Introduction to the Quick Guide
There is an enormous amount of information covered in Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice--—a book that every college-bound student should read to ensure that he or she identifies all of his or her financial aid options. For example, students may save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars through fee waivers; save tens of thousands of dollars through out-of-state tuition waivers; and save 100 percent of the cost of attending college by simply making the right college choice. Students must know the difference between merit-based and need-based financial aid and where to find the financial aid or scholarships for which they best qualify.
The intent of this Quick Guide, or quick glimpse into the book, is to assist students in focusing their research, identifying the many sources of financial aid, and identifying the college that will best support their journey toward their educational and career aspirations.
However, neither the book nor the quick guide promises that the process will be easy. There is much work to be done, many hours to be invested, and many conversations that must occur. Students must begin by avoiding the three biggest financial aid mistakes:
Filing their FAFSA late
Filing the college’s financial aid application after the filing deadline
Choosing the wrong college
This, the Quick Guide, provides a quick glimpse into each of the chapters in the book and some of the many strategies. One such strategy is the importance of developing a team, posse, group, or club to assist with college and scholarship application packaging, proofreading essays, interview preparation, résumé development, and scholarship research. Another important strategy is ensuring that the noncognitive variables evaluated by readers of essays for the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program are considered when writing all of your college admissions and scholarship essays.
This Quick Guide draws on ideas and strategies outlined in Ten Steps to Helping Your Child Succeed in School [Wynn, 2007], A Middle School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams [Wynn, 2010], and A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams [Wynn, 2005]. If you are a parent, counselor, mentor, or coach, those books will greatly expand your insight into the types of college admissions and financial aid strategies being presented in this book.
If you are a student, A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams: Workbook [Wynn, 2006], will expand your understanding of college and financial aid terminology (i.e., FAFSA, FAO, SAR, Early Decision, CSS Code, EFC, etc.) and guide you through the process of maximizing the 2 million minutes ticking away over the course of your four years of high school. It is through such strategies of course selection, test preparation, extracurricular activity involvement, community service, leadership positions, and personal development that you will maximize your college admissions and scholarship opportunities.
There are many pathways to college and into careers. This book does not suggest there is a perfect plan or even a best plan to such a pathway. What is being provided is enough information to assist in identifying the college-bound pathway and developing the financial aid plan that is best for you, such as the plan that assists you in becoming a competitive candidate for admission into the colleges you have identified as providing the best match to your academic abilities, personal passions, and desired areas of study; the plan that assists you in identifying sources of institutional aid and private scholarships; and, the plan that provides a pathway to a college degree and access into the career you aspire to pursue.