The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

All about local scholarships: Q&A with a counselor

Learn more about how and when to apply for numerous scholarships.
Maeslyn Hamlin
An LHS senior receives a scholarship at a ceremony held last year.

As seniors enter their final semester of high school, they meet a range of constraints and challenges as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives, which for many, means college. College loans continue to be a big cause of concern for many seniors who intend to attend college; however, seniors may easily qualify for a variety of local scholarships. A conversation with counselor Jennifer Hare provided critical insights to assist students navigate the scholarship maze. 

What advice would you give to students who are uncertain about filling out scholarship applications?

“Everybody should apply because there are scholarships for everybody. You don’t have to be a perfect student with a perfect GPA and endless community service. So advice number one: Go through the list, see which ones you qualify for. It’s a fillable PDF, so you just kind of have to fill it out the first time, and then you can tailor your answers to the specific scholarships, and then print it off.”

What advice would you give to students to help them navigate the multitude of scholarships more effectively?

“Through the Lawrence High website, Student Services, and Local Scholarship, there’s a catalog of all of the courses. I would just read through the list, and then if I qualified for any of them, I’d write that name down. Then, on the website, it tells you what kind of application it needs, if it’s a general app or a special app. So, it’s all listed there; don’t procrastinate. There’s going to be a workshop for kids that need a little extra help or guidance on February 7th at 1:45 p.m. in the Learning Commons. So if kids have specific questions, they can get an answer a few days before they’re officially due.”

Are there any common mistakes you notice students making regularly that they could avoid?

“Yes. Applying for scholarships that they don’t meet the requirements for. Another mistake is not applying for enough scholarships, because sometimes we have a few. [Scholarships] that people assume everybody’s applying for. And then lastly, make sure you staple your transcript to every single one. And make sure it’s turned in on time. On the 13th at 4:00 p.m.”

Do you have any suggestions about how students might obtain excellent letters of recommendation for those who require them?

Always ask early. So right now, we want to give at least two weeks notices, the minimum. To the person that is writing the letter of recommendation, it’s best for you to give them a list of all of your activities, clubs, and grades. If you give the writer that information, It makes it easier for them to write that letter.”

Could you elaborate on the role of clubs and extracurriculars in determining students’ eligibility for certain scholarships?

“Sometimes I think when people fill it out, they sometimes maybe feel like they aren’t doing enough. You don’t have to be in a hundred clubs. If you’ve done one thing, but you do it well and you spend a lot of time there, that quality is better than having the quantity of a whole bunch of volunteer activities. Even though there’s 20 lines for you to write it in, if you’re not filling in 20 lines, don’t feel bad.”

Do you have any guidance regarding writing a personal essay or a compelling essay?

I would say, they don’t even have to be full essays. Just target your response towards a scholarship that you’re applying for… If you’re applying for one that wants to know about Billy Mills, that you went to Billy Mills, then really kind of in one of the answers, somehow write in a response that’s reflective of Billy Mills. Maybe just one or two sentences to show that you’ve crafted your response to them.”

What is one crucial piece of advice you would like to provide students?

“Some of the scholarships say they are for students who need financial assistance.. don’t let your willingness to apply because everybody needs financial assistance. And you don’t have to put in WT forms, you don’t have to prove in any way what your parent’s financial status is. I would just select the range of the salary, and on the last question where it asks you to justify what the financial need is, you can just explain it. Maybe there’s more than one person in your household in college. College is just expensive. So don’t hesitate.”

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About the Contributors
Karen Cruz Santos, Reporter
I'm a first-year writer and reporter on the journalism staff. When I'm not reporting, I'm learning French, attempting to play soccer, studying or spending time with friends.
Maeslyn Hamlin, Red and Black Co-Editor in Chief

I'm a third year editor of the Red and Black and this year I'm an editor in chief. When I'm not working on the newspaper I'm usually at work. I work two jobs, play lots of music, and I've pole vaulted in track for three years.

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