College Scholarships & Financial Aid Tim Woods, Assistant Director University of Tennessee, Knoxville Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships
College Checklist List of potential colleges/universities Research and bookmark each institution’s website, including the financial aid office Know the application requirements – apply online or paper application? Retain passwords/usernames required for electronic applications Keep up with deadlines – create a spreadsheet to check off completed items
Cost of Attendance Transportation Tuition/FeesMiscellaneous Books/Supplies Room/Board
Accomplishments / Involvement• Keep a detailed record of your participation in extracurricular activities and positions you held• Community involvement• Awards/Recognitions• Participation in academically advanced courses• Employment history• Other noteworthy details about you
Required Documentation• Provide and obtain all necessary documents needed for your admissions/scholarship applications – Academic transcripts – Standardized test scores – Deadlines for supporting documentation? – Application fees? – Letters of recommendation required?
Letters of Recommendation• Carefully select recommenders• Choose at least one teacher – someone familiar with your work/abilities• Other recommenders – guidance counselor, coach, employer, community leader, etc…• Alert your recommenders of any deadlines and names of schools you are considering – be considerate of their time and generosity in writing a recommendation
Types of Scholarships• Competitive Scholarships• Scholarships based upon specific major• 4-year vs. 1-year scholarship awards• Performance Scholarships – research any tryouts or portfolios and due dates• Automatically Awarded Scholarships
Scholarship Applicant Reviews• GPA / Standardized Test Scores – weighted grades and super-scored tests• Participation in extracurricular activities and community involvement• Leadership roles• Academically advanced courses• Letters of recommendation• Essay – writing sample
Scholarship Essays• Basics – spellcheck, proofread, carefully chosen words to express your ideas• Be prepared to discuss your essay• Do not labor over which side you choose, as your focus should be on conveying your ideas/thoughts on the topic• Concise, well structured composition• Avoid overuse of thesaurus
UT Essay for Scholarships• Leadership and Experience Essay – This part of the application is required only for students who wish to be considered for UT’s competitive scholarships, including Chancellor’s Scholarships, College and Departmental Scholarships, and Alumni Scholarships – Please describe one important activity outside of class during your high school years that has been an important experience for you, particularly one in which you played a leadership role. Explain how this activity has helped in your growth and intellectual or personal development. – Maximum length should be 600 words.
Scholarship Offers• Carefully review scholarship offers• Additional requirements to secure award?• Stackable with other scholarship offers?• Renewable, need to reapply, other questions?• Do not overlook reply deadline – May 1• Be considerate of other applicants, who might be an alternate for your scholarship• Request an extension, if needed• Understand requirements for continued eligibility
Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS)• Tennessee Student Assistant Corporation (TSAC) determines eligibility• HOPE Scholarship• Supplement to HOPE – Merit or Financial need• Must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually and list your school of attendance first
FAFSA• Financial need-based scholarships• Federal & state grants• Federal work study• Student & Parent loans• Know each college/university deadline for filing FAFSA – may differ• “Ok” to estimate financial information
FAFSA Continued…• Use previous year’s tax returns, when estimating income data (do not guess)• Obligated to update, once federal income tax returns submitted• Be prepared to provide supporting documentation, if chosen for verification or school audit• Speak up, if your circumstances have changed since filing your FAFSA
Externally Awarded Funds• Investigate opportunities from reputable sources• Civic Organizations• Major Corporations• Parent’s Employer• High School• Church or Credit Union
External Resources• Student Outreach Services (S.O.S.)• High School Guidance Counselor• Local College Financial Aid Office• Chamber of Commerce• Local Library• Internet
College Choice• Review all offers and compare with the specific cost of attendance• Reflect on academic offerings, as well as scholarship and financial aid• Request additional information about opportunities for subsequent school years of attendance• Respond to all colleges & universities, as your decline can impact the life of a weight listed applicant for admissions and scholarships
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