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NNPS & TNCC. Welcomes You. Why You’re Here. Virtually everyone can – and will – tell you that college is important! You are much more likely to be successful and happy if you continue your education past high school. Look Into the Future. College will be increasingly important.

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Welcomes You

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Why You’re Here

  • Virtually everyone can – and will – tell you that college is important!

  • You are much more likely to be successful and happy if you continue your education past high school.

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Look Into the Future

  • College will be increasingly important.

  • By 2012, there will be 3 million new jobs that require a college degree – but not enough graduates to fill them.

  • Future jobs will require some form of education after high school:

    • 90% of fastest growing jobs

    • 60% of all jobs

    • 40% of all manufacturing jobs

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College Is Important

  • In a changing world, college will provide you with more career options.

  • There is a direct correlation between attending college and being employed.

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College Is Important

  • College has a direct effect on personal income

  • Recent data on total personal income in Virginia, age 25 and above:

    • No HS diploma = $17,134

    • HS diploma = $26,979

    • Some college = $32,863

    • Bachelor’s degree = $49,274

    • Advanced degree = $76,642

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College Is Important

  • People who have attended some college:

    • Are more likely to vote

    • Are more likely to volunteer

    • Report that their health is better

    • Are less likely to be incarcerated

  • It’s true – college is important!

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What We’ll Do Tonight

  • We’re going to cover three topics about going to college

  • First topic – Choosing the Right College for You

    • Provide a timeline for juniors and seniors to follow

    • Discuss college application process including deadlines, transcripts and essays

    • Provide a tool to use in evaluating which college is right for you

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What We’ll Do Tonight

  • Second topic – The Financial Aid Process

    • Discuss the details of college costs

    • Provide a timeline for juniors and seniors to follow

    • Provide tips to prepare and apply for financial aid

    • Show you a sample financial aid award letter,and provide a tool to help in evaluating awards from schools you are considering

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What We’ll Do Tonight

  • Third topic – Scholarship Searches and Scams

    • Creating a scholarship search plan

    • Characteristics of successful scholarship candidates

    • What to expect if awarded a scholarship

    • How to recognize and avoid scholarship scams

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What We’ll Do Tonight

  • At the end of the evening, we’ll collect your evaluations of tonight’s event.

  • Even better, we’ll hold a scholarship drawing in this room.

  • We’ll select winners of the $500 scholarships.

  • You must be present to win.

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What’s Next

  • Be sure to:

    • Fill out a scholarship entry form

    • Take a copy of Opportunities home with you

    • Check www.collegenightinva.org for a copy of tonight’s presentations

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Lots of Choices

  • There are over 6,000 colleges to choose from in the United States

  • School types

    • Public (both 2- and 4-year)

    • Private

    • Private career schools

  • One size does not fit all

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What Are Your Goals?

  • Choosing a college begins by defining your goals

  • Are you looking to:

    • Learn a trade or enter a specific profession?

    • Obtain a degree?

      • Associate’s

      • Bachelor’s

      • Advanced – Master’s, Doctoral or Professional

  • High school preparation is key

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High School Preparation

  • The track you are on in high school greatly influences the colleges you will be able to attend:

    • Advanced Placement (AP) Classes

    • Dual-enrollment Programs

    • IB Diploma Programme

    • Career-Technical Preparation Programs

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Choosing a College

  • Which colleges can help you meet your goals?

  • You can narrow down the list by considering factors important to you.

  • Factors to consider

    • Program or major you are considering

    • College size

    • Class size

    • Location or distance from home

    • Prestige, reputation

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Choosing a College

  • Additional factors to consider

    • Campus atmosphere

    • Extracurricular activities

    • Religious or cultural affiliations

    • Cost of attendance

  • A few words about cost…

    • Think about cost when making your final decision, not as much when starting your search

    • Consider your net out-of-pocket cost, not just the sticker price

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Opportunities – Page 5

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College Application Process

  • There are many things you can do to prepare for a successful college application process.

