Counseling office gives tips for scholarship planning

 Meg Lane/Editor-in-Chief

College, the gateway to adulthood and our future careers, is coming at an increasingly steep cost.

Most seniors will need to apply for some sort of financial aid or scholarship to afford these growing costs, but seniors should keep in mind that the counseling office has quite a few tips to help ease the tension of applying for scholarships and aid.

Counseling Secretary Tracy Javellana, in collaboration with the school counselors, have created a list of steps for seniors in order to make the scholarship process successful.

The first most important tip Javellana stresses is being organized.

“Scholarship searching/applying is practically a full time job,” she said.

“What I had my kids do was each time they found a scholarship that they qualified for they put the information in a folder.

On the outside of the folder they wrote the date it was due and what needed to be included for the application (transcript, essay, recommendations etc).

For them, it seemed to keep them on track, allowed them work on them as needed and kept the materials in one place.”

Speaking of transcripts, essays and recommendations, Javellana further explained that when applying for any scholarship, a student should have up to three people selected to write recommendations.

These can be teachers, employers and members from within the community; whoever is chosen should be given a list of all the activities, awards and employment, the student has participated in since 9th grade: give the recommendation writers a resume.

“This allows the writer to have more information to write about in order to have a more comprehensive recommendation,” Javellana said.

Students should also give the writers at least a two week notice about the scholarship, so as to give them time to complete it and send it in.

The deadline date and background information on the scholarship should be included as well.

After all recommendations have been mailed by their writers, Javellana suggests showing appreciation for writers by giving them thank you notes.

Seniors should also know that students will need to send official transcripts to the schools they are applying to.

See Javellana to fill out a form for each school.

All of the transcript for applications are free, but transcripts being sent to the college are only free the first time; after that, all transcripts cost $2.

Javellana also stressed, “We can not give students a transcript, as then it becomes unofficial.

An official transcript includes a signature from Dr. Powers as well as an imprinted stamp, which indicates to the committee or school that the student has not touched it, and so therefore there can be no tampering,” Javellana said.

The counseling office will post scholarships and their due dates as they approach, so seniors should continue to check the guidance website and the announcements case in front of the guidance offices frequently to see which ones they need to start on next.

Also, the school counselors have created a packet of 100 or so scholarships that students can apply for now.

Javellana added that the schools students apply to will be the best sources of money.

“Students should work with financial aid offices of the colleges that they have been accepted to, as that is where there will be the most help.

I often tell students that your college education is the biggest investment you will probably make, therefore if they will need to acquire funding, the student, not just the parent, needs to be proactive in learning how to fund their education,” Javellana said.

Which leads to her final tip: make yourself look good.

“I use the comparison of selling a home to help students.

When you sell your home, the best way to sell it is to make it look great.

What do you do to sell yourself in a scholarship application?

The first thing is to follow all the rules; read the information carefully, and follow the instructions precisely.

Secondly, make all of the information look professional and neat.

And lastly, essays/personal statements are the most important part of judging any applicants.

All applicants who reach the minimum criteria are ‘tied,’ so to speak.

So, what can the applicant do to separate themselves from the rest?

They must write an incredible essay with no errors.”

Class of 2014

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