Saving for college is a top priority for nearly every family in America. After all, top private schools in the country – including the likes of New York University, University of Southern California, and more – now cost over $70,000 a year for attendance!
If a student receives one scholarship worth $25,000, that is considered a significant amount saved.
However, what if you – or your child – received not $25,000, not $35,000 or even $45,000 in scholarship…
But instead, over $8 million dollars.
This is exactly what happened to Normandie Cormier, a bright student from Lafayette, Louisiana as outlined in this USA Today article just a few months ago.
So how did Normandie do this? How does any student get this much money from colleges?
You may be surprised to hear this, but it’s true: there are actually a few students every year who receive over a million dollars in scholarships from colleges.
Let’s take a look at how she did it – and how other students have achieved this phenomenal outcome.
Applying to Over 100 Schools
I know what you are thinking – can’t be possible.
And for most people, 100 schools is completely unmanageable and unfeasible.
However, programs like the Common Application allow you to send one application to multiple schools.
Just fill out your information, and you are all set and good to go!
It’s true there will be fees associated with each school’s application. Clearly, though, the financial return for this approach can be significant.
Normandie herself applied to a staggering 139 schools!
Now, we are not suggesting in order to get a scholarship, you must apply to over 100 schools.
However, the students who get these amounts of scholarships usually apply to at least a few dozen schools.
That’s how Jordan Nixon, a bright young student profiled on USA Today, received $1.6m in scholarships.
Like anything in life, success often comes down to a numbers game.
Have A Community-First Mentality
This one might seem counterintuitive, but hear us out…
Schools most frequently accept students who are not just accomplished, but are also active, giving members of a community.
In the case of Normandie Cormier, she exemplified this through tutoring, visiting nursing homes, interning at a medical institution, and teaching girls engineering and science courses, according to the MSN article.
This, combined with excellent grades and marks, is the rare and unique combination it takes for a student to be considered a scholarship candidate.
When this student put her resume & application in front of over 100 admissions committees, the outcome was inevitable; significant admissions and scholarships.
Apply to “Right-Fit” Schools
With thousands of higher education institutions available throughout the country, it’s easy to overlook how important the right fit is.
After all, most students believe they should simply attend the highest ranked school, rather than the right-fit school.
However, when a student applies to the right-fit school, their essays, resume, applications, and more naturally reflect the values their institutions of choice have.
What do we mean by this?
In Normandie’s case, she specifically is interested in becoming a doctor. One of the colleges offering her a full ride, Xavier University, is an HBCU that historically helps students get into medical programs at the graduate level.
How does this impact scholarships?
When an institution’s specific goals are reflected in the ideal candidate, acceptances and scholarships frequently follow.
Can Other Students Do This?
Amazingly, other students have accomplished this very same feat.
Antoinette Love, another Louisiana student, was accepted to 115 colleges!
A teenager from Tennessee, who was once homeless, became valedictorian of his high school and earned over $3m in scholarships!
So what is the takeaway here: do you have to apply to hundreds of schools to get scholarships?
No, not exactly.
However, casting a wide net is critical for your success. If a student applies to 15 schools, the likelihood of one school awarding scholarship is significantly more than if the student only applied to 2 or 3 schools.
Of course, strong grades, test scores, and success in difficult high school courses contribute to admission.
However, schools are always looking for a special “spark” in a student. Something that makes them unique.
That’s how Normandie achieved this remarkable feat, and how – perhaps – others could achieve remarkable results for themselves as well.