A college sponsor is a generous benefactor who agrees to fund a significant portion of a student’s education. Finding a sponsor to help you achieve your dream of a college degree may not be easy; however, the benefits can be substantial. Having a sponsor allows you to focus on academics and take advantage of extracurricular opportunities without worrying about how to pay for tuition, books, food and rent.
Formulate a Plan
Sponsors will be more inclined to look favorably on your request if you’re applying to reputable, accredited schools with high graduation rates. You’ll also need to develop clearly defined career goals supported by excellent grades to assure sponsors that your vision is achievable. Prepare to explain why you’re passionate about your chosen academic discipline. Sponsors will also be impressed if you have selfless reasons for pursuing a degree, such as a desire to make a difference in the world or discover a cure for diseases.
Identify Prospective Sponsors
Contact corporations that might be receptive to sponsorship, such as large accounting firms if you're an accounting major. Members of your family may offer to be your sponsor if they have the means to do so. Ask family members, neighbors and teachers for introductions to potential sponsors. Research organizations that fund students with backgrounds similar to yours. If your family is in a low-income bracket, you may wish to apply to the College Sponsorship Program, for example. Some international students find sponsors through government agencies in their country, such as the Saudi Scholarship Program. Sponsors of international students must submit a notarized statement and official documentation attesting that they have sufficient assets to pay the student’s cost of attendance.
Write a Persuasive Letter
Write a compelling one- to two-page letter introducing yourself and your plans. Stress your accomplishments and unique personal qualities. Explain your reasons for needing a sponsor, and describe how a degree will be life changing. Indicate what you hope to achieve after graduating from college. Sponsors want evidence of resilience, so share examples of how you’ve successfully met challenges in life, such as maintaining good grades while caring for siblings during a parent’s illness. Specify the amount of money you’re seeking from a sponsor.
Edit and Mail Your Letter
Spelling and grammar errors can cause your letter to be discarded without consideration. After correcting mistakes, ask your English teacher to critique your writing and offer suggestions. Include a resume that includes your GPA, work experience, extracurricular activities, volunteerism, leadership roles, research, awards and any special recognition. Print your letter on quality paper and affix the correct postage.
If you don’t hear from potential sponsors, contact them by phone or email. Offer to meet in person to discuss your funding request in greater detail. If the sponsor wishes you well but isn’t able to financially support you, ask for names of other potential sponsors. Promptly mail a thank you note after the sponsor takes out time to talk with you. If you’re successful in finding a sponsor, discuss details, and provide regular progress reports throughout your college years. Invite your sponsor to your graduation.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Financial Aid for College; David Rye
- The Latino Student's Guide to College Success; Leonard A. Valverd
- Scholarships 101: The Real-World Guide to Getting Cash for College; Kimberly Ann Stezala
- CBS News: 10 Great Ways to Win a College Scholarship
- Miami Dade College: International Students
- Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia: Saudi Students in U.S. Graduate from Scholarship Program
Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students whose job includes student conduct, leading the behavioral consultation team, crisis response, retention and the working with the veterans resource center. She enjoys helping parents and students solve problems through advising, teaching and writing online articles that appear on many sites. Dr. Dowd also contributes to scholarly books and journal articles.