Most college students are working multiple jobs and struggling financially when it comes to going to school full-time or part-time. It can be stressful dealing with personal things such as rent or bills while going to school and also having to worry about assignment deadlines and grades.
For those at a university or transferring in the future, paying for college tuition is nearly impossible without financial aid or a loan. Financial aid doesn’t give students enough to cover the entirety of their education, and loans are expected to be paid back with interest which can leave students in debt.
Before considering those options, scholarships and grants should be examined as better options for students because they don’t have to be repaid and there are a variety of different programs that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars in scholarships and grants.
There are many scholarships out there that students may not be aware of. Some are based on gender, major, age or a disability if applicable. When searching for scholarships students should research based on their identifying list such as: any community service that was done, if a student is a single parent, any hobbies they partake in or if they’re a veteran.
Joselyn Gaines, empowerment and outreach specialist at American River College, says that scholarships can help students with their education making it easier on them, which they should pay attention to and not procrastinate on.
“A lot of the time financial aid isn’t enough or students aren’t able to receive financial aid,” Gaines said. “Schools aren’t getting cheaper or affordable so this is really a viable way for students to get out there and get money to secure their dream.”
Gaines says successfully getting scholarships is about knowing yourself and telling your truth.
“I try to teach students to tell their stories and not be hesitant or embarrassed about it but to share because you want people to invest in who you are and in your dream,” Gaines said.
ARC awards scholarships to students each year. By completing an application students are matched to hundreds of scholarship opportunities which they qualify for according to the ARC college website. In order to qualify, students need a Los Rios Community College District student ID, must be currently enrolled as a student; they also need letter of recommendation for all scholarships.
Kayla Sepulveda, criminal justice major, received her recent scholarship she got in January with the help of Joselyn Gaines in the process.
“I was granted a scholarship for minority women that have been through a life crisis and low income,” Sepulveda said. “The scholarships were given by women that were inspired by our stories. We told a little bit about our stories to a small group of people, why we deserve the scholarship and what we’re majoring in college.”
When students take the time and research scholarships, they can become successful in finding the right one for them. Opening your mind and taking the risk when it comes to applying for scholarships is important. Many students get discouraged that they won’t end up getting the scholarship when in reality, they could be the only one who has applied to that one scholarship itself. Consistency is key with the search process and working on getting recommendations ahead of time will keep students on track.