Congratulations to Brett Libowitz, our 2014 College Cash Grand Prize Winner and July’s Scholar of the Month! Brett graduated from high school this past spring and he will begin studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Virginia this month. Read his essay below:
The single most important thing I learned at the College Cash 101 event was to advocate for myself. Prior to the seminar, I thought the financial aid and scholarship process was out of my control. I planned to apply for scholarships and aid, submit my paperwork, and let the process take its course. However, the information I received encouraged me to exhort time and effort in order to oversee and manage the process and ultimately make my financial goals a reality.
I discovered that there is scholarship money available that is not advertised, but can be tapped into by reaching out. Since the “Cash 101” seminar, I have contacted the four senators and delegates of the eleventh district to receive scholarship applications and I have begun to apply. In the past, I searched college’s websites for scholarship opportunities, but I learned that there may be more opportunities available if I ask the offices of admissions or contact specific departments.
The meeting highlighted essays as a place to promote myself and explained how to do so. This meeting began to teach me the value of showing rather than telling in personal essays. For example, I was able to replace a statement about my dedication in training for the Baltimore Marathon with recollections of twenty-one mile training runs early on Saturday mornings. In this example, I was able to make a stronger statement about myself by showing my experience rather than merely stating it. This seminar charged me to portray myself in the best light possible in order to achieve my goals in the college application process.
Prior to the session, I believed that the financial package I was dealt was incontestable, but learned that I can go to the financial aid office and request an improved package I feel I deserve. As a result of the information provided, I will potentially take two actions I would not have otherwise. If I truly desire to go to a university but cannot justify the cost as is, I will communicate with the financial aid office seeking money available for prospective students in my situation. Secondly, if I lose need-based aid because I receive private scholarships I will argue to redeem these need based federal funds. I learned that it is worthwhile to make an attempt at requesting changes to my financial aid and grant money.
Central Scholarship’s College Cash 101 event empowered me with the information necessary to put my best foot forward in my ventures to receive financial assistance for my higher education.
Although I found the program to be extremely informative, I would have liked more information on when a more expensive college is worth the cost of attendance. I would have appreciated more coverage on the factors to consider in making a decision like this. I feel a section next year based on when it may be worthwhile to spend more on college would be beneficial, but either way I am grateful for the commitment Central Scholarship makes to those seeking an affordable college experience!
Please join us for upcoming College Cash events throughout the year for opportunities to win scholarships and learn about the financial aid process.