How to Attend College for Free

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This talk was presented at Grapevine High School on 2013 11-04 to an academic booster group. The speaker is a recent college graduate that was awarded $2.3 million in scholarship money from 36 universities, and wants to teach you how he did it.

Speaker's notes can be found at http://christiangenco.com/2013/11/06/how-to-attend-college-for-free.html

Published in: Education, Economy & Finance
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How to Attend College for Free

  1. 1. How to attend college for free by Christian Genco @cgenco christian@gen.co
  2. 2. Outline 1. Why listen to me? 2. Why go to college? 3. What colleges look for, and how to make them want you 4. Hack the system
  3. 3. 1. Why listen to me? • CHS 2009 101.0000 GPA • 2280 SAT, 33 ACT • AP 5s: Bio, Chem, Physics, English Comp. • AP 4s: English Lit, Psychology, APUSH, Econ, Calc
  4. 4. 1. Why listen to me? • Green Jacket student ambassador • Best Actor of 2008 Thespian Society award • ACM Coding Competitions • Produced and directed “Game Over” film
  5. 5. 1. Why listen to me? Offered $2,334,856 in scholarships from 36 universities Albright College: Founders Scholarship and NHS Award ($84,000) Augsburg College: Freshmen Regents’ Scholarship ($44,000) Augustana College: Presidential Scholarship ($44,000) Butler University: Presidential Scholarship ($60,000) Coe College: Trustee Scholarship ($72,000) Culver-Stockton College: Vision of Success Scholarship ($86,600) Dominican University: Trustee Scholarship ($68,000) Drexel University: A. J. Drexel Scholar ($67,000) Emmanuel College: Presidential Scholarship ($113,400) Erskine College: Trustee Scholarship/Out of State Grant ($60,000) Furman University: Achiever Scholarship ($72,000) Green Mountain College: (admitted with no scholarship) Hamilton University: (admitted with no scholarship) Hamline University: Hamline Honors & Heritage Scholarships ($60,000) Hanover College: Dr. Albert G. & Katharine Parker Scholarship ($60,000) Hobart and William Smith Colleges: Faculty Scholar ($40,000) Hood College: Hodson Trust Scholarship ($60,000) John Carroll University: Presidential Honors Award ($40,000) Lasell College: Lasell College Presidential Scholar ($54,000) LeMoyne: Presidential Scholarship ($78,000) Loyola University: Ignation Scholar ($112,176) Lycoming College: Lycoming Scholarship ($74,000) Marietta College: Pioneer Scholar and Dean’s Scholarship ($44,000) Mount Saint Vincent: Erasmus Scholarship ($60,000) Ohio Wesleyan University: Ohio Wesleyan University Presidential Scholarship ($138,280) Randolph-Macon College: President’s Award ($66,000) Regis University: Board of Trustees Scholarship ($56,000) Saint Joseph’s College of Maine: (admitted with no scholarship) Saint Louis University: Provost Scholarship ($60,000) Southern Methodist University: ! ! President’s Scholarship ($180,000)! Trinity University: Trustees’ Scholarship ($64,000) Tulane University: Presidential Scholarship ($96,000) University of Dayton: Trustees’ Merit Scholarship ($54,000) University of Findlay: Trustees’ Scholarship ($56,000) University of Texas at Dallas: Academic Honors Scholarship ($55,400) Westminster College: Westminster Presidential Scholarship ($56,000)
  6. 6. 1. Why listen to me? SMU President’s Scholarship • $180K -> $210K • Full tuition, student fees, room & board, study abroad tuition and travel, Taos weekend vacation every year • Spent $10K total in 4 years at college • Major: Computer Science with a Premedical Specialization
  7. 7. 1. Why listen to me? Post-grad plans • Graduated debt-free (investing college fund) • Deferred admission to Texas medical schools • Working in Software Engineering
  8. 8. 2. Why go to college? • “How to Get Rich” is about why you shouldn’t get rich • Understand what you want before trying to get it • You don’t have to go to college to be successful or happy
  9. 9. middle school -> high school -> college -> internship -> job -> get married -> have kids -> pay off student loans -> pay off mortgage -> save money for kids’ college -> save money for retirement -> retire/die in Florida
  10. 10. 2. Why go to college? Reasons why people go to college: • Make money/be successful • Prepare for a career • To learn/motivate learning • To meet people/“the college experience” • Research
  11. 11. 2. Why go to college? Make money/be successful • 50 careers over $50k without a college degree • Real estate agent, plumber, software designer, Food Truck owner, professional blogger/youtuber, carpenter, mechanic… • Average salary for college grads is $45k • More competitive to be good at what you do than to have a degree
  12. 12. 2. Why go to college? Prepare for a career
  13. 13. 2. Why go to college? To learn/motivate learning • Colleges don’t have a monopoly on knowledge • • • Khan Academy, Coursera, Wikipedia learn by doing -> more competitive Expensive motivation
  14. 14. 2. Why go to college? To meet people/“the college experience” • Expensive way to socialize • More effective to spend $20K throwing parties and traveling
  15. 15. 2. Why go to college? Research • Universities are an excellent place to do research if you take advantage of it
  16. 16. 2. Why go to college? A waste of money • Average cost of tuition: • • • public: $22K/year private: $43K/year [+ room & board ($9K) + textbooks ($1.2K)] x 4 years = $128.8K ($212.9K private)
  17. 17. $130,000
  18. 18. $10,400/year $866/month for the rest of your life …retire?
  19. 19. $130,000
  20. 20. 3. What colleges look for and how to make them want you • curriculum/gpa • test scores • • SAT, ACT, AP subjective • leadership, activities (debate, band, cheer, sports, etc.), essay
  21. 21. 3. What colleges look for, and how to make them want you curriculum/gpa • no-brainer • take challenging classes and do well in them • learn because you love learning • don’t sweat class rank
  22. 22. 3. What colleges look for, and how to make them want you test scores • the most important part of your application • National Merit = automatic scholarships ($5K/year at SMU) • You making money studying for standardized tests
  23. 23. 3. What colleges look for, and how to make them want you test scores -> studying for the SAT • a great PSAT/SAT score is easy
  24. 24. 3. What colleges look for, and how to make them want you test scores -> studying for the SAT • take a practice test • review the questions you got wrong • repeat
  25. 25. Texas Class!! Cut-off 2010 216 2011 215 2012 219 2013 216 2014 219
  26. 26. 3. What colleges look for, and how to make them want you subjective stuff
  27. 27. 3. What colleges look for, and how to make them want you subjective stuff -> the essay • different • interesting and entertaining • • show me, don’t tell me memorable
  28. 28. “Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.”
  29. 29. 3. What colleges look for, and how to make them want you general tips • application is a set of talking points • show that you’re well rounded, good time management • apply early
  30. 30. Academic achievement, intellectual promise, quality of writing, creative, original thought, productive class discussion, respect accorded by faculty, disciplined work habits, maturity, motivation, leadership, integrity, reaction to setbacks, concern for others, selfconfidence, initiative and independence
  31. 31. 3. Hack the system • the “scholarship drawer” • how to get $2.3 million in scholarships • google: “[school] merit scholarships”
  32. 32. 3. Hack the system • textbooks
  33. 33. Recap • life isn’t LIFE • if you’re going to college, it’s your full time job to get scholarships for it • maximize gpa/curriculum, test scores, and how interesting you are • hack the system
  34. 34. Questions? christian.genco@gmail.com christiangenco.com

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