In this detailed handbook for financing higher education, Andrews (The Search for Scholarships, 2007) guides readers through a step-by-step process for locating, obtaining, and making use of scholarships and other forms of financial aid.
Drawing on her years of experience as a college counselor and instructor, particularly her work with nontraditional students, Andrews begins by listing the materials readers should have at hand when applying for scholarships. Some readers may find the comprehensive inventory useful, while others may feel that specifying pen colors and a precise binder size is a bit excessive. She then explains how to make it easy for professors or employers to write effective letters of recommendation, how to write a personal statement that demonstrates a clear understanding of scholarship requirements, and how to find potentially relevant scholarships and maintain a personal database of them. The book discusses other options to consider when evaluating the cost of secondary education, including attending a tuition-free school, beginning at a community college before transferring to a four-year university, and understanding the no-loan financial aid packages now offered by some of the country’s elite colleges. Andrews also addresses common elements of scholarship fraud, reminding readers they should never pay to secure scholarships or to complete federal student aid forms. Also included is a section devoted to broader personal finance concepts for students, from general frugality to the value of a work-study job. Although the book’s focus is on students in search of funding for college and graduate education, the information is solid and valuable to readers looking for both merit- and need-based aid at all levels. The information is sometimes presented awkwardly, leaving it unclear whether Andrews is summarizing or quoting from her sources; other times, the prose is jumbled: “Surely, employers are lined up to hire you, who has devoted every minute of the last four to six years to becoming knowledgeable in a particular field of study.” Nevertheless, the mechanics of obtaining and accounting for financial aid are clearly explained, with step-by-step instructions for completing the most common forms. Also useful are the book’s many recommendations for online scholarship databases and scholarship-granting organizations.
Thorough, informative guide to managing finances in college and finding financial support for higher education.