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Tips On Your Scholarship Application

Tips On Your Scholarship Application

Posted: 03.24.21

It’s that time of the year again and excited current and future college students are applying for scholarships. Here at Central Scholarship we know the process might seem intimidating at times, but we are here to help. Below are some tips on preparing a great application and we hope to be reading yours soon!

Don’t hold back!

Tell us why you deserve a Central Scholarship award! The members of our selection committee want to know all about what makes you unique, what you have to offer, and how your ambitions will be enhanced by education.

Your essay speaks volumes.

We know not all students are writers, so we’re not expecting a professional dissertation, but if you take the time to write a thoughtful, cohesive essay, it can certainly boost your scholarship chances. Use this opportunity to talk about events and experiences that aren’t mentioned in the regular application. Tell us WHY you’ve done the things you’ve done. We love specific examples. Don’t forget to showcase your motivations and goals!

Tips for the reapplicant.

We want recipients to be participants, not observers. Students who are responsive, who answer emails and phone calls, and come to Central Scholarship events, always stand out. We also look for students to demonstrate growth, whether by success in their academic work or by giving back to individuals or the larger community.

Avoid common mistakes.

It sounds so simple, but the biggest mistake applicants make is not completing the application! Every year we get partial applications from students who would be excellent candidates, but since the application isn’t complete, we can’t consider them. Once the application is complete, check that it is accurate before you submit it. Read the questions and instructions carefully. Our awards are based on the program you will be enrolled in for the current academic year, but every year we have undergraduate freshmen tell us they’re pursuing a master’s degree because they hope to attend graduate school in four years—and they can end up missing out on opportunities because of it.

We’ll let you know when we’ve received everything.

We will send you an email confirming that your application has been received. If you do not receive this email, the application was probably not submitted correctly. We prefer that supporting materials be submitted electronically. Directions are included in the application. Unless specifically directed to do so, please do not mail materials to Central Scholarship. These materials will not be processed, and your application will be incomplete.

Notifications and Follow-up

If you’re selected as a semi-finalist, we’ll contact you by email and ask you to submit a few additional documents, such as transcripts, family tax returns, and the cost of attendance and financial aid information of your school. Then, if you’re selected as a finalist, we may ask you to come to our offices for an interview. Final awards are also announced by email.

If you have any additional questions or need any more information feel free to check out our eligibility page. We look forward to hearing from you!


Blazing a New Path

Posted: 03.11.21

Aaron is originally from Prince George’s County Maryland and a Bishop McNamara High School graduate who had his sights set on a career in medicine. This past year he became a Central Scholarship recipient when he received the Isaac and Catherine Hecht Scholarship fund award to support his doctorate studies in Nurse Anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins University. He told us, “The generous contribution from Central Scholarship helped me pursue my dreams of being an anesthesia provider by alleviating some of my financial burdens and allowing me more time to focus on studying.”

We recently caught up with Aaron to see how his year was going.

What is your favorite part about being in school?

One of my favorite parts of school is the camaraderie between the classmates who share the same academic journey.  My program is three years long. Simply put, it is a marathon, not a sprint. During school, you meet new people from various backgrounds who happen to share the same career path. There is a sense of solidarity when 20 students partake in the same rigorous educational quest.  We support each other through the challenge and, in many cases, form long term friendships. Despite continuous reading, all-night study sessions, and sleep deprivation that can accompany anesthesia programs, I find it essential to cherish the journey because it is an opportunity many do not have.

What is the biggest challenge you have experienced at school, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge as a student throughout the years has been organization and planning.  During my undergraduate studies, I noticed this was an area I could improve.  Before starting graduate school, I made this a top priority.  I was able to overcome this with the aid of technology advancement and application development over the years. Today, applications allow me to create a schedule, set alerts, and prioritize using my phone, tablet, or laptop. It also makes for a paperless school experience, which fits my learning preference. I was never a fan of printing lectures and carrying binders. I was surprised but pleased to see how much the student experience had changed since I graduated from nursing school seven years ago.

How has life changed for you during the COVID-19 outbreak personally and academically?

Personally, COVID-19 has hindered me from attending events and socializing outside the home but has led to spending more time with close family members, which I have enjoyed.

Academically, the anesthesia program’s first year is designed to be 95% online, with 5% on-campus immersions for one of our courses. This immersion was changed to online due to the pandemic, which had its advantages and disadvantages. Being able to attend class in your own home is convenient, but virtual simulations have their limitations. Fortunately, this course was not an anesthesia course. In May 2021, we are expected to be on campus for course work and clinical residency until completing the program in 2023.

