Becoming Debt Free in 2009

March 24, 2009

Tips for Getting Scholarships

Filed under: Scholarships — ambercouric @ 10:06 am

DISCLAIMER – I am not an expert.  I have done tons of research for my family and some of our friends.  I have read lots of books and talked to admissions counselors.   My husband and I both attended college on full scholarships.  My husband’s scholarship came from the company his father worked for.  My scholarship was merit based from the school I attended.  My older son is currently in college also attending on full scholarship.  And per my post yesterday Kennedy is going to boarding school on full scholarship.  That sums up my expertise.

Now for the real tips.  There are four areas that I feel contribute heavily to obtaining scholarships.

Standardized Tests – Area 1

My children take the SAT.   I also tutor for the SAT so I’m sure that plays a roll in their high scores.  The most important thing in scoring high on these tests is to understand the tests long before you take it.

There are a couple of videos that we use. The New SAT Math and The New Critical Reading & Writing both of these are by Goldhil Entertainment (2005) and aren’t really new anymore but have great tips.   We rent these from the library.  They are simple and a little hard to sit through (a bit silly) but as I said they have great tips.  I believe the SAT is about strategies and these DVDs include lots.  It is important to watch these before you  take practice tests and then again a couple of weeks before the first time you sit for the actual test.

SAT practice tests.  The only book I recommend is the College Board The Official SAT Study Guide.  This book includes 10 real SAT tests.  I have found that other companies that make study guides for the SAT have tests that are much easier and don’t give a true sense of the actual test (just my opinion). 

Get a list of the most used SAT words and a list of SAT prefixes.  You can find these online by doing a search.  Here is a Quizlet game that can be played online. Here is a list with definitions from the Washington Post.  Of course, these lists don’t have all the words but are a great starting place.  We have made a family game out of learning new words.

Our SAT study schedule.  We start about 3 months before the test.  The first month we work one SAT test a week.  During the first month none of the tests are timed.  The sections are worked in whatever order the child wants to work them.  The thing is that each week a complete test has to be worked and check usually only completing two sections a day.   Any questions that are wrong we go over at the end of the week.  There are detailed explanations for each answer.  We do this with the first 4 of the 10 practice tests.  Week 5 a complete test is completed.  We do this on a Saturday morning.  Starting at the regular SAT starting time.  We take only the breaks allowed during a regular test.  This lets you know where your child stands as far as the real test and gives you key areas to target for improvement.  For the next four weeks we work parts of tests.   SAVE the last test for a final complete practice test.  At this point we are timing each section although we are not working them in any particular order.    We spend time on areas that were problem areas during our practice test.  Week 10 watch the videos again just in case there is a small detail or tip that was missed.  Then on Saturday sit  for another complete test.  By the time this schedule is complete the student is completely familiar with the test.  So on test day the anxiety is so much less.  Also, the student knows if there is a certain type of question that he just doesn’t get and can skip it.   I am always amazed at kids who walk into these tests and have no idea that they have to pretty much sit for nearly four hours.

This is getting long so maybe I should do each area as a different post.  If you have specific questions about the SAT please ask and I’ll try to answer.

The next post will cover GPA and Course Selection.



  1. Thank U! Thank U! I plan on printing your post(s) and putting in a folder for reference. Thank you for the ‘inside’ information. It’s nice to have personal perspective on this stuff. 😉

    Comment by Money Funk — March 24, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

  2. Great post. it seems like great grades and test scores are the way to go but they’re not a surefire bet to picking up scholarships for school. sometimes you need a little luck too! there’s this site, that gives away scholarships every month

    Comment by Jon — March 25, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  3. Dang. I think your history of obtaining scholarships for yourself and your children easily qualifies you as an “expert”! Thanks.

    Comment by shtinkykat — March 26, 2009 @ 7:10 am

  4. Thanks for sharing your expertise, Amber. The schedule makes a lot of sense. I’m going to look for the dvds at our library.

    Comment by rtc — March 27, 2009 @ 9:29 am

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