Paying for College

Merit Scholarship for U. Delaware Dean's List Student?

Question: My son is completing his freshman year at Univ. of Delaware and has achieved Dean's list both semesters. He did not receive any merit scholarship from Udel last year. I have two questions: What do you think is the best way to approach Udel to ask for merit money based on his freshman year performance? Where is the best place to look for scholarships for students already in college?

Unfortunately, most colleges use merit scholarships to lure top recruits to campus rather than to reward those who are already successful there, as your son has been. You can certainly call the Office of Financial aid and plead your case, but don't get your hopes up..


Whenever you speak with financial aid officials, you want to be both polite but persistent. Always grovel a bit and act grateful for whatever crumbs the financial aid officers have already given you (even if it's just a couple minutes of their time!) and never entitled to more. But don't give up either until it's clear that your pleas are falling on deaf ears.

I did notice a few scholarships--mostly small ones--on the Delaware Web site aimed at current undergrads who are majoring in specific fields. See http://www.udel.edu/finaid/scholarships.html#merit

You should also post your question on College Confidential's University of Delaware forum at http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-delaware/ You may get some advice that only a Blue Hen insider would know.

Your son's best bet, however, might be to fill out the FastWeb questionnaire at www.fastweb.com, if he has not already done so. FastWeb will screen out scholarships that are just for rising freshmen and will generate a list of those for which your son should be eligible. He will still have to go through an application process, of course, but at least he might find a few that seem to have his name on them.

On another note, your son should also look into residence life positions on campus for his junior year. See http://www.udel.edu/reslife/candidates/ra_welcome.html He can earn a free room plus a stipend of nearly $4,000, if he is selected.

Good luck to you as you tackle the financial aid office, and congrats to your son for his fine academic record.