Do you have any advice for students who are about to start their higher education career?

Financially, I would advise students to search diligently for scholarship and grant opportunities. There are many organizations such as central scholarship and others committed to helping students achieve fulfilling careers by providing support.

Academically, I would certainly recommend investing in a tablet to go paperless. The convenience of having all your course-related content, lectures, planner, schedule in one place is a huge benefit.

Mentally, I would advise students to take personal days to avoid burn out. Personally, after every exam, I take the day off to recharge, which gives my mind a break. As I said, school is a marathon, not a sprint and mental well-being gets you to the finish line.

 What do you have planned for the future?

After graduation, I look forward to positively impacting others’ lives by practicing in a hospital system that sees a diverse surgical population. I also intend to engage in research to improve health-related outcomes and advocate for the profession to increase access to high-quality and cost-efficient anesthesia providers.

Given the overwhelming underrepresentation of minorities in nurse anesthesia, I am compelled to contribute to the profession’s further diversification. Although awareness has improved over the years, there are still obscurities amongst non-healthcare professionals. Personally, the majority of people in the community I am from are unfamiliar with nurse anesthesia.  In fact, in the community where I am from, there is an obsolete outlook that nursing is feminine and inferior to medicine. I was often looked down upon for entering what my peers deemed an “unworthy profession” for men. I believe such misconceptions are the reasons why black males make up such a small percentage of the nursing demographic. However, I have never been one to follow the crowd but to lead it. Members of my community are missing opportunities due to this parochial view, and I intend to rectify this to improve diversity in the nursing profession.

We’re thankful to have the opportunity to catch up with Aaron  and see how Central Scholarship is able to help in his educational journey. Learn how you can make a difference and help other students remove financial barriers and build bright futures with higher education.

saving money

Finding Financial Aid Resources Through College Cash

Posted: 02.24.21

For students and parents, this time of year can be stressful as you think of ways to pay for college and what financial aid resources are available. At Central Scholarship we offer a free informational seminar called College Cash. The seminar is focused on college affordability and financial aid. College Cash helps not only Maryland students but aims to help educate parents about the financial aid process.

According to Sallie Mae COVID-19 hasn’t stopped students from moving forward with higher education but fewer families are completing the FAFSA which means money and resources are being overlooked. We understand finding financial aid can be intimidating but with our free seminar, students, and their families will learn how to navigate the process smoother by:

  • Learning how to maximize federal financial aid
  • Understanding student loans
  • Standing out from the crowd through a scholarship essay
  • Avoiding scholarship award displacement

For students who have not completed their FAFSA but want to continue their higher-level education, submissions, and financial aid decisions are made on a continuous rolling basis. So, it’s not too late to apply.

For students and parents interested in College Cash, the 2021 seminar dates will be posted soon and in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are happy to discuss virtual options as well. Please contact Michele Waxman Johnson, Vice President at 410-415-5558 or send Michele an email to schedule a session.

From Nepal to Future Doctor

Posted: 01.26.21

Namrata was born in a refugee camp in Nepal, where since the age of about seven she dreamed of becoming a doctor. At the young age of nine, Namrata and her family came to the United States, where she focused on carving out a path to achieve big, bold goals. Her studies were enhanced when she enrolled in a biomedical sciences magnet program which familiarized herself with medical terminologies, career options, and skills. Namrata’s hard work and dedication not only lead her to become a volunteer as a research assistant in the Hunterian Neurosurgical Laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but also a Central Scholarship recipient.

This past academic year, Namrata became the second recipient of the Kevin Kamenetz Scholarship Fund and is a freshman studying biology at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. She told us, “Prior to receiving my Kevin Kamenetz award from Central Scholarship, it was a very difficult time for me. I glazed at my financial letter for a while and was worried about being in financial debt. I knew taking out loans at this age was the last option for me. After receiving the award announcement, I realized that I didn’t need to worry about taking out loans.”

Namrata embodies what it means to be a Central Scholarship scholar. We took some in between her fall and spring semester to see how things were going.

What is your favorite part about being in school?

The best part about school is that it drives my curiosity. The more I learn, the more my curiosity rises. Then, I understand that our true passion derives from curiosity. School teaches me to be ready for the “real” world. The lessons, skills, and philosophies all sum up to help me understand my purpose and work towards my dreams.

What is the biggest challenge you have experienced at school and how did you overcome it?

