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Guest Author

Great Scholarship Advice for the B Student

What if you’re not a straight-A student? Can you still earn scholarships to pay for your dream school? Lynn O’Shaughnessy of TheCollegeSolution.com says “Definitely!” and explains how to do it.

If you’re a “B” student, you may have more options than you might assume.

Don’t believe me?

Here is a story of a young woman named Katie.

Katie attended a private high school in California where she earned a 3.0 GPA. She applied to these four private schools and was accepted into all of them:

  • California Lutheran University
  • Dominican University (CA)
  • Linfield College (OR)
  • Pacific Lutheran University (WA)

When she received her acceptances, she received these annual merit scholarships:

  • California Lutheran $9,100
  • Dominican University $11,150
  • Linfield College $13,770
  • Pacific Lutheran U. $10,678

Katie’s first choice was Cal Lutheran, but it offered her the lowest award.  Katie’s mom contacted Cal Lutheran and mentioned that the school was her No. 1 choice, but money was an issue and other schools offered better awards.

Cal Lutheran asked the mom to fax the other award letters and the school added an additional $3,500 to the yearly award. That brought the first-year award to $12,600 and the total award to $50,400.


Schools: Desperately Seeking Students

You might assume that a teenager with a 3.0 GPA would have trouble getting into many colleges and universities. That is actually wrong.

Every year, UCLA does an exhaustive survey of the newest crop of freshmen attending public and private colleges and universities that includes this question: Did you get into your No. 1 school?

Every year roughly 75% of freshmen say that they were admitted into their No. 1 pick.

College is actually a buyer’s market at the vast majority of the nation’s colleges and universities. It’s not hard to get into most four-year institutions, but many families don’t understand this because of the media’s preoccupation with the tiny percentage of schools, including the Ivies, that reject nearly everybody.

You might also assume that a B student wouldn’t capture any merit scholarships, much less enjoy success in receiving a higher award. But that too is wrong.

Beyond the elite institutions, admission directors at most schools are stressed that they won’t meet their annual admission goals. Admission offices are finding it harder to attract enough freshmen.


Colleges Not Filling Their Freshmen Slots

Every year, Inside Higher Ed, a respected online newspaper, sponsors a Gallup Poll of senior admission officers on a variety of issues and the biggest revelation of the most recent survey was the number of schools that didn’t meet their enrollment targets during the 2013-2014 admission season. By May 1, which is the traditional day when applicants are supposed to make their freshman deposits, 59% of the public and private schools that were polled still had vacancies.

In fact, in the survey some schools acknowledged a practice that has always been considered taboo. Some administrators admitted that they were contacting students after the May 1 deposit day in hopes of enticing students who had committed to other schools to change their minds.

I had an off-the-record conversation with an administrator at a Midwestern college recently and he mentioned that the number of admission offices trying to lure students to their schools after the traditional deposit date has jumped considerably in the past two years.  Schools are trying to poach committed freshmen by luring them with promises of better scholarship deals. This, by the way, is hardly a practice aimed just at “A” students.


Being Strategic When Looking for Schools

If you are a “B” student – and most teenagers are – you should look for colleges strategically when you are seeking to cut costs. Look for schools that accept the majority of their students, which includes most colleges. Also throw a wider net and don’t just focus on universities that are located in cities on the coast.


Author bio: Through her online courses, The College Solution blog, and her Amazon bestselling book, Lynn O’Shaughnessy helps families make college more affordable. If you’re a parent or student, click here to subscribe to Lynn’s newsletter and receive her free guide “Finding the Most Generous Colleges”.


About Guest Author

This post was written by a friend of Magoosh.

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