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Scholarships slipping from students

Seniors fear admitting their need for guidance

A+student+searches+for+scholarships+on+Google.
A student searches for scholarships on Google.

A student searches for scholarships on Google.

Photo by Alonzo Lepper

Photo by Alonzo Lepper

A student searches for scholarships on Google.

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Scholarships are a puzzling topic for millions of high school students and parents across the country, as there is a layer of obscurity regarding the actual process of applying.

“My problem with scholarships is that I have a really hard time signing up for them and filling out the applications because some require your parents’ help and it’s hard being a first generation student,” senior Martha Sarinana said. “My parents didn’t even attend high school, so they can’t really help me with applications and it’s a bit discouraging.”

A large deterrent for students is the lack of communication at home about finances and the fear of asking for guidance with the intimidating process. Specifically, low income students and the children of immigrants are often limited to a few resources for help, with younger siblings often left to rely on older siblings who have already completed the process.

“There’s a big lack of support at home,” Sarinana said. “My older sister is currently working two jobs while attending college, so she has no time to help me with the scholarship process.”

Without the presence of crucial assistance at home, many students are forced into a feeling of hopelessness because they lack enough self-advocacy and confidence to reach out for help.

“Adults often say ‘just talk to your counselors,’ but I don’t think they realize just how unapproachable they actually are,” Sarinana said. “It’s intimidating because when I go into my counselors office I feel as if they’re are looking at me and thinking that I’m and idiot because I don’t understand the basic stuff.”

Some students feel as if there is a hidden barrier between them and counselors that holds them back from asking for guidance. Because students fear admitting their need for help, many choose to not to speak with counselors about scholarships and ignore the topic all together.

“I don’t really talk to my counselors because I’ve just never felt prepared to,” senior Christian Camilo said. “I know they can give me more of an insight when it comes to scholarships, but I haven’t approached them partly due to laziness and time constraints and I guess I’m a little bit scared.”

Scholarship applications don’t have to be a terrifying experience. Students simply need to create and learn to get over the fear of rejection and laziness that comes with completing their senior year.

“I feel that scholarships are something that is talked about in a lot of discussions but actually following through and the execution doesn’t seem to happen as often, which is weird because I don’t know where the disconnect comes from,” AP government teacher Cortney Martin said. “[I notice that] students even talk about them with their friend groups like ‘Yeah, we really need to apply to this and sit down,’ but I don’t think it ever happens.”

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