I started high school as a timid student and used to be afraid of asking questions. My lab experience changed this for the better. As a high school student, I looked forward to learning new things in the lab through observation and practice. At the end of brief explanations, my teachers always asked, “any questions?” I always had questions and learned that the more you seek for answers, the better you learn. By overcoming this challenge, I was able to find myself, my potential leadership qualities, and passion. I know that if I had not asked questions, my skills would not have grown as much.

How has life changed for you during the COVID-19 outbreak personally and academically?

The COVID-19 outbreak brought many changes to my life, especially my plans. My plan was to volunteer until I graduated from high school, but I had to stop in March due to policy changes. I also had to take remote classes during the fall semester. Personally, it has been a very stressful period, but I have learned a few things. First, I learned that anything can happen unexpectedly in life and it is up to us how we react to situations and handle them. Second, I learned time management is very important and even though it has almost been a year since the pandemic, I could make decisions on how to utilize my time.

Do you have any advice for students who are about to start their higher education career?

One of the biggest lessons I learned in school is to ask for help when necessary. It is not very easy for some students to advocate for themselves, but learning to do so will only be helpful for you!

What do you have planned for the future?

I have wanted to be a doctor since I was very young and although it seemed to be a difficult dream in Nepal, I always knew it was possible. When I came to the United States, new opportunities began to open-up, but it was a personal tragedy that had a huge impact. During my second year of biomedical sciences course, my grandmother passed away from gallbladder cancer. One thing I understood was that if we had better healthcare, she would have had a better prognosis and treatment. Having the experience of losing a family member to cancer made me realize that I want to become a surgical oncologist. I know that my purpose is to help people battle cancer.

We’re thankful to have the opportunity to catch up with Namrata and see how Central Scholarship is able to help in her educational journey. Learn how you can make a difference and help other students remove financial barriers and build bright futures with higher education.

CS receives contribution from Kamenetz Committee

Posted: 06.14.18

Central Scholarship is honored to receive a contribution from the Committee for Kamenetz in honor of the lifetime work of Kevin Kamenetz. We are grateful to have the opportunity to fulfill Kevin’s commitment to education.

Meet Nikki McNeil – March 2017 Scholar of the Month

Posted: 02.08.17

Nikki McNeil is just months away from completing a Master’s program in Social Work at University of Maryland, Baltimore after receiving scholarship assistance from Central Scholarship.

Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Foundation Scholars Grant Recipient Nikki McNeil working with the Latino community in East Baltimore Since 2015, Nikki has paired her ongoing education with firsthand work experience throughout Baltimore and in Chile. In her current internship at the Southeast Community Development Corporation, she is working as a community organizer in a community that is 70% Latino. In her time with Southeast CDC, Nikki has referred homebuyers to mortgage plans, assisted the neighborhood association with community events including clean-ups, planned a six-week health-themed after-school program for students and parents, and received funding for a community vegetable garden allowing Ecuadorian families to share their farming experience with other residents. Her ongoing course studies include gentrification, racism, organizational research, fundraising, as well as preparation for licensing exams.

Nikki is the recipient of Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Foundation Scholars Grant at Central Scholarship. The fund helps students in Master’s program in the social work or mental health fields, pursuing a career as a bilingual specialist in those fields.

After graduation this Spring, Nikki hopes to work as a case manager for Spanish-speaking adults, eventually attaining a leadership role in support of Latin American immigrants.

In her own words: “Each and every day, the most I can be proud of is taking the next step, as long as it is the biggest and boldest step within my reach. A Baltimore pastor decided to take the next step and teach a college student about the history of his city, a homeless advocate took the next step to invite me to hand out coffee at downtown encampments, and victims of a Chilean fire took the next step to reach out to an American girl at their shelter. What these individuals gave to me through their wisdom and experiences, and what I gain through my education, I intend to invest fully at every step along my journey.”

William and Richard Shock Scholarship Recipient Peggy Houng

Peggy, Harpist

Posted: 10.26.16

Peggy Houng has been playing instruments from the time she was in kindergarten. She matriculated with a dual Bachelor’s in Cognitive Science and Harp Performance from Johns Hopkins University in 2014 and continued on to Indiana University where she is in the second year of a Master of Music degree in Harp Performance. Peggy has had the opportunity to travel to different countries to compete in harp competitions and tour with an orchestra. She performed in Asia during a three-week tour and she has taught children and organized recitals in her spare time.

