What is the price of an hour of your time? Is it worth the minimum wage of $8 an hour? An hour of frantically dealing with customers and their requests and complaints throughout a working day in a fast-food job or clothing store – the majority of the jobs obtained by students – is what many striving students engage in to help pay their way through school. With no wonder why either, as the tuition for UCs will rise again within the following year.
There’s an easier out of flipping burgers, and it’s called scholarships. FREE money. We kind of like money right? So why isn’t there an insane number of students going after these scholarship opportunities? Maybe the reason why is because some students like working harder than they should and finding time to squeeze in homework and studying between their busy schedules. Or maybe it is because they think they don’t qualify for them; of course this assumption is WRONG. Many scholarships are aimed towards those lower-income students, but there is variety among the qualifications for them and some are as easy as simply being left-handed. The more work required in applying for a scholarship can predict the possible number of applicants applying for that scholarship. In simple terms, more work necessary equals more chances of winning when applying.
My first experience in applying for scholarships was a good experience, as I received a total of $5,000. Not bad for a first timer, right? I was amazed at what the few hours a day spent working on a few essays did to my bank account. I was even able to sit at a conference table and listen to a franchise of McDonald’s fast-food restaurants across the United States and Senator Joe Baca speak to a group of the Joe Baca Foundation Scholarship recipients. The experience was life-changing and has motivated me to excel beyond the Hispanic community and onto worldwide success, not accepting the disadvantages that I face and making the most of the limited opportunities such as being raised in a small suburban neighborhood.
What it comes down to is that these people are trying to help us – they want to see us succeed and are willing to offer financial assistance. Senator Joe Baca invited us the San Manuel Cultural Center, which was interesting to enter the gated community where we able to have dinner along with his children Joe Baca Jr., Jeremy Baca, and Natalie Baca-Ramos. This action demonstrated to me the interaction he attempted to develop with the recipients of the scholarship. The Joe Baca Foundation Scholarship donated $43,000 to 43 (because California is the 43rd district) recipients. What these donators are attempting to do within these scholarships is not to choose the highest-standing person on an academic level, but to pick an individual who will put their money to good use by helping others. After all, we as a group are the future. This is an opportunity among us students, and we must take advantage of it.
So what does it take to be successful and win some cash?
Probably the most important thing is finding the time to do these scholarships. School can be busy enough already and the only way to make an attempt at winning any scholarships is to actually apply.
I would also suggest taking the time to answer the questions on the application with sincerity. I usually do this by reading the questions early and throughout the day I am able to put great thought into answering. The best thinking comes when one is not in front of paper (this works best for me at least). I have found that despite different circumstances, everyone has a story; it’s a matter of discovering what is yours.
One last tip I have is do try and do as many as you can; once you begin completing a few applications you will notice they will start to ask about the same topic. Rearrange your answers according to the question, and voilà! Keep in mind not to get sloppy with the applications: quality over quantity anytime. Good luck!
UCLA Scholarship Resource Center guides students through the scholarship process. They offer workshops on winning scholarships, finding scholarships, and writing personal statements. It’s great and the resources are there for you, so now there’s no excuse! Also be sure to check out their Facebook page!