BY TRINA BERNAL
If you want to go to college, you need money. To get money, you can either save up from day -9000 or apply for scholarships. Ms. Marwick, our new colleges and career counselor, can assist you if you need direction in your process of finding scholarships.
Scholarships are basically free money. But in order to earn this free money, it comes with a cost: be relentless. “One thing I want to impart to BHS students is to be relentless with whatever you pursue; whether that be college apps, scholarships, career paths,” Ms. Marwick shares.
Benicia High alum, Jenna Anderson, highly recommends you start locally, and with your parents and relatives too. “You want to apply to all of them whether you meet all of the qualifications for it or not, because if they don’t have any applicants that meet their criteria, they will revert to one of the applicants who doesn’t.” It’s time-consuming, yes, but it’s one of the many things that will benefit you in the long run.
There are multiple types of scholarships you can apply for. There’s non-essay, which is exactly what its name entails. You merely fill out important information and maybe refer a friend. There’s essay which you fill in a couple pieces of information as well, but you answer the scholarship provider’s question in essay format. There’s also an unusual scholarship where if you have a particularly unique skill like duck-calling you can sign up for a scholarship.
Student loans are another thing but it’s popularly argued against by the majority because of student debt. But alas, two categories of student loans exist: federal and private. Federal is divided into subsidized loans, where you pay after your schooling is done, and unsubsidized loans, where you pay during your schooling. A federal loan you can apply for is Stafford Loan, a low-interest loan sought after by college students whose overall tuition couldn’t be covered by scholarships alone. Watch out, because if the money sum passes the borrowing maximum, you cannot take out the Stafford Loan.
With scholarships and loans, there is also student grants. Cal Grant A which is for UC and CSU, Cal Grant B which is for community colleges, and Cal Grant C for occupational or career technical schools.
Other websites you can visit according to Ms. Marwick are goingmerry.com, which Ms. Marwick calls a “one-stop shopping” where you can upload essays to any and all scholarships, insert letter of recommendations, which are easy, accessible, and secure. It’s different from the local scholarships where you must mail; this one, instead, is digital entry type. Goingmerry.com is like the Common App of scholarships, basically. Ms. Marwick warns that legitimate scholarships don’t have fees. And if you’re doubtful check with Ms. Marwick for more clarification for any questions up in the air. Sign up for a Federal Student Aid account on fafsa.gov to be better equipped in applying for scholarships.
Because Ms. Marwick attended Benicia High like us, she knows about the filing cabinet in the counseling room (H-108). This special cabinet has all scholarships with the due dates in chronological order, January at front and December at back. If you ever need help, Ms. Marwick is happy to assist you in all things college-related.
Said perfectly by Anderson, “Apply, apply, apply because there’s no such thing as ‘too much scholarship money.’”