Peggy hopes to ultimately continue her studies at the doctorate level, start a private harp studio, and obtain a teaching position at a university. She writes that she “could not imagine a life without music” because it “inspires her every day.” Peggy was recently featured in a Baltimore Sun article and video report about musicians who bring joy to residents at a senior home. Central Scholarship was proud to award Peggy with a scholarship from the William and Richard Shock Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Hal Cohen Scholarship Recipient Shana Dell

Shanna, Nurse & Advocate

Posted: 09.15.16

Shanna Dell is close to finishing her Master’s in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For three years, she has worked as a nurse case manager at a clinic in East Baltimore in order to supplement tuition costs. She hopes to use her Master’s degree to prevent the spread of infection, decrease complications from chronic disease, and allow for greater health care access to all who need it in the community. Shanna also works with the Center for Disease Control through their partnership with the Baltimore City Health Department to increase the uptake of pre-exposure prophylactics in high-risk communities. Her role involves coordinating with clinics and the health department to decrease the spread of HIV.

Shanna received the Hal Cohen Endowed Scholarship at Central Scholarship. Carefirst established the fund to honor the incredible legacy of Dr. Cohen, renowned health care economist. The fund helps students pursuing undergraduate or masters degrees in healthcare policy, healthcare financing or economics.

In her free time, Shanna volunteers with Moveable Feast, a non-profit organization in Baltimore that delivers nutritious meals to people living with HIV and other life-threatening diseases. She participates in a 140-mile bike ride every year to help raise money for the cause.

Congrats, Keia

Posted: 08.15.16

Congratulations to August’s Grand Prize College Cash® winner, Keia McDaniel. Keia attended the “Finding Money for College” session in the winter at the University of Baltimore. As the first in her family to attend college, Keia is determined to move forward with her dream of a degree despite financial obstacles. She sought out “Finding Money for College” as a tool to help her reach her goal – and she was rewarded.  Keia’s winning essay is featured below:

Attending Central Scholarship’s seminar was both eye opening and worthwhile. As a senior at the University of Baltimore, I did not think that this seminar would offer me any information that I did not already know about. To my surprise, my assumption was wrong. As the first in my family to attend college, I have had to learn a lot of lessons about funding my education the hard way. I did not have anyone to walk me through all the details of how to fund my education without incurring debt.

The hosts of the event, Angela and Jennifer, did an exceptional job explaining all of the different resources that were out there. Some of these resources were familiar to me, but there were many resources that they mentioned that I had no idea existed. There were several “ah ha” moments that made me reflect on my current situation and how I will apply this knowledge to fund the remainder of my education.

I gained some valuable knowledge about how student loans worked. For instance, I had never really understood the difference between the subsidized and unsubsidized loan. Jennifer explained the difference to us using an analogy. She explained that the same way substitute teachers fill in for a teacher, the federal government fills in for us to pay the interest on our subsidized loans while we are attending school. On the other hand, Jennifer explained that we would be responsible for the interest with the unsubsidized loan. This interest can be paid while still attending school or after your education is complete. Waiting until after your education is complete comes with consequences because the interest on unsubsidized loans will continue to accrue. This made me realize that I should have taken the time to fully understand all of the consequences of taking out student loans much sooner.

Over the past year, I had to increasingly rely on student loans to attend school because I did not have any other funds available to me. This made sense to me when Angela showed us some alarming statistics. What stuck out to me was that over sixty percent of students who attend school for four years or more struggle to find funding. It was like she was talking right to me. She explained that schools will reserve certain funds to attract incoming students. It changed the way that I approach funding my education. For example, I was still faced with a small bill to pay my school at the end of my fall 2015 semester. After speaking with several people in my financial aid office informing them that I was aware of some of these practices to withhold funds to attract new students, I was able to get a grant to cover the remainder of my fall bill. I am grateful for having the opportunity to have attended this event.

Although my undergraduate education is almost complete; I can still apply a lot of the information that I received at this seminar to my future educational endeavors. Attending this seminar really showed me that I did not need to rely so heavily of student loans to fund my education. I could have left the seminar feeling sorry about incurring so much student debt and not putting in the effort needed to look for suitable funding or more affordable educational options. However, I left this seminar feeling empowered because I now have some knowledge that will guide me in my future educational decisions.

‘Parent’s Guide to Finding and Funding College’ Aug 31

Posted: 08.12.16

Central Scholarship will host a free and open to the community College Cash® seminar for parents of high school students on August 31st.  Please join us at the Hotel at Arundel Preserve for a seminar about navigating the college search and how financial aid works. Whether parents attended college or not, they want to help their children get into great schools and afford higher education. Due to rapidly rising tuition costs and financial aid changes, parents have to educate themselves in order to help their children.

This free seminar is specifically geared toward parents helping students through the process of finding and funding college. Register to attend.