EARLY YEARS: Tips for negotiating college costs

Writing a good essay, searching for local scholarships among tips for finding money for college
Students and families should think small and local, when it comes to applying for scholarships
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:10 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Experts say don’t let the sticker price of college tuition scare you.

It’s something you can actually negotiate.

“If your family’s really interested in a particular school, but the offer in the financial aid package doesn’t quite meet your needs, you can absolutely go back to that school. Write a letter. Present your financial details,” says Kane.

The National Society of High School Scholars is an academic honor society that provides scholarships to qualifying students.

“There’s a scholarship for every type of student. Some are merit-based. Some are need-based. Some are really going to be evaluating based on the quality of the essay and the letters of recommendation,” says Kane.

When writing the essay, Kane wants students to keep these things in mind:

- Be authentic, tell your story

- Have someone else read your essay for errors, because grammar and spelling matter.

- Be sure to answer the question being asked.

“One of the most important things is when you’re applying for a scholarship, be sure to answer the question that’s being asked. So many times we see a student write a perfectly good essay, but it’s not answering the question,” says Kane.

Along with filling out the FAFSA form, Kane suggests looking for scholarships that match your student’s interests and experience.

Also, think local and think small, when it comes to scholarships.

“The students who have the most success are applying to as many good fit college scholarships as possible, and then stacking those awards. So, those small dollar amounts, the 500-dollar awards may be less competitive,” says Kane.

Kane says students need to maintain good relationships with teachers and coaches who you’re going to need to write letters of recommendation.

Scholarships aren’t just for freshman year.

Many can be applied to costs throughout the college years, including emergency funds to get students through their final months to graduation.

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