  • The Opportunities booklet contains a checklist on page 6.

  • The checklist shows steps you should take beginning the summer before your junior year through high school graduation.

  • Some of the highlights appear on the following slides.

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Timeline – Junior Year

  • August – September

    • Make sure you are on track to graduate

  • October

    • Take PSAT/NMSQT

    • Make a list of college entrance requirements

    • Meet with school counselor

    • Consider attending college admissions fairs

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Timeline – Junior Year

  • January – August

    • Request information from colleges

    • Visit colleges and begin to narrow your list

    • Take SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Tests (if needed)

    • Start preparations for “other” admissions requirements

    • Work on your “resume”

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Timeline – Senior Year

  • September – December

    • Review plans with your school counselor

    • Retake SAT/ACT (if necessary)

    • Make a final list of colleges

    • Plan for college admissions deadlines

    • Note any “early decision” (binding) and “early action” (non-binding) application deadlines

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Timeline – Senior Year

  • September – December

    • Visit colleges

    • Request informational multimedia

    • Start drafts of admissions essays

    • Request high school transcripts

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Timeline – Senior Year

  • September – December

    • Identify references

    • Finalize “other” admissions requirements

    • Schedule admissions interviews if appropriate for the colleges that interest you

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Timeline – Senior Year

  • December

    • Follow up with your references

    • Complete revisions of applications and essays

    • Mail/submit applications before holiday break

    • Commit to keeping your grades up

  • May

    • Take Advanced Placement and IB exams

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College Entrance Exams

  • High school preparation also includes taking college entrance exams:

    • PSAT or PLAN

    • SAT

    • ACT

  • These tests are required or recommended by many colleges.

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College Entrance Exams


    • Taken in Junior year as a “rehearsal” for the SAT

    • Measures reading, math and writing skills

    • More information: www.collegeboard.com/testing

  • PLAN Test

    • The rehearsal test for the ACT

    • English, math, reading and science

    • More information: www.actstudent.org/plan

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College Entrance Exams

  • SAT Reasoning

    • Math, critical reading, writing

    • Measures conceptual thinking rather than facts

    • Scoring scale is 200-800 for each section

    • Practice questions available at www.collegeboard.com

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College Entrance Exams

  • ACT

    • 215 questions, multiple choice

    • Directly related to what you learned in high school

    • Score ranges from 1-36

    • Optional writing test available

    • Visit www.act.org for more information

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College Entrance Exams

  • SAT subject tests

    • Mostly multiple choice questions

    • Measures knowledge of particular subjects

    • More than 20 subject tests available

    • Many colleges may require one or more

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Opportunities – Page 8

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Your College Applications

  • Most colleges accept – and some require – online applications

  • Read the directions carefully

    • Ability to follow directions correctly is part of many colleges’ acceptance criteria

  • Deadline for applications and supporting documentation

    • Each college has its own – See its website

    • If applying by mail, is it postmark or arrival date?

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Your College Applications

  • Transcripts

    • Official transcript needed for each college where you applied

    • Many acceptances contingent on maintaining GPA

    • Most require a final high school transcript

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Your College Applications

  • References

    • Usually from teachers, other adults and peers

    • Allow plenty of time

    • Give as much information as possible

    • Include stamped, pre-addressed envelope

    • Write thank you notes to your references and let them know when you get accepted

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Your College Applications

  • Admissions essays

    • Stay on topic

    • Essays should be error free

    • Don’t exceed the word limit

    • Be yourself

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Your College Applications

  • Other evidence of talent

    • Portfolio

    • Audition tapes

    • Writing samples

    • Contact specific program for more information

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What We’ll Cover

  • Opportunities booklet contains information on the financial aid process, beginning on page 11

  • Your college costs

  • The FAFSA and you

  • Types of financial aid

  • The final decision

  • Understanding your award letter

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Your College Costs

  • Cost of attendance (COA) – a.k.a. “budget”

