Between April and July Central Scholarship sifts through thousands of applications from some of the most hard-working Maryland students. It is a process we love and it involves a very thoughtful, fair, and balanced review. Most people don’t realize this huge undertaking is possible because of a committed group of volunteer application readers and interviewers. They read dozens if not hundreds of applications and it is their time, energy, and dedication that leads us to supporting incredible students.
Carol Oppenheim is one of our volunteers who makes our application process flow smoothly and is a huge help to senior program manager, Angela Harrison. “Carol has been reviewing student applications for years and she is a pro! We have been so lucky to have a group of loyal volunteers who come back year after year and Carol is an invaluable member of this group.”
Recently, Carol shared with us some insight about her experience as a volunteer reader.
Central Scholarship: How did you become involved as a Central Scholarship volunteer?
Carol: My cousin is a member of the board and thought I would enjoy participating in the application process. She asked me if I would like to be a volunteer reader and 5 years later I am still fulfilling that role.
CS: Describe the typical activities involved in your role.
Carol: In my role, I read and evaluate scholarship applications based on a detailed scoring rubric provided by Central Scholarship. Within this process, I have to find ways to fine tune evaluations when I am reading essays among a wide spectrum of candidates.
CS: What is your favorite aspect of being a volunteer application reader?
Carol: I feel like I am making a real contribution to the future. There are many highly qualified students who have a better chance of continuing their education if they can acquire sufficient funding. I also love attending the annual Student Awards Ceremony where we honor all of the scholarship recipients. Being able to see the students in person and learn more about their accomplishments is very inspirational for me.
CS: Has the experience given you a different perspective on higher education? If so, how?
Carol: Many of the applicants are the first in their families to attend college and it’s wonderful that Central Scholarship is helping these students pursue their dreams. I think this chance at higher education is a great way for students to help themselves, their families, and their communities.
CS: What is your advice for a student who wishes to apply for a scholarship?
Carol: I always say put careful thought into your essays and have someone review them before they are submitted. Sometimes another pair of eyes can spot things that you miss when you proofread.
We could not agree more with Carol’s advice and is one of the many, many reasons she is an excellent volunteer! Thank you to Carol, and our entire group of volunteers, who are a cherished part of Central Scholarship’s community.