Montgomery Educational Consulting Offers Advice on Merit Scholarships

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College counselor provides information about and websites for finding merit scholarships.

There is a wealth of merit-based financial aid available. Students simply have to know where to look for it, and, of course, they need to apply for it.

Paying for college is a struggle for many families. Often, students and parents do not qualify for need-based financial aid, yet they cannot afford a college's "sticker price". These families tend to look to merit-based financial aid to make up the difference between what they can pay and what a college costs.

As Sara Zessar, a Senior Associate with Montgomery Educational Consulting, explained in a recent blog post, "merit aid" and "merit scholarship" refer to financial aid based on academics, community service, personal characteristics, achievements, etc. In other words, any scholarship that is not based on financial need or athletics can be considered merit aid.

Montgomery Educational Consulting's president, Mark Montgomery, stated, "There is a wealth of merit-based financial aid available. Students simply have to know where to look for it, and, of course, they need to apply for it."

The best source for merit aid is colleges themselves, which generally offer the largest scholarships. Students need to find out if a college requires a separate application for merit scholarships or if the application for admission also is used for scholarship purposes. Furthermore, some colleges have earlier application deadlines for students who wish to be considered for merit aid, so it is very important that students pay careful attention to these deadlines.

In addition to colleges, many companies and organizations offer scholarships. In her blog post, Ms. Zessar encourages students to ask their high school counselors about local scholarships, and she provides a list of websites for finding national scholarships.

Although private scholarships tend to be smaller than those offered by colleges, every penny adds up, so it usually is in students' best interest to apply for these private scholarships as well. That being said, Ms. Zessar offers the following word of caution to students who are looking for private scholarships: "Students need to weigh the application requirements against the amount of the scholarship. If an application requires a 5,000 word essay to win $250, you have to ask yourself if it's really worth your time."

Many students spend as much time researching and applying for scholarships as they do on college applications. Hopefully, these efforts will pay off and students will receive enough merit aid to help fill the gap between what their family can afford and what a college costs.

From offices in Colorado and New Jersey, Montgomery Educational Consulting offers comprehensive, personalized educational counseling services to students locally, around the country, and around the world. These college admissions experts guide students every step of the way as they navigate the university search and application process. Then, they help students get admitted to the college that is right for them.

For more information about Montgomery Educational Consulting, call 720.279.7577, or email Or visit

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Sara Zessar
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