  • Consists of direct and indirect costs

  • Direct costs are paid to the college

    • Tuition and fees

    • Room and board if living on campus

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Your College Costs

  • COA can also include indirect costs:

    • Room and board if living off campus

    • Books and supplies

    • Personal expenses

    • Transportation

    • Allowance for dependent care

    • Loan fees

    • Cost of a personal computer

    • Costs related to disability

    • Reasonable costs for study abroad

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Your College Costs

  • COA can also be thought of as the “sticker price” – the total cost of going to college before any financial aid you may receive

  • Remember – it is important to look at the net price

  • Begin to find out your net price to attend college by filing the FAFSA

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About the FAFSA

  • FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student Aid

  • Determines eligibility for:

    • Most federal financial aid programs

    • Many state financial aid programs

    • Much of the aid colleges award from their own funds

  • Colleges may require additional forms to collect more detailed data

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About the FAFSA

  • FAFSA asks you questions about

    • Income

    • Assets

    • Family size

    • Number of family members attending college

  • Three versions of the FAFSA

    • Online – www.fafsa.ed.gov

    • PDF FAFSA – Print from your computer

    • Paper FAFSA – Call 1-800-4-FED-AID

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About the FAFSA

  • Online version is best

    • Built-in edits make it easier to complete accurately

    • Sign it electronically with your PIN obtained from www.pin.ed.gov

    • If dependent, parent also needs to sign with PIN

    • Faster results

  • Over 98% of FAFSAs are submitted online

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Preparing for the FAFSA

  • Gather documents (both parents and students)

  • Income tax returns – estimate if you have not completed your return

  • W-2 forms and other income

  • Benefits records from state and federal agencies

  • Current bank statements

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Tips for FAFSA Success

  • Meet all financial aid deadlines

    • Can vary from college to college

    • Meeting “priority deadline” results in best financial aid package available

  • It’s okay to estimate your financial information – Will get an opportunity to correct

  • List all colleges that you are applying to

  • Retain a copy of your completed FAFSA

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FAFSA Help Is Available

  • You can receive in-person help in completing the FAFSA at “Super Saturday”

  • Sponsored by Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and Virginia College Access Network

  • Saturday, February 13, 2010

  • Many locations across the state

  • Details at www.vasfaa.org

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Financial Aid Process

  • After completing the FAFSA, the student receives Student Aid Report (SAR)

    • Correct any errors and return

    • SAR contains Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

  • FAFSA information is also sent to the colleges you listed to receive the data

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EFC Determines Aid Offered

  • COA (Cost of attendance) – EFC = financial need

  • Financial aid office will then determine the student’s eligibility for federal and state financial aid, and for any aid the college may be able to offer from its own funds

  • Student will receive an award letter with the details

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Types of Financial Aid

  • Gift aid

    • Federal grant programs

    • State grant programs

    • Scholarships

    • Institutional aid

  • Other types of federal “self-help” aid

    • Federal work-study

    • Federal loan programs

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Gift Aid – Federal Grants

  • Pell Grant

    • Need-based

    • Awards depend on program funding, cost of attendance and expected family contribution

    • Maximum award in 2009−2010 = $5,350

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Gift Aid – Federal Grants

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

    • Need-based

    • Must have received Pell Grant

    • Awards between $100−$4,000

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Gift Aid – Federal Grants

  • Academic Competitiveness Grant Program

    • 1st or 2nd year student

    • Must have completed rigorous high school program

    • Must be a Pell Grant recipient

    • Must be enrolled at least half-time

    • $750 1st year

    • $1,300 2nd year

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Gift Aid – Federal Grants

  • SMART Grant

    • Enrolled at least half-time in bachelor’s or graduate degree program that includes at least 3 years of study at a 4-year college

    • Must be a Pell Grant recipient

    • Must major in sciences, math, engineering, technology, or crucial foreign language

