The hunt for scholarship money

I know that many financial experts say not to waste your time looking for scholarships and sending out scholarship applications all over town. If your child does win one, then the financial aid office at his or her college just subtracts that number from the aid package they already told you were getting.

But something inside me just says – send out as many as we can and hope that someone notices my slightly above-average son who didn’t get involved in many activities in high school. We need all the help we can get financially. Even if it ends up being a $250 scholarship, that could help pay for at least a few books his freshman year.

I’m not looking for that pie-in-the-sky full tuition ride scholarship. That would be nice, but I believe those are only given out to the primo students who can dunk a basketball, throw a football 50 yards or have the potential to find a cure for cancer. I’m not knocking those kids. All the power to them with their skills and brains.

I, on the other hand, gave birth to a child who struggled through elementary and middle school with a few B’s and mostly C’s. As high school started up and now is ending, he has maintained a very respectable B average – no higher and no lower. Many scholarships ask for that 3.0 before they will even consider you as a candidate.

However, in my region of the country, many scholarships created by families of the very rich are given to kids with a deep financial need. That’s our Scott. I figure it can’t hurt us to try. It was just worth the effort to read the wonderful things his teachers wrote in letters of recommendation for some of the scholarships. Some of the deadlines have come and gone with no exceptions to the rule. But many still have an April 1 or May 1 date.

Our school has a nice tradition of inviting parents to an awards ceremony in the first week of May to announce all of the scholarships and awards given to the graduating class. I have my fingers crossed that someone out there will read Scott’s nice essay about growing up with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. The disease did hinder his fine motor skills just as he was learning to write, turn pages on books and use any type of scissors or markers.

The disease went into remission three years after he was diagnosed, and that’s worth all the scholarship money in the world to us. However, it did leave him struggling for years to read and write. He doesn’t remember the pain of this auto-immune disease, but he does remember the struggles of not succeeding in his classes in grade school. We didn’t try to play the sympathy card, but many of these scholarship committees ask about their lives and efforts in all aspects from school to work. Gotta go. We still have dozens more applications to print out and sign.

By Lee


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