For many high school seniors, the stress doesn’t immediately disappear after acceptance into a college. Attending a college in the United States, whether public or private, can be very expensive. Fortunately, however, there are resources to help students pay for college; scholarships and federal financial aid are two of the most common of these resources. Applying for scholarships and financial aid can be confusing, but taking the time to do so may help students gain access to a more affordable higher education.
Scholarships typically are offered on two levels: national and local.
“A lot of the bigger national scholarships tend to be for a little bit more money than the local ones. But there’s also a giant pool of people with the national ones. The great thing about the local ones is there is definitely a smaller pool of applicants, and if you end up getting one of the local ones, it’s a neat way to connect with communities,” Mr. Dhyne, BHS’s Career Center advisor, said.
There are many of these local scholarships, that are offered here in the BHS community. Some of them include the BHS Athletic Boosters Scholarship, which awards 500 dollars to BHS athletes who plan to attend college, and the BHS Faculty and Staff Scholarship, which varies in its amount of aid. Other local scholarships include the BHS Music Boosters Scholarship, the BHS Drama Boosters Scholarship, and the BHS Alumni Association Scholarship. Local organizations like the Rotary Club and the Lion’s Club offer their own scholarships. The Rotary Club is unique in that it offers a scholarship for community college as well.
“I like that the Rotary Club offers a scholarship for students going to community college. Often times, people assume that community college is much cheaper, but you still have to pay for it and not everyone can afford it” Mr. Dhyne said.
Many students, also understand the value of these local scholarships.
“I think that all of these local scholarships are great, because they not only allow students to pursue higher education but they also show that the community is really involved in empowering students to pursue their dreams,” BHS senior Justin Ling said.
Yet, these scholarships mentioned above are only a part of the bigger pool of local scholarships available to BHS students. Mr. Dhyne encourages students who are looking for these local scholarships to go to the career center for applications and advice.
There are also resources for students to find national scholarships. Cappex, for example, is a site that is meant to help students with the overall process of applying to college, including finding scholarships. Students sign up for a free account, and can use Cappex to search for scholarships based on certain criteria, such as intended college major and family financial situation. On the site, Cappex also provides information about each scholarship, including how much writing is involved, how difficult it is to apply, and how much money students are awarded. Cappex claims to have more than 11 billion dollars on its scholarship database.
Cappex, however, is not the only resource out there to help students. “Big Future” is a program launched by the College Board, which also matches students with prospective scholarships. Students can also type in “scholarship search” on Google, to find other sites that provide similar services.
For many, these sites are important because they organize the vast expanse of scholarships out there for students.
“Sites like Cappex are really useful and helpful for students who are looking for scholarships that specifically apply to them and their parents. It’s great to help organize the process altogether, rather than students having to go to different sites,” BHS senior Brandon Chen said.
Chen mentioned that he would possibly be applying to the Staff and Faculty Association scholarship, as well as career specific national scholarships for medicine and healthcare.
As demonstrated by Chen’s pursuit of scholarships in science, many national scholarships are tailored toward a student’s interests and heritage- an attribute many students appreciate.
“Organizations put out scholarships that cater to prospective job interests, so, for example, I've been going towards scholarships in environmental sciences, sustainability, and agriculture. These are probably the best to pursue because these institutions will serve as great connections in the future since you are considered an investment,” BHS senior Isabela Acenas said.