“My kid just got a free ride to so-and-so university!”
I must admit, most times I’ve heard somebody say that, usually at a party or a backyard barbecue or other social gathering, I started seething inside. Why? because I think about the hundreds of thousands of dollars I’ve spent sending my kids to college. I can’t complain, though, because I could afford it, and because my kids had great college experiences. But still, there’s that nagging question: did I really have to spend all that money, or could they , both excellent students, have received scholarship support? If they had, that money I sent to their college could have instead purchased their first home!
So along comes my friend and fellow Flint, Michigan native Norma Richards, who has just written the book, “Free Ride to College.” Norma definitely knows from what she speaks, because she has sent three kids to college on full academic scholarship — one to Morgan State University, and two to (cough, cough) The Ohio State University. Oh, the heartburn!
Though I didn’t know Norma until recently (she is, after all, a few years younger than I), it turns out she grew up right down the street in Flint. After graduating from Southwestern High School, she received a degree in microbiology from Howard University in Washington. She ultimately settled in Columbus, Ohio, where for years she worked as a science teacher.
How did Norma and her husband Jerome send three kids to college on full scholarship? Norma says that she and her husband are involved parents, but that’s not enough. She says her kids were good students, but that’s not enough either.
“You’ve got to make a conscious decision that you want your child to go to college on an academic scholarship,” Norma says. “You have to have a plan. You definitely can’t just assume that, because your child got good grades, they’re going to get a scholarship.”
Hmmm…so that’s where I went wrong!
Norma’s book, “Free Ride to College,” lays out the plan in a simple, conversational tone. Norma says anyone can get through the book and get the essence of her plan in just a few hours. If that is the case, it could be the most productive few hours a parent could ever spend.