Archive for Thursday, April 3, 2008

Work to attain scholarships pays

April 3, 2008

I am the first of my entire family to attend a four year university and to tell the truth I don't know why it's such a big deal. Now, do not get the idea college is anything like high school because it's not, you have to work at everything you do. I'm not telling you this to try and scare you off but just know that college professors expect a lot more out of you than the high school teachers.

Now with that said, if you are planning on attending you should do some research. The thing that helped me the most was asking people who have been to college what to expect and how you should manage the extra amount of work that is expected. One of my best mentors, Bill DeWitt, told me '"College is like an 8 to 5 job, if you spent that time on campus you won't have homework to do." This is partially true and it depends a lot on the major you specify. I am majoring in architectural engineering, which means, on top of the physics and calculus, I have an unlimited number of hours in my architectural studio. Not all majors require this amount of extra work, but I knew what I was getting into so the extra work does not bother me, that much.

Trying to pick the college you want to attend for four years, or in my case five, is very frustrating. I think I had it easy; I have always wanted to go to KU, not only to watch basketball, but to actually go to college. It is 15 minutes away from my hometown and there are scholarship halls that are reasonable to live in. It just worked out that it has one of the best architectural engineering programs in the state and what really sealed the deal was the amount of scholarships I received. I didn't even apply anywhere else, which looking back on it probably wasn't the smartest decision but everything worked for the best. So, I say to you find somewhere you love and has your major and go there.

I know that attending college places a huge financial burden on the student, and the student's family, but to counter this there are scholarships and grants. You have to look for them. Talk to school counselors, organizations in your community, and any organization you are involved with if they offer scholarships. There are also Web sites online that set up a profile for you and any scholarship they receive that is remotely oriented to your interest, they give you the application or link to that Web site.

It may seem like a lot of work to sit down and fill out an application or write a two page essay about your future goals, but next time think about this. The scholarship is worth, let's say, $1,000, you spend three to four hours working on it, how much are you making per hour? More than $250 per hour, I would say that's worth the time because you aren't going to find a job that pays that much. If you can't find enough scholarships and want to avoid loans there are on campus jobs that have extremely flexible hours and some you can even do your homework at. If this still isn't enough I would say to take out some student loans you can delay payments until after graduation, but try to keep them to a minimum because you don't want to be in debt forever after graduation.

I think that anyone who wants to go to college should, but college is not for everyone. You must be prepared to work for your grades and not just expect them. I can almost guarantee your first test will be a shock to you, even if you were a straight A high school student. Be ready to meet a lot of new people from all walks of life and from all over the world. Oh yea, and do not be afraid to have a little fun now and then. I mean that's what college is all about, right?

Eudora High School graduate Michael Whitten is a freshman at Kansas University. He is a recipient of the Hixson Opportunity Award. Christina Hixson, trustee of the Ernst F. Lied Foundation of Las Vegas, established the endowed scholarship through a $5 million gift to KU. Candidates must be graduates of Kansas high schools who, because of personal or financial challenges, might not consider pursuing a college education.

As a recipient of this award, Michael Whitten has been asked to provide a service to his community by writing a letter to his hometown newspaper outlining why the Hixson Opportunity Award and a college education in general will be critical to his future success.

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