Scholarships: They Can Make Your Dreams Come True

One benefit of receiving scholarships is that some organizations hold ceremonies for the winners! These are a few programs I have collected from the celebrations

by Cara

If scholarships didn’t exist, I don’t think I’d be sitting in a library at the University of St. Thomas right now. I knew that if I wanted to attend college, scholarships would certainly be involved. Don’t let financial barriers stop you from going after your dream of attending college. It’s never too early to start seeking out scholarships. There is a scholarship for every major and career interest. Local scholarships are especially worth applying to because fewer people are eligible for them which increases your chances.

A great resource that led me to many of the scholarships I applied for was the weekly AchieveMpls College & Career Center announcements. Check out Southwest’s here or South’s here. Most people don’t take the time to read the emails their school sends them about scholarships and other opportunities, but take the five minutes and you could end up getting a head start on paying for college!

This isn’t my first time writing about scholarships; click here for an article I wrote for, a college admissions advice website, on ways to improve your chances of winning scholarships. Since I’ve previously written about general ways to help students in their scholarship search, I thought it would be helpful to focus on specific scholarship programs that MPS students can benefit from.

Here are two scholarships you should take the time to apply for because they will benefit you in many ways more than just financial support:

Page Education Foundation

I am proud to be a Page Scholar! The PEF awards scholarships in the range of $1,000-$2,500 depending of the type of college the student will attend. Page Scholars agree to spend at least 50 hours during the year tutoring and mentoring children in grades K-8. The scholarships can be renewed each year, all the way through graduate school. For my Service-To-Children project, I am tutoring fourth graders in math and reading at a local elementary school. It is my first time volunteering with children, and I’ll admit I was nervous at first. Don’t let the volunteer component deter you from applying. It feels great to know you are inspiring and helping a child succeed.

The main eligibility requirements:

  • A student of color
  • A graduate of a Minnesota high school
  • Planning to attend or already enrolled in a community or technical college, vocational school, or 4-year college in Minnesota
  • Willing to complete a minimum of 50 hours for a Service-to-Children project

Two recommendations, an essay, and information about the activities you are involved in are required. Financial need is also taken into account when selecting scholars. The application will be available in January 2015 and due in May 2015.

Wallin Education Partners

I am also proud to be a Ronald Scholar through the Wallin Education Partners! Each scholar has a specific donor, whether it is a business such as General Mills or an individual. The scholarship is worth $16,000 over four years, or $4,000 per year. In addition to the financial support, each scholar is assigned a Wallin advisor to help them navigate the transition to college. At the start of the school year, all of the scholars at my school attended a gathering held by the foundation and there will be more held throughout the year. We also have access to other events such as career fairs and volunteering opportunities.

Here are the requirements to be eligible for the scholarship:

  • Senior at one of the seven traditional Minneapolis Public Schools (Students at St. Paul, Anoka-Hennepin, and North Metro schools are also eligible)
  • G.P.A of 3.0 or higher
  • ACT score of 19 or higher
  • Applying to at least one 4-year college in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, or one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)
  • Family taxable income of $75,000 or less

Aside from your academic performance, two essays, letters of recommendation, and your service and leadership involvement play a role in their selection process. The application will open up this December and is usually due in mid-January.

A few other opportunities worth checking out are the Gates Millenium Scholars Program, Minnesota Association of Counselors of Color scholarship, Pohlad Scholars Program, QuestBridge Programs and the Horatio Alger Association scholarships.

Scholarships can help your dreams come true, so start planning to apply now. If you’re a senior make a list of those you want to apply to, which teachers you’ll ask for recommendations, and brainstorm essay topics. If you’re a junior or younger, bookmark the scholarship links or save them in a Google Doc. You’ll be thankful when the stress of senior year arrives.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t receive the first scholarships you apply for. Or the first five. You’ll have your moment. Don’t give up and view each application as a chance to improve. I questioned if I’d ever have my moment, then I was pulled out of my Spanish class during February of my senior year. It was my admissions counselor from the University of St. Thomas letting me know they were offering me a full-tuition scholarship for all four years. Never give up, work hard, and it’ll all pay off in the end. Check out the new process recently put in place for this scholarship here.

If you have any questions for me about the scholarships listed, or scholarships in general, feel free to leave a comment!

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