Students apply for local scholarships, prepare for college expenses

Seniors urge peers to apply for local scholarships to alleviate the cost of college

Alden Parker-Timms and Danny Phalen

By Ava Lee and Jack Ritter

As seniors get further into the second semester, the stress of college preparation continues to grow. However, the local scholarship program offered by Douglas County may help those on their way to graduation. 

Each year nearly 70 scholarships are awarded to students in the Lawrence area. Whether a student has a GPA of 2.5, or straight A’s, there are several scholarships students may qualify for. 

Several students have taken advantage of this opportunity and have begun the process of applying for scholarships. Seniors are encouraged to apply for as many as possible in preparation for college.

“Just apply to as many as you can. They’re very easy to apply for,” Maelee Folks said. “I’m currently in the process of applying for about 17.” 

Guidance counselor Jennifer Hare has taken on the responsibility of organizing and directing the scholarship system for the past three years and offers some valuable insight to any senior looking to apply.

“Don’t be generic,” Hare said. “I would focus more on being an individual than checking all the boxes.”

Applications allow students to display who they are and why they’re a good candidate for the scholarship. Allie Jakubausks, a senior who is currently in the process of completing applications, also shared advice for those interested in this opportunity. 

“Definitely get started on them as soon as you can because it piles up,” Jakubausks said.

Most applications require an essay and a letter of recommendation. And students must get a head start on these pieces to ensure they’re putting their best foot forward. 

“Don’t be a jerk,” Hare laughed. “Ask your teachers now. Provide your teachers with background information about you and give them advance notice.”

Attending a specific middle school or being a member of the LGBTQ+ community may be advantageous when applying, as specific scholarships aim to support certain people. For example, the Altrusa Memorial Scholarship asks that applicants identify as female.

Applicants can come from different backgrounds with a wide range of goals and aspirations. Whether someone is seeking a job in trades or plan on studying music in the future, there are several scholarships one could meet the requirements for. 

“I’m going to college, majoring in biology, on track to be a physician’s assistant,” Jakubauskas said. 

Meanwhile, Folks has planned a different route.

“I want to attend KU and major in architecture and interior design,” she added.

The deadline for submissions – Feb. 15 – is creeping up.

Students will eagerly wait well into the second semester to hear the results of their hard work. Winners of the scholarships will be celebrated at the recognition ceremony on May 3rd. Students will be acknowledged for their hard work and achievements in addition to their upcoming graduation.

Hare offers some last words of advice; “look at the list and apply. It’s really easy.”