Scholarship Season at Tahoe Truckee Unified School District
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Thereand#8217;s a book thatand#8217;s always checked out at the high school resource center. Is it a juicy new teen vampire love story? Nope, this must-read bestseller is entitled and#8220;How To Go To College For Almost Free,and#8221; and both students and parents are studying it for valuable nuggets of wisdom and advice.
According to Tahoe Truckee Unified School Districtand#8217;s high school counselors, the bookand#8217;s title may over promise, but even in todayand#8217;s uncertain economic climate there are still plenty of ways to help take the financial sting out of soaring education costs. But free money doesnand#8217;t come easy; it takes commitment, organization and plenty of planning, the local experts say.
and#8220;I tell students to look at applying for scholarships like a part-time job,and#8221; advises Truckee High School counselor Rachel Falk. and#8220;In one year, three hours a week, a student can make $3,000 in scholarships. Thatand#8217;s pretty good payback, but they have to be able to dedicate time to writing the essays and gathering the letters of recommendation.and#8221;
Fellow Truckee High School counselor Nancy Evans agrees and adds organization is key.
and#8220;Students have to be organized and plan ahead and parents can help out with this,and#8221; Evans said. and#8220;The biggest problem is missed deadlines. The best scholarship essay in the world is useless if it isnand#8217;t turned in on time.and#8221;
North Tahoe High School counselor Penny Burney admits one of the biggest misconceptions is scholarship money is easy to get.
and#8220;Itand#8217;s not that they are not easy to get,and#8221; Burney explains. and#8220;But the process is cumbersome and#8212; to find them, apply for them and#8212; then it depends on how complete their application is and if itand#8217;s submitted on time. Ultimately, these factors determine how many/who actually gets it.and#8221;
Other misconceptions? Burney says not all scholarship applications ask for grades or family income. Instead, she says, itand#8217;s often just part of the equation. Community involvement, extracurricular activities, leadership and volunteer efforts are also taken into consideration.
and#8220;They are looking at what have you done besides just going to high school and taking classes,and#8221; Burney says.
All three counselors agree students donand#8217;t have to be lone rangers in their pursuit of college scholarships. Parents can serve as scholarship application managers, making sure deadlines are met and applications are filled in correctly and completely. School counselors and teachers are also a great resource for assistance and advice on essays, letters of reference, etc.
TTUSD Counselorsand#8217; Advice
There are three basic types of scholarships available: merit, national and community-based. Merit scholarships are generated by the higher education institution itself and are related to academic performance, but they also may look for students who display artistic or athletic excellence. Hundreds of national scholarships are offered, but they are understandably very competitive. Students should visit http://www.fastweb.com, which is a free scholarship matching service site. Counselor Evans suggests going after a few national scholarships. And finally, community scholarships are open to all Tahoe-Truckee students.
There are scholarship scams on the Internet. If a payment is required, it is a scam!
Scholarships are available and applicable to not only four-year institutions, but also two-year community colleges and vocational schools.
Parents and students should attend the scholarship meeting at the beginning of the year to determine the best course of action and develop a realistic timeline.
Students should give their application references plenty of time to write thoughtful letters of recommendation.
Visit http://www.ttusd.org for additional info on available scholarships.
and#8212; Provided by Switchback PR + Marketing on behalf of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District
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