Waking up to reality of the scholarship nightmare


Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I thought finding the career I was going to pursue in college was the only thing I had to worry about at the beginning of my senior year.

I was stressed trying to figuring it out. There are many interesting and important things I could do in the world.

I wanted to be sure I chose the right one. After narrowing it down, I finally decided to be undecided, but leaning toward biology and journalism. Then the school counselor came and talked to our class about scholarship folders and that opened a whole new world of worry.

Scholarship folders may not seem important, but the thought of them strikes fear into many collegebound seniors' hearts. The folders bring about problems I hadn't thought about, like applying for scholarships, financial aid and picking a college.

A scholarship folder consists of an essay describing why you would like to go to college and what you are interested in, at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher or another source and a list of personal achievements and information. It doesn't sound like that much, but once you've put off doing it for a month or two and the deadline gets closer, you can feel the stress mounting.

It wouldn't be so bad, except everything has to be so precise and there are many factors to consider that could effect your deadline. You realize that when the need for letters of recommendation arises, it helps that you have been a good student and haven't driven your teachers crazy. You'd be surprised how your list of selected teachers shrinks if you aren't as fast as lightening asking a teacher to write one for you.

Think that teacher would write a good letter? Chances are, about 35 other students have had the same idea. Finishing anything requires attention to detail and a lot of corrections. After the sixth time of doing and redoing the same paper or application, I got a little freaked out. Once everything is done, I hope I'll look back and think "That wasn't so bad!"

Right now I'm stressed and thinking "Am I ever going to be done with this?" And if I'm stressed now, many of the procrastinators I know must be breaking into a serious sweat.

After you've applied for scholarships, sent in applications to colleges and finished your scholarship folder, the rest of senior year has to be a breeze. Right? At least that's what I'm hoping.

I've learned my lesson about reading instructions thoroughly and waiting too long to start a big project. This has been one big learning experience. Although I didn't start as late as some, it is was still a lot of work and stress to finish my scholarship folder on time.

It's now obvious to me that furthering your education takes a lot more work than just deciding on a future career.

This article is the opinion of Mallory Millay. Millay is a senior at Skyview High School.

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