My daughter, a high school sophomore, has been receiving college recruiting materials since last year. Most area high school students are similarly inundated with recruiting materials. They also have access to caring guidance counselors, involved teachers, helicopter parents, etc., who ensure they know about educational opportunities.
How do we reach adults who are no longer connected to the traditional recruiting field of high school?
There is more to becoming a college student than simply enrolling for classes, but not everyone has a guide committed to his or her success. Even if an adult has college experience, how do we make the connection to let him know that scholarship applications are available, or that Dec. 20 is the recommended deadline for success if he plans to register as a new student for the spring semester? Over the next couple of months, I’d like to use this column to provide that guide.
Lesson 1: The Scholarship Process
The DACC Foundation awarded 411 scholarships valued at more than $425,000 for the 2013-2014 academic year. Scholarship applications are available annually in the foundation office and online at http://www.dacc.edu/foundation beginning in mid-December. One completed application form enters the applicant into a pool for any of the foundation’s scholarships for which he or she qualifies. Scholarships are available to traditional and non-traditional, full- and part-time students of any age who meet the criteria for entrance to DACC. Applications are due back to the foundation office by Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, to be considered for a 2014-15 scholarship.
The DACC Financial Aid web page contains a list of resources to assist in the scholarship search at http://dacc.edu/finaid/scholarships.html. Additional scholarship resources can be found in our weekly newsletter, http://dacc.edu/stunews/, and at http://www.collegezone.com and http://www.fastweb.com/. These sites offer free resources and searchable databases to help find scholarship dollars for college. Applicants should never need to pay for a scholarship service when reliable free sources such as these exist.
Most scholarship applications require an essay. A well-written essay can be the deciding factor between receiving a scholarship and watching it go to someone else who made a stronger case for funding. The essay is an applicant’s first, and sometimes only, means of relaying to the selection committee his motivation for pursuing a particular educational path, or her dedication to accomplishing a life goal. The committee rarely meets an applicant in person, so the essay is the sole means of persuasion in what can be a very high stakes game. When it comes to the essay, an applicant should take the time to give it careful thought, put honest heart and soul into the content, and double check spelling and grammar.
Good luck with the scholarship process. Next month we will discuss FAFSA and other financial aid resources.
Lara Conklin is director of marketing and college relations at Danville Area Community College. Contact her at 443-8798 or e-mail email@example.com.