    • At least 3.0 cumulative GPA

    • Award up to $4,000 for a maximum of 3 years

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Gift Aid – State Grants

  • There are four major grant programs in Virginia:

    • CSAP – College Scholarship Assistance Program

    • Virginia Commonwealth Award

    • VGAP – Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program

    • VTAG – Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant

  • More details on these and other Virginia financial aid programs on:

    • Pages 6-8 of Virginia Opportunities booklet

    • www.schev.edu

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Gift Aid – State Grants

  • CSAP is based entirely on need

    • For students at Virginia public and some private colleges

    • College determines award amount

    • Range from $400−$5,000 depending upon need and legislative appropriations

  • Virginia Commonwealth Award

    • Students at Virginia public colleges only

    • College determines award amount

    • Awards are proportional to need

    • Neediest students get the largest awards

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Gift Aid – State Grants

  • VGAP is based on both need and merit

    • Students at Virginia public colleges only

    • Must have a 2.5 high school GPA

    • Maximum award = Cost of tuition, fees and a book allowance

    • Must be a full-time student and maintain a 2.0 college GPA

    • Awards are proportional to need

    • Neediest students get the largest awards

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Gift Aid – State Grants

  • VTAG is not based on need or merit

    • Grant to Virginia students attending accredited private nonprofit colleges in Virginia

    • Students must be enrolled full-time

    • Maximum undergraduate award in 2009−2010 is approximately $3,000

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Federal Work-Study

  • To qualify

    • Need-based

    • Undergraduate or graduate students

    • Enrolled at least half-time

  • Getting the money

    • Work part-time

    • Earn at least minimum wage

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Federal Loan Programs

  • Perkins Loans

    • Student borrower

    • Need-based

    • Undergrads borrow up to $5,500 annually

    • Typically a 10-year repayment period

    • Deferment options available while enrolled

    • In-school interest paid by federal government

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Federal Loan Programs

  • Stafford Loans

  • Student is the borrower

  • There are two types:

    • Subsidized

      • Based on need

      • Federal government pays interest while the student is in school

    • Unsubsidized

      • Not need-based

      • Borrower is responsible for all interest that accrues

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Federal Loan Programs

  • FAFSA determines eligibility for type of loan

  • Student may qualify for a combination of loan types

    • Dependent students can borrow up to $5,500 for first year

    • Independent students can borrow up to $9,500 for first year

    • 10- to 25-year repayment period

    • Typically a 6-month grace period after leaving college before repayment begins

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Federal Loan Programs

  • PLUS Loan

    • For parents of dependent undergraduate students

    • Parent cannot have an “adverse credit history”

    • Fixed interest rate of 7.9% or 8.5% depending upon the college the student attends

    • Repayment begins 60 days after last disbursement, but payments can be postponed until the student is no longer enrolled half-time

    • Can borrow up to cost of attendance minus other financial aid

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Understanding Award Letters

  • Read your award letter carefully

    • Look for instructions for next steps

  • Keep your college aware of changing financial issues

  • Meet all deadlines

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Understanding Award Letters

  • Award letter

    • Lists types of aid

    • Accept or decline

    • Shows budget

    • Sign and return

  • Pages 24-25 in Opportunities

  • Worksheet on page 26 helps you compare awards

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Understanding Award Letters

  • What if it’s not enough?

    • Research private scholarships

    • Consider any potential employer benefits

    • Check into college tuition payment plans

    • Make financial aid office aware of changes in your financial situation

  • Reminder – you must complete the FAFSA to be considered for most types of aid

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  • Dispelling myths about scholarships

  • Searching for scholarships

  • Successful scholarship candidates

  • Scholarship applications

  • Watch for scams

  • Tips to remember

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Dispelling Myths

  • A form of gift aid – money given to students that doesn’t have to be repaid

  • A few commonly held myths about scholarships:

    • You need a very high GPA

    • You need lots of extracurricular activities

    • If you’re a great student, they’ll find you

    • Millions of dollars go unclaimed each year

    • It’s just like applying to college

    • The competition is too intense

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Finding Scholarships

  • You need to develop a plan to search and apply for scholarships.

