What Can We Do To Increase The Chances Of Receiving Merit Scholarships?

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Today, I will discuss a little known “Insider-Secret”. It has to do with a combination college admissions and financial aid question I’m frequently asked…“Is there anything we can do to increase the chances of getting Merit Scholarships?”

The strategy I am about to disclose isn’t for everyone. But it does frustrate me that more students and parents don’t take this more seriously as a valid college strategy!

The Insider Secret is called “Strategic Positioning”.
I would absolutely agree that it is important to find a university that can provide the right academic and social fit, but there are so many colleges out there to choose from.

Year after year, we observe students applying to the “same old colleges”. When pressed for the reason why? The students can’t give me a valid reason, other than “My best friend’s going there” or “so and so went there” or “I heard it’s pretty cool school”. Sometimes, it is the parent’s own insecurities! These are all the wrong reasons.

Why is it kids so often apply to the same colleges? I don’t know. But I’d be willing to bet it’s a lack of knowledge of what’s available.

Despite this, there are so many other smaller private schools that ordinarily wouldn’t get your child to apply to them. It may be, they’re not a “name brand” school? Maybe they’re in a different geographical area of the country.

Regardless of the reason, there are plenty of smaller colleges that would love to accept your child…and more importantly, be willing to offer them a significant Tuition Discount to attend.

A Tuition Discount is nothing more than a Merit scholarship that’s offered to a family, regardless of financial need as a means to offer a discount off the Tuition and ultimately the Cost of Attendance. Bottom line, it’s FREE money! Please note though, this strategy will not work at the Ivy League college and universities!

Now why would a college do this? Chances are, they’re losing students to other schools. It could also be the student has chosen to go to an Ivy? It might be they’ve decided to attend a different college in the same conference…who knows the reason! But now it creates a wonderful opportunity for you.

You might ask yourself, what criteria would a college use? Well,obviously the college would use SAT scores, GPA, and Class Rank if the High School uses Class Rank.

How might you investigate this? There are numerous resources for you to sort thru. But very similar to what we discussed in the previous College Admissions article on “Acceptance Probability”, you’ll need to become familiar with all the academic and personal factors a particular Admissions Committee uses in making a decision for acceptance and see if your student falls in the top 5-10% of the typical incoming freshmen.


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