How do you navigate the vast world of scholarships to fund your college education? Look no further! Hear the inside scoop from three outstanding college students from across Nebraska who successfully searched for scholarships.
Meet the Students
Kyleigh Seim studies architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She is involved in club tennis and Greek life and works part-time on campus.
John Placke attends the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), majoring in biology with a pre-med focus. He is active in Greek life, a local church, and a health sciences club.
Delaney Ham is pursuing social work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) with a minor in criminal justice. She is in the honors program and serves as a resident advisor in her dorm.
Motivation to Apply for Scholarships
Each student had a unique motivation for seeking scholarships. Kyleigh aimed to offset the costs of her six-year architecture program, while John prioritized preparing financially for medical school. Delaney recognized the financial challenges in her chosen field and aimed to reduce future financial burdens by securing scholarship money now.
Application Process and Strategies
Kyleigh started applying for scholarships in her senior year, focusing on those available from the university. She applied for around 20 scholarships and secured approximately five, including the prestigious Regents Scholarship at UNL, which covers tuition costs for four years.
John got guidance from his high school counselor and began applying for local and university scholarships in August of his senior year. He applied for 10-15 scholarships and earned seven local and two university awards, including the Regents Scholarship at UNK.
Delaney, who was largely self-motivated, started her scholarship search in her senior year and sought advice from her guidance counselor. She focused on scholarships relevant to her major, applying for 35-40. She earned 15-20, including the Regents Scholarship at UNO, which covered her entire college experience.
While scholarships played a significant role in their college decisions, they weren’t the sole factor. Delaney opted for a mid-tier scholarship offer at UNO over a full ride elsewhere, considering the broader opportunities and fit for her career goals. John chose UNK due to financial aid and its potential to enhance his medical school prospects. Kyleigh selected UNL primarily due to its Regents Scholarship and unique architecture program.
Tips for Success from Our Scholars
- Start Early: Begin the scholarship search as soon as possible to maximize opportunities.
- Personalize Essays: Tailor essays to reflect personal experiences and motivations.
- Organize: Keep track of scholarships and deadlines with spreadsheets or similar tools.
- Be Yourself: Remain authentic during interviews and applications.
- Seek Feedback: Have trusted individuals review applications to ensure authenticity and clarity.
Navigating scholarships may seem daunting, but with determination, organization, and personalized efforts, high school seniors can unlock various funding opportunities for their college education. Remember, every application counts, no matter the award size. Start early, stay focused, and aim for success!
Don’t forget to utilize resources like ScholarshipQuest, which has more than 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships. Contact EducationQuest for additional support and guidance on your scholarship journey. Best of luck, future scholars!
By Jeannine Phelan