Hola, friends. I’m writing today’s post from a hospital waiting room, where my wife is having nose surgery. No, it’s not a nose job — it’s actually surgery to open up her sinuses and hopefully stop her headaches not caused by me. 🙂 Best part of the waiting room? Free wi-fi and bagels. Worst part? “The View” is on the TV, and it’s waaaay too loud.
I was looking through your blog (which I love!) and browsing various scholarship websites and had a question regarding my qualification for scholarships. I am a Media Arts and Design Major and Multicultural Communication Studies Minor at James Madison University and am about to graduate in May of this year with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.
I still have loans I need to pay off and was wondering if there were scholarships available to students of my education level or if they were all for undergraduate students or students pursuing their Masters or Ph. D.
Thanks for your help!
Eh, you’re pretty much out of luck there, Lauren — as far as I know, anyway. Most scholarships are for current or future students, not past students. There are probably some exceptions out there, but not many. My company has given scholarships for 7 years now, and there have been a couple of times where we’ve been so busy that we’ve gotten behind on awarding our scholarships that the winner has actually graduated before we’ve sent them their check — but we still send it. That’s a pretty rare thing, though. Once you’ve graduated, if you want help paying off your college loans, your best option may be a sugar daddy. 🙂
I’ve come to a certain cross roads. I’ve been accepted into UChicago, and sent in my deposit.
Horns up to Rachel! \m/
I recently found out that it’d be extraordinarily simple to send them an email to defer my enrollment to next year. It seems that a lot of colleges really like for students to have the option of taking a gap year.
I haven’t heard much about those, honestly. Go on…
I hadn’t really considered a gap year – I’ve just been pressing on through my academic studies, thinking that college would just be the next step. But my dad is being stationed in Japan next year, giving me an outstanding opportunity to live cheaply in Japan and have opportunities to explore on my own and through the naval base. I could get a job (teaching English? I’m sure there are a ton of things I could do; however, it may be hard to find something with just a high school diploma) and save up money to cover some college expenses.
All this is true, and they all sound like pretty cool experiences that you might not have the opportunity to do again for some time, if ever. And if you do have a chance to do them again, you won’t have nearly the energy and vitality to enjoy them as you do now at 18 (or however old you are). If U-Chicago’s OK with it, I’m OK with it.
My biggest fears include that some of the scholarships I’ve applied for may not be deferrable to next year, and it seems like it may be hard to get scholarships after having taken a gap year.
Hmmm, good point. Of course, sounds like you haven’t actually won them yet. More of a theoretical question thus far. The toughest choice comes, I’m guessing, if you DO win them, and they’re NOT deferrable. Even then, though,
I’m guessing that if you’re enough of a badass to win a bunch of scholarships with your current resume, then you’ll still be enough of a badass to win just as many next year when you come back with an additional strong year of doing interesting and impressive things in a foreign country.
One thing that works for me is actually UChicago’s policy of not taking more than $9,280 in outside scholarship money, so if I have to give up half my scholarships for a year it honestly isn’t an exorbitant amount of money.
Another fear is that maybe I’d be less prepared for college if I wait a year – but, honestly, I have no idea if it’s sane to predict that.
Well, I wouldn’t go questioning your sanity over it, but I definitely think that an a year abroad will leave you even MORE prepared for college, not less. Even a really tough school like Chicago.
What do you think of gap years, in general? It doesn’t seem to be a concept much explored in the USA.
Well, just generally speaking, it depends on who takes the gap years. If you’re a motivated student for whom there is no question that you’re going to get a college education, then I think they’re great.
My friend Counselor Buddy (that’s not her real name:) is a high school counselor who isn’t hugely in favor of them — but I think she’s usually looking at it from the angle of the students who weren’t terribly motivated to attend college in the first place. She mentions that most of the students she sees who decided to “take a year off” before going to college actually never end up going.
I wouldn’t put you in that category, though. You have a really good plan in place, you’re accepted into one of the top 10 schools in the country — you’re going to be fine if you take that year. I’m envious, actually. Now I sorta want to take a year in Japan myself.
I read your site often and I could, well I really need some advice! I have a big decision to make and I haven’t been able to make up my mind. Here is the situation.
DROP IT ON ME, GIRLFRIEND.
I currently go to UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas) , majoring in elementary education and I have a full ride there with Pell Grant and in-state scholarship. However, I have been accepted to my dream school The University of Iowa. Iowa college of education is 5th in the nation and I love the college feel to the school. I love football and unlike UNLV that is a complete commuter school which has no school pride what so ever Iowa has the college feel that I want.
However, I would need to take out a 13,000 private loan per year to go there. My mom is not willing to take out the Parent Plus loan. When I graduate from Iowa and get my teaching license in that state my degree would be accepted in more states than in Nevada. That and if you only go to college once shouldn’t you get the college feeling that you really want? Is it worth it to go into debt for Iowa, or should I just stick it out at UNLV? I need to make my decision by May 8th and I am seriously stressed out.
Hi there, Desiree. Man, this whole free-ride vs. dream school thing keeps coming up and up and up. 🙂 I’m going to refer you to what I’ve said to three other students in similar situations: Alex, Nancy and Elizabeth. Speaking very generally I like free rides because I think that school choice is much less important to your future success than people make it out to be, while at the same time, student loan debt is much MORE significant than people make it out to be.
However, I can’t feel what you feel about Iowa and how much of a dream it truly is for you to go there, so I can’t authoritatively tell you that you must trash the idea of going there. I can only lay out what I see as the facts and comparisons that should govern your decision. Those three posts lay ’em out pretty well, I think (and whatever I missed, the 300+ comments surely adressed).
OK, my wife’s out of surgery and doing well, so I’m off to sit with her while the drugs wear off. Back tomorrow with more viewer mail.
Also, if you’re reading this as someone who’s graduated or will be graduating soon enough that you’re really not applying for any more scholarships, you may be interested in our sister site, GiveMeAResume.com.
It’s basically just like this site, except I talk about fixing up your resumes (instead of essays/applications) so that you can get a job (instead of scholarships).