High School Seniors Win $14million in Scholarships -- true or false?

Did Hough High school students really receive $14,000,000 in scholarships?

That is how the headline read in the blog "Cornelius Today."

"How come my student didn't get that kind of money?" you may painfully wonder.

"I'm going to find those scholarships for my child!" you may resolve.

Take a deep breath and let's dig into the numbers.

college scholarships, paying for college, how to pay for college

Click this link and see the table breaking down all high schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg's system.

$13,953,220 awarded in 287 scholarships. I could go on all day, but I will refrain and make just four, simple points.

  • There were approximately 700 seniors in Hough's Class of 2020, and 287 scholarship winners reported. +/- 400 students (apparently) were awarded $0.00.
  • Do the math and the average scholarship is $48,618, yet the cost-of-attendance at most UNC System universities is under $26,000
  • At the bottom of the report critical data is noted: over $23,000,000 were athletic grants-in-aid. That is NOT "Scholarships." Athletic-grants-in-aid are awarded to athletes for athletic prowess. Some athletes report only modest academic achievements.
  • Finally, the $48,618 average scholarship is an aggregate number. In other words, as students heard back from 4, 6, 8, 10 (or more?) colleges, and as each college tendered an offer of, let's say $3,000 per year, or $4,000 per year, maybe even $10,000, all of the numbers were added together for that student to aggregate at $48,000+

Let me tell you about Michael. He was awarded (rounding off) $30,000 by Rose-Hulman, $28,000 by Rennselaer Polytechnic, $3,000 by the University of Maryland**, and $22,000 by Virginia Tech. Using the criteria above, I could have reported that my student, Michael, was awarded $83,000 in scholarships. Instead, my report is that Michael is at Virginia Tech paying in-state tuition as an out-of-state student. An excellent deal for his family!

As the saying goes, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Before I go, here's a final, encouraging note. Michael will pay around $100,000 - $110,000 for his bachelor's degree in engineering. Do you want to guess how Michael is spending his summer, between college junior and senior years? As I write this (June 18) he is starting an internship with General Motors in Detroit, working in the autonomous, electric vehicle research division.** I expect him to be amply rewarded for his excellence in academics, and to recoup that $100-G's quickly.

** University of Maryland and General Motors will not hyperlink. Copy and paste the URLs here:

Posted in College Planning, College Planning Strategies. Tagged as college planning lake norman, college scholarships, how to pay cash for college, how to pay for bachelor's degree, how to pay for college, money for college, online college consultants, paying for college, scholarships for college.

11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing? Part 3

Are you coming back for part 3, or are you reading this Blog first?

If you are reading this one first, scroll down to find Blog 1 and Blog 2 of this series.

Keep moving. You don't have as much time as you may be thinking. Between now August 2020, when applications open for the Class of 2021, you have a lot to think about and decide. Financial aid is also tied to your good work now.

paying for college, high school juniors, preparing for college

Here are the topics, and in reverse order.
5. Where are you going to apply?
4. Have I visited every college I am applying to?
3. What are my academic qualifications?
2. What will I major in?
1. What do I see as my future career?

Do you play sports? Video games? Anything competitive?      

There is a competitive aspect to college. Not every student in every class will earn an A. Not everyone will earn a C. The difference between a C and an A is determined, in part, by how well the entire class is assimilating the subject matter.

Really good teachers (the kind we all want) feel out the academic ability of the class and adjust their teaching.

  • Is the class getting it, and catching on? Accelerate the curriculum.
  • Is the class giving you that deer-in-the-headlights look? Slow down. Take more time to explain each concept.
  • Tests and grades are based on what has been presented.

I was a soccer referee for many years. I worked just about the entire spread of players' abilities from recreation matches for children, to college and professional players. The child who is the
star of the recreation program team might well sit the bench, or even not make a premier level, youth team. There are college athletes who, although good, will not make the cut in a professional team tryout.

Applying the analogy to colleges, there is a difference between the academic rigor of a school like the University of California at Berkley and California State University at Chico. A student who will find his comfort level at one may not feel pushed enough at the other. Turn it around, and a good fit at one may well struggle to keep up at the other.

Look at a college's most recently published, First Year Cohort. What are the SAT/ACT score ranges? What is the average GPA of the incoming class; average Class Rank?

Another tactic is call the university you are considering. Ask about academic rigor. Tell them you are determining where to apply based, in part, on that criteria. They will pick up the conversation from there.

Come back next week for answers to questions 4 and 5 above.

Posted in College Planning, College Planning Strategies. Tagged as college planning lake norman, college planning strategies, heading to college, high school juniors, how to pay for college, paying for college, preparing for college.


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