By: Karina Zakarian
As a senior, it has been both exciting and arduous going through the college process, from filling out numerous applications to visiting campuses, auditioning for scholarships, and trying to determine the college or university that most closely reflects personal values and feels like a “second home”. One of the most challenging aspects to college revolves around finances, as quite a few schools have extremely high expenses, including tuition, room and board, as well as textbooks and other academic components. Parents often times have set limits to the amount of money they will provide their seniors for college, which can become a serious issue if those students apply and are accepted into very expensive colleges that they are interested in.
Although this is not always the case and families can try to negotiate with schools to obtain further financial aid -especially in a wealthier, more privileged area like Garnet Valley-, one of the most effective ways in order to get more money to pay for college is through scholarships. Colleges all across the United States have varieties of scholarships, ranging from merit scholarships to talent scholarships to community service scholarships. Often times, these scholarships require an application to be filled out, and particularly with performing arts scholarships, students have to go back to the schools and audition in order to become a finalist and/or recipient of those specific talent scholarships; for instance, I have had to return to a couple of colleges in order to audition for dance scholarships. Sometimes with merit scholarships, certain schools in their applications on Common App, Coalition App, or another online program will automatically consider students for scholarship as long as they meet certain academic requirements.
In addition to the various scholarships that colleges offer, Garnet Valley High School and the surrounding township also offer an array of scholarships. Specifically, GV college and career specialist Mr. Salladino continuously sends out information to the senior class each year regarding various scholarships they can apply for. Recently, Mr. Salladino sent out an email to seniors highlighting some of the scholarships that students can apply for, including the GVHS Quarter Note Scholarship, the Leadership Service Spirit Award, the Sharon Bitzer Schreiber Memorial Scholarship, and the Vanessa Stroup Scholarship. Most of these scholarships are more merit-based; some of them are more restrictive towards those living in Garnet Valley, as they indicate that in order to apply one is in financial need.
Overall, scholarships are a large part of the college process and can make tremendous differences in the amount of money that students and parents have to pay in the end. Whether students receive a few large scholarships or apply for and receive many smaller scholarships, these financial helpers will build upon one another and make college payments much more manageable by the time students choose the colleges they wish to attend.