The cost of attending a community college has risen nearly 9 percent this past year, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officer’s organization. Many students are left to depend on financial aid, but for some scholarships remain one of the sole options to cut the college debt.
Ruth Ann Hatchett, associate director of development, spoke Jan. 24 about the Pierce College Foundation Scholarship, which can offer students $750 per quarter. The only requirements for the scholarship are that students must be enrolled in 10 credits and have a cumulated 3.0 GPA. To be considered for the scholarship for the 2013-2014 school year, students must turn in their application by April 11.
The application for the scholarship is available online through the.washboard.org. Once a student has registered for a free account on the.washboard.org, then they can access the online application. A 10-minute PowerPoint is available on the scholarship page located within the Pierce College website.
“It takes you step by step on how to fill out the application,” Hatchett said. “The process is fairly simple. But I’ve found for most people, it’s the essays that scare them away.”
An essay is required as part of the application, but it’s restricted to no more than one page. Hatchett explained that the essay is designed so the Pierce College District Scholarship Committee can learn more about the students and so the students can set themselves apart.
It should also outline why the given student has need of the scholarship and whether they have attempted to receive financial aid. Hatchett stressed the importance of students applying for financial aid because not applying makes it seem that the student hasn’t put in all the effort that they could to obtain funding.
About 75 to 300 students will apply, and only a few will be selected. Below are steps given by Hatchett to increase an applicant’s chances of being chosen.
First, keep it simple. Minimize and cut out unnecessary words. Any unneeded information used only to fill the page can be detrimental rather than beneficial.
Second, keep it neat. The outline of the paper is important. The committee appreciates papers that are easy to read. Clear paragraphs and sentences increase the chances of being considered. Checking spelling and grammar also are essential because they convey effort and improve the applicant’s standing. Ask others to read the completed essay to be certain it’s clear and effective.
Third, talk about any accomplishments appropriately. It’s important to explain to the committee what one has done to deserve the scholarship but over marketing or boasting can have the opposite effect. Be concise and candid rather than boring and boastful.
Fourth, state the need for the scholarship. An applicant is suggested to explain their financial situation, whether they are employed, if they are supported by their family and if they have applied for or receive financial aid.
Last, plan ahead and don’t procrastinate. Putting an essay off to the last minute will make it sound rushed and less thought out compared to those who have taken their time to review and edit their essays. Students should be aware of the deadline date and give themselves enough allotted time to finalize their application.
Additional questions and assistance on the writing process for the essays can be found on the scholarship page, or students can contact Hatchett.
A student success workshop will cover this scholarship noon-12:50 p.m. on Feb. 26 in A166.
More scholarships are available through websites such as washboard.org, collegeboard.org, cappex.com and fastweb.com.
Hatchett cautions students to not use any websites that require them to pay money for a scholarship search.
Other scholarship opportunities are listed on the scholarship page, such as a transfer scholarship to University of Washington Tacoma and a Washington State Opportunity Grant available for science, technology, engineering, mathematic and health care majors.
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