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Articles / Applying to College / Honors Program Admission May Not Mean Merit Bucks, Too

Honors Program Admission May Not Mean Merit Bucks, Too

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | June 18, 2009

Question: I was recently accepted into the "Honors Program" at the college I will attend in the fall, increasing my odds of receiving the "Presidential Scholarship." My parents appear to make too much money for me to get need-based aid. The school denied me the merit scholarship based on my mid-year GPA. I have since graduated with an honors degree and have taken AP courses through out my high school years. I ended with a 3.5 GPA. I am not sure why I made the cut for the college Honors Program but not the scholarship. What are my chances of appealing this decision? At mid-year my GPA was 3.2.

Without knowing the college you'll be attending, it's hard to respond with complete accuracy. However, at most institutions, being admitted to an honors program does not necessarily mean that you'll also earn a merit scholarship. Merit scholarships are often more selective than honors programs and may also have different criteria. (For example, the honors program may be based on grades and test scores alone while the scholarship may include leadership, community service, etc.)

You certainly have nothing to lose by contacting admission officials and telling them that your final GPA was higher than your mid-year GPA. You can politely ask for reconsideration for a merit award. But, if you decide to give this a shot, do so with the understanding that it's a long shot.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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