This quote, made famous by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie Jerry McGuire, is heard in many arenas. I see it quoted frequently when discussing scholarship awards as if they can somehow be equated to sports agents. Scholarships and the importance of receiving them are a reality in the college selection process these days. Institutions have different approaches to awarding scholarships and they often reflect the institutional priorities.
UVM works hard to attempt to keep the balance between offering students money based on past achievement with having resources to provide financial aid based on financial need. To that end, we do feel that it is important to acknowledge the academic talents of a segment of our admitted applicant pool. Our scholarships are based on information included in the application, specifically academic performance as measured by grades, class rank and SAT or ACT scores. While letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities are used in the admission decision, they are not used for awarding general merit scholarships.
My advice as students receive scholarship awards:
– Avoid the trap of believing that one school wants a student more based on the size of the scholarship award. The scholarship amount is a combination of resources available and where there student’s academic record falls within the pool of qualified students applying this year.
– Do your homework about scholarship renewability. Is the scholarship just for one year or for all four years? What are the terms for renewal – grade point average, program of study?
– Scholarships are not negotiable (despite what the popular media portrays.) Colleges and universities tend to offer their best merit scholarship possible. At UVM, scholarship awards are changed only if there was an error or if information was not included in the admissions application. If new information is available (new test scores or grades) that significantly change a student’s academic record from the point that the scholarship was awarded, share that with the admissions office to find out if new information can be considered. At most schools, there is a point at which new information cannot be considered and the scholarship awarded. At UVM, information that was received at the time of admission is used in awarding a scholarship.
– Merit scholarships are typically separate from need-based financial aid (including grants.) Students who wish to be considered for any additional assistance from UVM should be sure to complete and submit the 2012-13 FAFSA by the February 10 priority deadline.
We sent scholarship awards in December to students admitted as of the middle of December. Students who have recently been admitted and eligible for scholarship will receive a scholarship notification by mid-January; then on a rolling basis every two weeks. Scholarship notification comes in a letter.