“Guaranteed” Sure Sounds Nice
Scholarships are often seen as too numerous to sort through, highly competitive, and onerous in their requirements. Students hesitate to put much time into the various essays and other requirements because it’s seemingly a crap shoot as to whether or not anything comes of it.
But numerous colleges have arrangements in which they basically say “if you have accomplished X, Y, and/or Z to this point we promise to give you tuition money.” This class of scholarships acts more like grants, in that if you meet the qualifications put forth you are assured an award in return. Hence their name: guaranteed scholarships.
Application entails no interviews, no essays, no competitions, no committee deliberation. So long as you have certain requisite deeds to your name, usually academic in nature, some schools want you bad enough to pay you to look their way. Typically these include certain SAT or ACT test scores, GPAs, or class rankings.
However, don’t despair if you haven’t exactly overachieved in your high school years. A good number of institutions offer guaranteed help according to a scale, with payouts in the thousands still available to GPAs in the twos. Others offer awards for qualifications entirely other than academic, such as alumni connections, club and church memberships, and parental occupations.
With guarantees at play, it pays to concentrate your efforts on qualifying for these scholarships before venturing into more competitive and risky territory in your search for free money. Look into such scholarships at your schools of choice and see if it makes a difference to to your bottom line. If not, find colleges offering guaranteed scholarships to students like yourself and consider whether or not these now-cheaper schools would be a good fit for your goals and pocketbook. Then if you qualify, apply.
In your research on this topic also note of the heavy emphasis on SAT/ACT scores and prepare accordingly. You may find it worthwhile to do what it takes to boost your pre-collegiate exam scores whether it be prep courses, practice tests, or the learning of test-taking strategies. A few meager points can often make a significant difference in money awarded. For example, a student with an SAT score of 1130 would automatically get $2500-$3000 toward tuition at Faulkner University, but an additional ten points could net up to a thousand dollars more. High test scores open up a world of options that may have otherwise remained out of reach.
For a good look at some of these opportunities, check out the website Guaranteed Scholarships. I don’t think their list is exhaustive, however, so it may also help to look up schools individually to find out whether they offer some form of this type of aid. A simple Google search of the term will also provide you a treasure trove of information to sift through, though beware anything with the word “guarantee” in it that’s not specific to a particular college. Outside this narrow world of college-offered scholarships, little else is truly a sure thing.