By: Shelby Lockhart
Before you begin your university and scholarship search, you should first take a personal reflection as to why you want to achieve a higher education. Make it personal and understand that this step is something that you are doing for you and know that no one can take it away. After much self-reflection, you will have a better way of approaching the many tasks on your college to-do list. Think of colleges and universities that you are interested in attending and research them. Discover what academic programs they have to offer, the population of the campus, learn what the classroom sizes are, learn about the campus organizations and most importantly the financial aid they have to offer. You can find the answers to these by looking on the college website. Once you’ve done your research, it might also help to schedule a campus visit. Campus visits allow you to see whether or not you will feel comfortable at that college or university. When you have the selection of schools you wish to attend, you will need to apply to those colleges. Most of the admission applications can be found online as well. Keep in touch with the admissions counselors and recruiters at those colleges to which you have applied. It will work in your favor when they notice how diligent and ambitious you are about achieving a higher education and attending their university! During and after the application process a series of steps also need to be taken in order to complete the journey to be admitted and enrolled into the university. You will find a list and description below.
- Get those Dollas: Apply for as many scholarships as you can. Talk to school counselors, youth counselors at your church, use search engines. Some great scholarship databases include: Fastweb.com, scholarships.com, cflouisville.org, kheaa.org. There are a great amount of non-profit organizations that offer financial aid for minority students. Those foundations include: Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, Jackie Robinson Scholarship Fund, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, Ron Brown Scholar Program, and the United Negro College Fund. Try researching also within your church communities and schools for local scholarship opportunities. But most important apply for federal student aid at Fafsa.ed.gov.
- What are they saying about you? Letters of recommendation will be required possibly during the application process. They will more than likely be required when applying for financial aid and scholarships. When seeking someone to write a letter of recommendation for you think about who knows you the best outside of your relatives. These people could be your church leaders, teachers, counselors, community leaders, employers. You want someone that knows you and your ambition to write you a letter. It might be helpful to draft a letter for asking them for their help. You should include in your letter a description of the opportunity and what may be required of them.
- The Essay: Most college and scholarship applications require you to write an essay. The essay can be anywhere from a personal statement about yourself to asking about why you value a higher education? Whatever the question may be, think about it and dissect it. Don’t feel intimidated by what they’re asking, but instead break down the question so that you can make your response personal and to the best of your ability. There isn’t anything wrong with asking for help from a parent or counselor. Draft the essay and ask someone to revise it for you. Once your essay is complete you’re ready to go!
The process for obtaining a higher education may seem difficult and frustrating. Just remember that this is a step that you are taking for you. Obtaining a higher education was one of the best decisions and achievements I have made in my life. Though it may be a long process to get there, the experience and the outcome will be well worth the effort. Continue to allow the Lord to lead you and guide you in all that you do. Remember Romans 8:28! If you have any questions feel free to follow me on twitter @LockedHeART423 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.