Suddenly, College: Money, Money, Money

Alexa CherryBY ALEXA CHERRY
For the UAS Whalesong

It’s just about that time of year again – the mildly passive-aggressive time of year when you are not-so-subtly reminded that it’s time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so that you can be eligible for as much free money as possible. Not that this is a bad thing at all; it’s just that it’s yet another deadline to add to your  already packed student calendar. But it’s an extremely important deadline, so make sure you remember it: have your FAFSA submitted by February 15th, or no free government money for you.

Speaking of February 15th, that’s also the deadline to apply for most UAS scholarships. You can find a list of scholarships offered by UAS online if you go to http://www.uas.alaska.edu/financial_aid and click on “Scholarships” in the sidebar to the left. Here are some of the ones you will find:

•   UAS Alumni Association Scholarship – Open to students in the final year of an Associate’s degree, the final two years of a Bachelor’s degree, or the final year of a Graduate program. Recipient must be a full-time student at the undergraduate or graduate level. Recipient must have: a 2.5 GPA (undergrad) or a 3.0 (graduate); completed the FAFSA; be enrolled in a degree program offered through UAS; demonstrate financial need.

•   Tuxedo Junction Endowment – To assist full-time students in undergraduate or graduate programs at the University of Alaska Southeast. Recipient must be a full-time undergraduate degree-seeking student at the University of Alaska Southeast with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Preference will be given to students demonstrating high academic performance.

•   John Rutherford Noyes Memorial Scholarship – To provide scholarships for full-time students attending the University of Alaska Southeast who have a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate motivation, plus academic and leadership potential. Requirements: attending full-time, science or education major, minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, degree-seeking student at the University of Alaska Southeast.

I chose some pretty general  examples, applicable to most degree fields, but you get the idea – there will be a name, a description, and a list of requirements (many of which include having applied for the FAFSA). There are plenty of other scholarships out there, and you can certainly look for them, but if you’re a busy college student on a time crunch, these are the most immediately accessible. In order to apply for any of these scholarships, you’re going to go to the same website I mentioned above, choose “Scholarships” again, and then select “UAS Scholarships” in the resultant drop-down menu. This will take you to a page that has a list of instructions for applying for scholarships.

Part of these instructions, and a part of applying for scholarships in general, is writing or modifying an earlier version of a scholarship essay. These are a little difficult to write because not only are they about you, but you have to use them to do something that society has told you not to do your whole life – which is to say, brag. Much like your résumé, scholarships essays follow three rules: be polite, be professional, and show off. Try to keep your accomplishments relevant to the scholarship you’re applying for, but if they’re particularly impressive, their relevance doesn’t necessarily matter. Talk about your 4.0 GPA, your hours and hours of extracurricular volunteer work, your participation in leadership programs and positions, your scientific research work, how you write a novel in a month every year – anything and everything that will make it clear that you’re a good, clever student who is abundantly deserving of free money and will put it to the best use possible. Don’t be shy! Don’t be arrogant, but don’t be shy. You worked hard, and now you get to talk about how hard you worked and champion yourself for your own cause.

If you’re confused or have any questions about applying for scholarships, you can always look on the Financial Aid website or contact them at either (907)-796-6255 or finaid@uas.alaska.edu.

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