarship. So I had no choice, but to apply to those, like during, by their deadlines let’s see when prompts asked about challenges when prompted to ask about challenges that were faced that we are faced to make that we face to make us who we are today.
And we don’t have anything to say, what do you advise? We do? What if some of us feel we don’t have a story, should we dig deeper or just forget the prompt? I don’t think you should forget the prompt because that either means you’re not answering it or you’re not applying to the scholarship. I would say, yeah, dig deeper and think more, maybe think a little harder, like maybe do like a web mapping exercise where you start off with your name and the middle of a piece of paper and he draw lines out to different words that you associate with things that you’ve spent a lot of time on or very important, your identity.
So for example, like service or, tennis, or I don’t know, like dance or something. Or even character traits or personal experiences. Overcoming a medical illness moving to a new place, a parent’s divorce, these are all things that you can draw on through smaller anecdotes within those buckets.
That will give you something to talk about. Cause I think you definitely have faced some type of challenge. Maybe it’s not like a tragedy, but that’s okay. I think colleges want to hear your challenge and the context of your life and how you’ve reflected on it. Don’t feel obligated to make things sound really terrible or tragic just because you think that’s what they want.
They want to hear your authentic story. Be honest. All right. Next QA question. I’ll probably do, maybe I’ll try and do the final ones I see here. And then wrap up. Do you have a list of all of the merit scholarships or is your site to find them all? I would Google it just merit scholarships.
If our list is not as large as you’d like. And I think it’s the best way to find most of them. A lot of it’s going to be some work of your own though. All right. Would you recommend going to your dream school and graduating with debt or going to a realistic school and graduating with little to no debt?
This is a question you have to decide with your family because ultimately your family’s probably gonna be the ones that’s helping pay you pay for your college. If they are not, then it’s up to you to decide and it’s it’s, you’re going to have to weigh your options. Do you care about the prestige in the name of the school so much?
You’re going to go into $200,000 in debt or, do you feel like that’s not worth it? These are things you have to decide in accordance with your own values. I can’t really give you good advice on that myself. All right. How do you check percentiles that you mentioned for colleges?
I would just Google the college and then go try and find Google admitted student profile. And usually that will tell you like the ranges or you can just Google GPA sag ranges for like X school. Pretty much every school lists them on their website and some of them have their data on like other websites that you can find.
Let’s see. Okay. Last question. I’ll answer. Before we go to the final slide. So is it true that somehow if you get a bit far from your home, you have more chances of getting scholarships. I’m sorry, too many questions in first gen. First of all, don’t apologize. I’m really glad that you are here at this webinar, and I hope what I’m telling you is helpful cause I’m rooting for you.
But what I will say is I don’t think it’s a matter of distance. And honestly, what I will say is state schools tend to prefer. Their own in-state students. I think a lot of times, not just for admission, but also some other top scholarships. Yes. Some state schools will offer those scholarships to out of state students.
But for example Texas university of Texas has like a flagship scholarship. That’s like basically full tuition or something, and it’s only offered to Texas students. So I would say it’s actually less of going far away and more of looking close to home where you can find good opportunities, but don’t be afraid to apply far away to like they’re looking for a diverse body of students.
All right. Just to wrap up I just wanted to say, if you are interested in, working with some of the advisors that we have who can, give you similar advice that I’ve just provided? There’s definitely some different opportunities you can consider. I’m not going to push this on you to like, do, but if you felt like this was helpful, I definitely think that the people I work with at bulls-eye can be just as helpful if not more, whether you’re a junior or you’re a senior going through the process.
I think that there’s going to be a quick offer. That’s are some type of information that’s sent out. Yep. So you can just click that if you’re interested. And there’s a lot of different services here. Like I said, I say planning, financial aid, counseling scholarships, or chain connecting with current college students and alumni.
Yeah. Thank you all so much for your time. The next presentation we have is an application QA section with people who have gone to colleges like Chicago, Princeton, Stanford that’s in two days from eight to 9:00 PM. And I will just conclude by saying, thank you so much for your time.
I know you’re all probably busy with like your own life and figuring things that are going out going on. But it was really nice to be able to share some time together and, provide my personal experience, applying to scholarships, and I hope it was helpful for all of you. Hope you all have a good rest of your night.
And I am looking forward to hearing about all the great things you’re going to do in the future. Thank you everyone.