Tide guide to navigating scholarships – The Tide

Organizations offered various scholarships prior to the end of 2022 for high school students including the MIT THINK Out Of The Box Scholars Program, the JFK Profile In Courage, the Gen and Kelly Tanabe, Home Depot Foundation’s Path to Pro and the Taco Bell Live Más. 

Scholarship opportunities are abundant and new ones are constantly being introduced through various methods. 

 “[Scholarships] give access to money that students may not have access to. There’s so much money out there in regard to education,” College and Career Coordinator Ms. Beryllynn Jeanpierre said. “There are private scholarships, scholarships able to be accessed directly through different colleges, as well as merit and financial based scholarships.” 

One opportunity that closed Jan. 1, 2023 is The MIT Think Out Of The Box Scholars Program. 

Organized by a group of undergraduates at MIT, the THINK program is open to all high school students interested in creating a proposal in science, technology or engineering fields. At the conclusion of the contest, the selected finalist will receive weekly mentorship meetings, up to $1,000 in funding for their project, and potentially an invitation to a four-day all-expenses paid trip to MIT’s campus. 

Certain attributes can make students strong candidates for the Gen and Tanabe Scholarship. Named after Gen and Kelly Tanabe, best-selling authors on education, the Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship is open to all high schoolers. This fall merit-based scholarship program closed on Dec. 31, 2022 and offered up to $1,000 in funding to students.

“Highlight places where you have shown leadership in the community. [This could be] students that are leading clubs, students that are doing community service or students that are passionate about what they believe in and are showing extra effort to make those changes in the world,” Ms. Jeanpierre said. 

If you are a Junior who took the PSAT, you completed the first steps in a scholarship perhaps without even realizing it. 

 “After juniors take the PSAT, the top one percent of scores in each state get chosen as semi-finalists into the National Merit finalist program. After you’re chosen, you submit an application to become a finalist,” senior and semi-finalist of the National Merit Scholarship Paris Ye said. “[Finalists] have opportunities to get scholarships from corporations, and some schools will automatically give [them] money as a National Merit finalist.” 

Ye submitted a finalist application in September and is awaiting results, and overall she thinks scholarships are great. 

“College is extremely expensive and is honestly unaffordable to the majority of the population, especially if you are trying to go out of state or to a private college,” Ye said. “I think [applying to scholarships] is worth it, to at least try.” 

One scholarship to be considered for relieving the financial burden for college is the  JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest. 

This contest challenges students to write an essay that analyzes an act of political courage from a U.S. elected official that served during or after John F. Kennedy’s birth year of 1917. The contest had a deadline of Jan. 13, 2023. 

Similar to many other scholarships, the JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest is open to all grade levels. However, many underclassmen have yet to take advantage of these opportunities. 

“I don’t think that many people in my grade have applied to [scholarships] yet,” freshman Erica Heredia said. 

According to Ye, the lack of students applying for scholarships may be due to the lack of knowledge regarding scholarships. 

“It is very confusing because there is no one taking you through the path or teaching you how to apply.  There is no introduction to scholarships,” Ye said. “I think we could be taught about them earlier so we can start applying to them earlier.” 

If the MIT, Gen and Tanabe, or the JFK Scholarships are not of interest to you, there are so many more out there to consider. RM has participated in multiple scholarship opportunities to keep an eye for this or next school year.

 “Some of the ones that [RM] did this year are the Davidson scholarship,  Park Scholars, Jefferson Scholars, and the United States Senate Youth Program, “ Ms. Jeanpierre said. “One of the best resources to find scholarships would be on the College and Career website.” 

According to Ye, scholarships are helpful, but finding them can be difficult, time-consuming and not always fair: much like the college application process.

“Pursue scholarships that are for you and try to find as many as possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s always equal for everybody. Some people do not have the resources to find these scholarships,” Ye said. “Overall, it’s better to start on [scholarship applications] early because  by senior year you have so many other responsibilities. Acknowledge the privilege you have because not everyone has these same opportunities.

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