This morning at the MAOTeen College Fair, universities from across the country set up shop at the Rosen Centre to entice college-bound young women to consider their schools and the financial support they are willing to provide. We'll be delving into the subject of in-kind scholarships more in our October issue of fourpoints, but for now I'd like to step up on a soap box and talk about the reasons teens should be setting aside a little time each week to seek out and apply for college scholarships.
When I was a freshman at Michigan State University, nearly my entire year of tuition was paid for with scholarships. During my senior year of high school, I worked on essays and concentrated on my grades in order to secure that funding. But when the scholarship money ran out and tuition came due, I had to do what so many college-aged students are required to do these days—take out loans. Because "everybody was doing it" while I was in college, it didn't seem like too big of an ordeal. I'd graduate, get a job, and pay back my loans no problem! While the first part of that sentence is true, I did graduate, get a job, and start paying off my loans, it hasn't been so easy. The majority of my paychecks each month go to paying down on my loans, and I'm not even close to being done.
The moral of this story is: The more scholarships you get, the less loans you'll need, and the faster you'll be debt free. You may even graduate debt free like so many of the titleholders who've walked across the MAOTeen stage. No matter what grade you're in, you can start working toward stellar academic achievements in order to have the best GPA and transcripts. And it's never too early to work on scholarship appliactions! Seek out scholarships in your community and state, and apply! My mom always used to tell me, it may take two hours of your precious time to write a scholarship essay, but if that scholarship is for $500, you'll be making $250 an hour!
Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine's staff writer.