Kaplan Scholarships 2001
by Gail Schlacter, R. David Weber, and the Staff of Reference Service Press Kaplan, Inc. and Simon & Schuster, 2000 $25.00, 622 pages, paperback
Reviewed by Carolyn Trager, college planning consultant in New York, NY
Given students’ and ts’ concerns about everincreasing tuition costs and how to pay for college, most college counselors will want to have one or more scholarship directories available. There are at least five or six published annually and it takes some eye-wearying effort to figure out which are the better choices among them. The 2001 edition from Kaplan is one to consider.
Gail Schlacter, president of Reference Service Press and one of the authors of this book, is an experienced and respected source of reliable information about scholarships. This latest directory includes 3,135 programs, organized in four sections:
* 1,247 for study in any subject area
* 520 for study in the social sciences
* 925 for study in the sciences
* 443 for study in the humanities
All the programs are for funding undergraduate education at a wide range of institutions-community and junior colleges, vocational and technical institutes, four-year colleges, and universities. Among the features highlighted by the publisher in the introductory section are: no scholarship is limited to only one particular school; all scholarships are for amounts of at least $1,000 per year; not all scholarships are based on need or academic achievement; and not one dollar of funding needs to be repaid, provided stated requirements are met.
Each scholarship entry provides contact name, address, phone and fax numbers, summary, eligibility requirements, financial data, duration, pertinent additional information, number of scholarships awarded, and application deadlines. Many of the entries also include e-mail and Web site addresses.
On the plus side, the information is comprehensive and authoritative. On the negative side, the design and organization are not user-friendly. The small, light type is uninviting to read and the subheads, which are barely larger or darker than the pale gray text, don’t help readers to find key pieces of information quickly.
A 15-page section by Douglas Bucher, director of financial aid operations at New York University, precedes the scholarship descriptions. Bucher provides basic guidelines for avoiding scholarship scams, setting a scholarship search timetable, understanding different types of financial aid, contacting funding organizations (including a sample initial letter), completing applications, responding to awards, notifying the college, and renewing awards. The content is useful but here, too, small gray type may discourage careful reading.
The appendix offers a helpful list of federal and state financial aid program offices. This section is followed by four indexes-subject, residency, sponsoring organization, and tenability (this last an unfortunately named index intended to help students “locate funding that is restricted to a specific area as well as funding that has no tenability restrictions…”). Again, type size and twocolumn format interfere with readability. Note: the Contents page lists a fifth index-the Calendar Index-starting on page 625 but the copy sent for review ended on page 622 with the Tenability Index.
To put Kaplan Scholarships 2001 Edition in perspective, here are minireviews of five other softcover scholarship directories:
The Scholarship Book 2001 by Daniel J. Cassidy, $30 (includes searchable CD).
Pro: Four thousand sources; individual entries are comprehensive and well organized; included are an extensive list of helpful publications plus names and addresses of professional/career associations.
Con: “Quick Find Index” is organized in huge blocks of numberstoo dense to be useful; college-specific scholarships are listed in straight alphabetical order within a general category rather than organized by state.
The Complete Scholarship Book, FastWeb, $22.95
Pro: Nearly 3,200 sources; the book includes 19 pages of financial aid information/advice plus a page of web resources.
Con: College-specific scholarships are listed in straight alphabetical order rather than organized by state.
The Scholarship Advisor 2000, Princeton Review, $25
Pro: More than 4,300 sources; individual entries are comprehensive and well organized; there are extensive indexes including majors, career interests, scholarships available to students with GPAs ranging from 2.0 to 2.9, minorities (3 categories), ethnic (7 categories), religious affiliation (8 categories), and disabilities (4 categories).
Con: College-specific scholarships are listed in straight alphabetical order rather than organized by state; a pointless alphabetical listing in the front matter duplicates the book’s organization; not clear if data are annually updated.
The College Board Scholarship Handbook 2001, College Board, $24.95 (includes searchable FUND FINDER CD)
Pro: Individual entries are comprehensive, well organized, and extremely readable; includes charts for estimated parents’ contribution at four income levels from $25,000 to $150,000; 13 general eligibility indexes are subdivided into specific categories for rapid reference; includes internships and loan programs as well as scholarships; easyto-use software lets user create eligibility profile and link directly to the Internet.
Con: Fewer funding sources than other directories; no college-specific scholarships.
Scholarships, Grants & Prizes 2001, Petersons, $26.95 (includes CD)
Pro: Individual entries are comprehensive, well organized, and easy to read; funding sources are organized by academic/career areas, non-academic/ career criteria, and miscellaneous criteria; includes 12 indexes; CD provides link to CollegeQuest, SAT and ACT practice tests, financial planning software.
Con: Meager guidance information; no college-specific scholarships.
In short, there is no single best scholarship directory. If I could have only one publication, my choice would be either The College Board Scholarship Handbook 2001 or Peterson’s Scholarships, Grants & Prizes 2001-both books are reliable, well-designed, and the CDs that accompany them are a great bonus. But all the books discussed in this review have features that recommend them, as well as some annoying flaws. In the absence of one ideal choice, a resource shelf that includes two, three, or four of them may be the best solution.
Copyright National Association of College Admissions Counselors Fall 2001
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved