Written by Kayla Burt|
Photos by Kayla Burt and Morgan Pawprint|
For the graduating seniors, college is right around the corner! This is such an exciting yet nerve-wracking time for the students and parents. But one of the most important questions to ask before you commit to a school is: How are we going to afford this? College tuition can range from as little as $3,000 per year to as expensive as $70,000 per year. Lucky for us, our guidance department at Morgan has a great system for applying to local scholarships to help pay for the college expenses.
If you look online, there are thousands upon thousands of scholarships to apply for. The key is to find the ones that relate specifically to you. There are scholarships for people with brown eyes, for people majoring in nursing, for people that have four or more pets, and for anything you can think of. There are many different websites to find these scholarships. My favorites include Fastweb, Chegg, Scholarships, and College Board. Most of these scholarships, however, are available to students throughout the nation. It may be difficult to win these because there is a large pool of students that apply. Senior Mike Baker argues that these scholarships are “tedious, annoying, and oppresive – you aren’t even guaranteed to win one of them.”
If you would much rather fill out an application by hand, our guidance department is the place for you. This scholarship system, has been up and running for over 30 years. During advisory, guidance hands out lists of scholarships they call “Bulletins.” These bulletins are numbered as they come out. The scholarships on the list are also numbered as well. For example, on Bulletin #1 there are scholarships #1-7. On Bulletin #2 there are scholarships #8-13, and so on. These bulletins are also available on Guidances’s Scholarship page.
When you first walk into the guidance office, there is a filing cabinet where you can find all the applications for the scholarships. All of the applications are organized by number in separate manila files – their numbers correlate with the numbers they are given on the bulletins. This is a great way to keep track of which scholarships you have already applied to and which ones you haven’t. So far, there are over 60 different scholarships in the guidance office right now.
Different from the online scholarships, these scholarships are from local businesses and people. For example, there is a scholarship from the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, Bill’s Seafood, and The Westbrook Elms Club. These scholarships have less people applying to them because they are local rather than national. This gives you a better chance of winning the scholarships.
Although these scholarships may be easier to win, they are still as long and tedious as the online ones. Senior Cara Morello claims that “even though it is a stressful situation it can help you in the long run. Even though people don’t want to do the work, it is free money so it’s worth it.” Senior Judy Chicoine, however, argues that these scholarships can be difficult to receive, so the work isn’t worth it. “Some of them do ask you for the FAFSA which nullifies the point of applying for scholarships. If the FAFSA didn’t give you any financial aid because you don’t ‘need’ it, the scholarships committee probably won’t give you the money. I think you still deserve to get help for paying for college no matter what economic status you are in.”
The work you need to put into the scholarships definitely varies. There are some where all you have to do is give your name and what school you attend. Others ask for the FAFSA, a list of extracurricular activities, a list of the honors and awards you have received, an official transcript, letters of recommendations, the FAFSA and the actual application, of course. The scholarships also vary in the amount of money. Usually, but not always, the scholarships that require more information will give you more money.
I personally believe that applying for scholarships is definitely worth your time. This money can help pay for anything you may need for college. Whether it be $200 or $2,000, every amount of money can help pay for books, supplies, tuition, and room and board. I wish the best of luck to the graduating seniors and I’m very excited to see where life takes you!