Getting More Scholarship Money
If you act early, there are many positive things you can do to increase your financial aid package. Even though many colleges claim that they award financial aid based solely need, there more desirable you are to a school the greater lengths they will go to in order to have you as a student.
Of course, the most obvious way to increase your attractiveness to schools is through academics. Better grades not only increase you chances of winning a scholarship, but better grades will get you preferential treatment in the way you entire financial aid package is constructed. For example, grants-which do not have to be repaid-will make up a higher percentage of your award as opposed to loans.
If you are thinking that it is too late for you to make a meaningful improvement in your GPA, think again. A small improvement, even as little as one-tenth of a point could significantly improve a school's financial aid offer. Keep in mind that schools commonly have a fixed cutoff point for grants. So, the difference between a 3.4 GPA and a 3.5 could conceivably be thousands in free grant dollars.
Besides GPA, give serious attention to improving you SAT (or ACT) scores. (See our SAT prep guide for more information.) It is hard to understate the importance these scores play in financial aid--not to mention admissions. This is why we strongly recommend taking a prep course. These courses do work. An improvement of 100 points or more is not usual for dedicated students who retake the SAT after completing a quality prep course. This can make all the difference in the grant and scholarship money you receive.
For more information about college scholarships and grants, please see the Free preview of our Scholarship and College Grant Search Guide or consider purchasing the full guide. It will point you to the best scholarship resources on the Web and can help you pay for even the most expensive schools.