I recently had a Mom of a prospective Rose-Holman student contact me about the scholarship process. While this example relates to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, it really could be about any private college and the scholarship award process. Here is an edited version of my private response to her: (read original blog post by my son about his college selection)
Dear Mary Jane:
I had similar concerns (about Rose-Hulman's scholarship offer). In fact, my son Erik had better offers from other schools ... some of which offered to pay for over 50% of his education.
However, I was able to get Rose-Hulman to increase their award. This is the approach I took:
- I did NOT take the position that their award level was a mistake
- I DID mention the other scholarship offers (by school name and amount)
- I stressed how much Erik liked Rose-Holman (he did then, and is still very happy with his choice)
Now we get to the important part of my email (sent to the head of financial aide). I pointed out some aspects of Erik's background that were unique and unusual in a "good way". I pondered whether they knew these facts. I also discussed one or two items where Erik could have done better (always hard for a parent to admit shortcomings in their own children).
It worked, and our offer was increased. Basically I politely implied that the admittance and scholarship process was a competition to get Erik's acceptance. However, I communicated it in a manner that was both reasonable and allowed everyone to "save face".