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How To Pay Less For College When Your Student Refuses To Do Scholarship Applications

Merit scholarships are a great way to pay less for college. But private merit scholarships aren’t the only way to use your student’s achievements and efforts to lower college costs.


I was speaking with a mom today who shared that her son, a high school sophomore, refuses to do “all those” scholarship applications.  This highly successful attorney told him she believes he’ll regret not having more choices about where he can go to college, but it’s his decision to get a job to contribute to the cost of his college education.


She was heart-broken.


She wants the best for her son.  And being able to pay for college is part of her goals.


I first responded by congratulating her and her son for having such an honest conversation about the cost of college.


Then I shared strategies to lower college costs with achievements in other ways that also allow him to contribute the cost of his own college education.


The right strategy to combat rising college costs must begin with who your student is.


(It’s the first step in my proven W.I.S.H.E.S. system to reduce the cost of college and prepare students for lifelong success.)


There is no “one size fits all” plan for much of anything, and that includes paying for college, as well as getting into college.

How to Win Merit Scholarships Without a Separate Application

It’s true.  Your student can begin winning private merit scholarships starting in middle school and all the way through graduate school.  There are private merit scholarships for all kinds of achievements, challenges, hobbies, passions, and more.


And, of course, pursing these opportunities for money for college can lower the cost of college.  There are always more private merit scholarships to pursue.  It’s quite a relief to know that your family can keep cutting college costs.


But not all students are willing to go that route.  And the sooner you discover if your student is one of them, the sooner you can pursue other options.  (I’ve counseled way too many remorseful parents who waited too long to create a plan to pay for college and they are left without any good choices.)


If your student won’t write essays for merit scholarships, they can still do what it takes to win large, renewable merit scholarships from colleges.  Many schools don’t require a separate application for students to win institutional merit scholarships.  These schools will use your student’s GPA and SAT (or ACT) scores to award merit scholarships.


To win these scholarships students need to:

  • Score as high as possible on the SAT (or ACT)
  • Maintain as high a GPA as possible, balancing rigor with grades
  • Strategically apply to colleges that will offer institutional merit scholarships based on their admissions application

NOTE:  Deadlines for merit scholarships may be earlier than the admissions deadline.


Before students can win any merit scholarships, they need to be eligible for them.  There are age appropriate (and grade appropriate) steps all students can take starting in middle school to get into more colleges and pay less.


Paying for college cannot be an afterthought.


Getting into college is one thing. Paying for it is another. ®


We can combat rising college costs and empower our kids with “skin in the game.”


Claim your free tips and strategies at NancyPaul.com.



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