Scholarships: Better Study Contract Law in High School

When January of each new year arrives, many students have already applied to colleges and universities by way of Early Action, Early Decision, and other paths. They have moved on to complementary scholarship activities (e.g., sports, local, etc.) with various information collection requirements and pending deadlines; looking to get scholarship offers in writing.

However, high school students and their parents often fail to look at the schools as businesses, and scholarship offers as business agreements. As such, they fail to get everything in writing in advance of commitments, reviewing the documents to assure that they are very comfortable with the language. Obviously, such would entail having access to someone with high-level reading skills, if not an attorney, to do the reviews. Most high schools do not have enough academic high achievers, 5-star athletes, and national awards winners in music and the arts to employ a “scholarship review specialist, full-time”.   As such, it does not seem that asking counselors to read “scholarship offer documents” would be a burdensome service for high schools to offer to its pending graduates. Such would be very helpful, making students more successful in this transition process. It would help their students avoid committing themselves to programs that are not demonstrating an equal level of commitment.

Parents and students. Unless your student is studying contract law in high school, you have the appropriate skills or ready access to cost-effective highly-skilled assistance, you should speak with school administration about how to manage the above described college-commitment challenges. Your high school may have internal and/or outside resources to help you. Moreover, get your resource team together early, long before you need their perspectives and assistance.

See the attached older, yet relevant reference article listed below. Similar occurrences with academic and other skills-related scholarships may precede schools’ commitments to scholarships; all failing your expectations. Example statements to you may include: “available funding was not sufficient this year”, “you must now complete scholarship-specific applications”, “final awards are competitively distributed among eligible candidates”, “there were more applicants than anticipated”, “we were obligated to serve state residents first”, “the scholarship requires participating in a competition among other applicants”, “you must pass an additional needs-based requirements”, and so on. These statements may follow months (or longer) periods of promissory interaction between you and school representatives, without clear, formal documentation.

There are strategies by which to maximize your scholarship opportunities. Simply, try not to wait until the last minute to look for and engage strategies. Get your scholarship offers in writing, and do not release your secondary options until obligated to do so. ISG Success understands that your education matters and your overall success matters!