What’s a little-known way to save money on college?

By Maxine Seya

What are some little-known ways to save money on my kids’ college education?

– Song, father of a high school sophomore

I oftentimes read or hear answers to questions just like yours. Usually, the answers are generic: apply for scholarships, send them to community college then public 4-year universities, send them abroad, or simply ask them to get an entry-level job.

That might work, but those tips aren’t little-known. And merit scholarships for middle-class families are rare and competitive.

Recently, an admissions officer shared a little-known way of earning and saving money for college that even surprised me.

Most kids and parents don’t like the hassle of filling out lengthy scholarship applications. The process itself is a turnoff for many.

But what I love about this admission officer’s little trick is that the process itself is actually fun.

“What’s your best piece of advice?” I asked.

Admissions officer, Jade Chappell, told us:

My biggest advice that I tell all of my seniors, juniors, and sophomores is don’t be afraid to ask for money. I know that sounds silly, but I come from a family of six, so I had to figure out how to pay for college. One of the ways that I was able to do that was applying for scholarships; applying for any and all scholarships and not being afraid to ask for help, or ask for money. A lot of people don’t think about asking. You’ll ask your family, “Will you help me pay for college?” But don’t be afraid to ask them. What about your job? Does your job offer a scholarship, or will your job sponsor you?

Another little secret that I tell all my students that I meet one-on-one is:

Hi there.

No one spotlights the human stories of college admissions like we do.

But we're independent journalists who need support from readers like you.

Your subscription keeps us going -- completely ad-free.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Maxine Seya
Maxine Seya is a former investigative journalist, college consultant, and admissions interviewer. She studied at Peking University (Beijing, China) and Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier, France) and investigated for CNN and Huffington Post before graduating from Northwestern University. She founded SocratesPost to share the human stories behind the admission gates and offer parents clarity as they help their teens with college.