By Areeg Naeem’15 and Lucy Lin’15
Scholarships are essential tools by which to gain both monetary aid and valuable advising sessions that you may not otherwise have access to.
“College is expensive and anything to defray the cost is extremely helpful,” said Mrs. Lorrie Director, a college guidance counselor.
Many students are unaware of just how many billions of scholarship dollars are out there. The first step is to apply and meet the requirements in order to be eligible.
“Consider exploring college scholarships like a part-time job where you will receive money and reap the benefits of your hard work,” said Mrs. Jean Murdoch, secretary of the guidance office.
According to http://www.spfk12.org, there are free searches online for scholarships, and students should remain cautious of scholarship hoaxes or scams. You should not be paying for a scholarship search.
“I suggest Fastweb,” said Mrs. Director. “Google’s great, but be careful of the information you give out, especially if they’re asking for your social security number.”
The New York Times article, “Pay For School In 2014: Three New Year’s Resolutions From Fastweb” praises fastweb.com for being “an online resource that provides efficient and insightful tools to students looking to get prepared to fund their future education.”
Scholarships greatly benefit students who have earned them by being diligent and putting in the effort. Posse scholarship winners, Stefanie Henry ‘14 and Ciarra Leocadio ‘14 have certainly done just that. Posse is a competitive scholarship that only accepts students who display extraordinary academics and leadership potential.
“I got nominated for Posse by a member of my church,” said Henry. “It was a nerve-wracking and dynamic application process.”
The process was rigorous and time consuming, creating much tension among applicants. There were several interviewing rounds in which the pool of applicants was narrowed down to a mere 25 from which only 10 were the winners of the Posse scholarship. Each candidate was striving to get into Posse partner colleges and universities which are set up throughout the United States.
“I was ecstatic when I won the scholarship,” said Leocadio. “I wasn’t expecting it since so many people applied. The competition was fierce and everyone was so strong.”
The profound benefits from scholarships can ease the pressure when applying to colleges. Both, Henry and Leocadio are guaranteed a full ride to their respective Posse partner colleges. Henry ‘14 will be attending University of Wisconsin-Madison and Leocadio ‘14 will be attending Vanderbilt University.
These young ladies will not be alone; Posse selects a couple of students to each partner college. This will ensure that the Posse winners will be able to adjust to the college without any problems. The students come from the same area and will feel more comfortable in their new college setting. Throughout their college years, the Posse winners will be able to support each other and have someone to relate to.
When applying for scholarships, students need to stand out from others. From having outstanding academics to incredible extracurriculars, every little bit helps.
“Work hard. When you’re tired, work harder,” advised Henry . “Study and don’t get caught up with the wrong type of people or get distracted by other things.”
Sharon Kaminer, secretary of the college office also feels that the Posse scholarship was highly competitive and required a lot of effort. She commends both Henry and Leocadio on becoming the few winners of the Posse scholarship.
“We’re thrilled and delighted,” said Mrs. Kaminer. “We had three students in the running, but two of them won. Usually only one of our students makes it.”
Now is the time to start looking into scholarships. Resources can be found in the college office, room 115. Bulletin boards outside of the college office post various recent scholarships. There are also paper copies of scholarship lists available in the college office.
Scholarships exist for nearly every characteristic you can think of. Some reward students for their athletic ability, while others for their stellar academics. Scholarships even aim towards certain ethnicities. The possibilities are endless.
Many students have already won the following scholarships: United Federation of Teachers (UFT) scholarship, Dean’s scholarship, U.S Presidential Scholars scholarship, and the Provost scholarship. These scholarships have granted students a huge amount of dollars that will aid them in the college of their choice.
“The college office will not disclose names of students for the following scholarships,” said Mrs. Director. “There are a whole lot of schools and scholarships out there and there’s a right place for everyone. Apply now.”