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Getting a Scholarship – or Two

If you are in need of financial help to get through school then scholarships might be just the way to go. Although a scholarship is a monetary award it is not always based on financial need.  It’s free money and you earned it through your self-discipline and hard work.

Kim Hartwell, Scholarship Program Manager at the Palomar College Foundation, says that all students are eligible to apply for one or more of over 120 scholarships available every year.  

Flickr Creative Commons
Flickr Creative Commons

Considerations before applying:

  • Types of scholarships

A scholarship could be career specific, such as nursing, sports or arts; student specific, such as gender, race, a potentially successful sports figure or religion; or school specific, where the college will disperse an award to an accepted qualified student.

  • When to apply

Ideally the time to apply for a scholarship would be in high school. Some of the scholarships you might be looking at could take longer to process. Then again some will take only a few months.  At Palomar you should apply in the early spring for a fall award.

  • Eligibility and financial aid   

Wes Luther, an analyst in Financial Aid, said that obtaining an award will not affect any grant eligibility; but it might affect the amount of money available as a student loan.  To be eligible one must be enrolled or accepted to enroll at Palomar, maintaining a satisfactory academic progress, have a high school diploma or an equivalent such as a GED, be a citizen or eligible non-citizen, and show proof of financial need (may only apply to some applications).

  • Apply online

Only one application is necessary and it’s completed online only, through a third-party server.  You’ll need an essay, a letter of recommendation (LOR), and your application.  Be sure to attach everything before the application is submitted.

Your essay is about your challenges, obstacles faced, work experience, and since you’re human, don’t be afraid to make it personal and keep it under 500 words.

  • Application Review Process

Each student will be given a score based on achievements, goals, downfalls, grades, financial abilities, and future plans.   Then the student are matched with scholarship ; highest scoring applicants usually qualify for more than one scholarship.

  • Waiting to hear

An email is then sent to the students receiving awards with the amount and the donors name.  You will be expected to send a thank-you note to your donor and meet with them on Honors Night, which is held in May.

Honors Night makes it possible to commemorate all those involved in the process, especially the students.  “It’s a great evening of celebration for the student, donor, and the Foundation,” said Hartwell.   

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