BROKE and BOUGIE: Scholarship Success / By Alexia Feaster
“Congratulations, you’ve won!” Every student would love to see or hear these words from an institution that is ready to invest in their future. According to the Finaid.com, 83.2% of college students need scholarships to help fund their education. (Finaid.com) Scholarships can be used to cover the cost of tuition, room & board, books, and many other miscellaneous fees. As a result of the high demand for these awards, national scholarship competitions are being used to put the best candidates to the test. While some may win the money that is offered through these scholarship competitions, there is still a large amount of students who need to have a financial gap filled in order to continue their college journey. How can they win money to make sure they are accumulating little to no debt? Whitney Patrick, a Wells Fargo personal banker, has suggested that aside from applying for national scholarships, there are other scholarship opportunities to consider. These scholarships can be found in your grocery stores, libraries, and even local community bank branches. Small scholarships could also be found on sites such as collegegreenlight.com and fastweb.com. On these sites, students can find scholarships that are nationally recognized as well as pinpoint more locally sponsored opportunities as well. These local scholarships are sometimes easier to win because there may be fewer students to compete with and you may belong to the community that the foundation resides in, which could appeal to the scholarship committee. A positive and determined attitude will show them that there is a need for the money they have to offer and that if the award is offered to you, it will be put to great use. Once you have a reference from someone who really knows you, then , in my opinion, you have a big part of your scholarship application done. In a recent interview with a Simeon Alumni Association Award winner, we discussed the application process and how it was hard for her to get recommendations from teachers because she was a bit shy throughout her high school journey. Ultimately she had to go to a community leader from After School Matters, who elaborated on her work ethic as well as her determined personality. It is highly recommended that you build relations with your school faculty so that when you are in need of a reference there is no delay in talking about your accomplishments. This would improve the networking skills that you will use in college and will also make you a better candidate for any scholarship awards you are aiming for.