  • Internet scholarship searches are a good place to start:

    • Look for no-fee sites.

    • Search engines require you to complete a profile.

    • Watch for scams.

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Popular Scholarship Sites

  • Fastweb – www.fastweb.com

  • College Board – www.collegeboard.com

  • Scholarships.com – www.scholarships.com

  • Many other scholarship search sites

  • Not endorsing those listed above, but have been proven to be legitimate sites

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Other Scholarship Resources

  • A good scholarship search extends beyond surfing the web

  • High school counselor

    • May have a list of local competitions

    • Check with other area high schools

  • College/university

    • Financial aid office

    • Check within your major

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Other Scholarship Resources

  • Family and friends

  • Employers

  • Religious, civic and community organizations

  • Foundations

  • Public library

    • Several volumes of scholarship listings

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Successful Scholarship Candidates

  • Apply for many different scholarships

  • Request applications to allow plenty of time for completing application requirements

  • Turn in error-free applications

    • Follow all application directions

    • Watch out for the fine print

  • Keep copies of completed applications

  • Are thankful and gracious

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Scholarship Applications

  • May need to provide

    • Essays/personal statement

    • Letters of recommendation

    • Examples of work in specific study area/portfolio

    • SAT/ACT scores

    • Transcripts

    • Interview

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Scholarship Applications

  • Essays and personal statement

    • Show, don’t tell

    • Recycle writing appropriately

    • Have others proofread

    • Focus on potential

    • Ask for help if you need it

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Scholarship Applications

  • Letters of recommendation

    • Provide scholarship criteria to references

    • Request personalized recommendation

    • Provide resume and copy of recommendation form

    • Provide stamped envelope

    • Keep in touch with references

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Scholarship Applications

  • ACT/SAT Scores and transcripts

    • Request in time to meet deadlines

    • Confirm that information has been sent

    • Official or unofficial transcript?

    • Take standardized tests in time to meet deadlines

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Scholarship Applications

  • Interviews

    • Can be a major source of stress

    • Be prepared for most common questions

    • Think of it as a conversation

    • Remember the basics

      • Be on time

      • Dress appropriately

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Scholarship Applications

  • Portfolio

    • May include writing samples, artwork, audition tapes

    • Many committees request electronic versions

    • Provide postage if you want it returned

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Watch for Scams

  • If it sounds too good to be true…

    • Beware of promises that are unrealistic

  • You’re guaranteed to win or your money back

    • Scholarships are competitive

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Watch for Scams

  • Come to a free seminar with a trained financial aid consultant

    • May try to sell you other financial products

  • The scholarship will cost some money

    • Always investigate the sponsor

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Watch for Scams

  • You can’t get this information anywhere else

    • Legitimate scholarship providers want to award their scholarships

  • Just give us your credit card number and we’ll get started

    • Investigate organizations carefully

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Watch for Scams

  • You are a finalist (for a scholarship you never applied for)

    • Most scholarship sponsors contact in response to inquiries

  • We’ll do all the work for you

    • You must provide all the work or the application is fraudulent

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Tips to Remember

  • Scam mailings often sound/look official

  • If you win, you will always receive notice via mail

  • Watch out for 900 area code telephone numbers

  • Always walk away from high pressure sales

  • Be wary of endorsements

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When You Win

  • What to expect

    • Congratulations letter – keep a copy for your records!

    • High profile scholarships may include follow-ups

    • Check may be sent to you or your college

    • May need to send transcripts and proof of enrollment

    • Fulfill obligations

  • College may adjust your financial aid award

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Student Loan Scams

  • Recent years have seen an increase in deceptive student loan practices.

  • Be particularly careful of loans that are not offered through the college financial aid office.

  • More information on avoiding loan scams is available at www.ftc.gov.