Congratulations to our first two College Cash scholarship winners, Shira Krawatsky (pictured left) and Maysa Elsheikh (pictured below). Both ladies attended our College Cash seminar in January and wrote essays about what they got out of the free financial literacy seminars. The scholarship announcements for students who attended the June College Cash seminars will be announced in the first week of July. There are three College Cash scholarship winners from our January seminars and three additional College Cash scholarship winners from our June event in Howard County. The next award recipients will be announced in the first week of July (from the Howard County events). The two top grand prize recipients from both January and June events will be announced live at the Student Awards Ceremony on July 18th. These scholarships were made possible through the generosity of Howard County General Hospital. We are also grateful to SECU and BB&T for sponsoring our January and June events this year.
We enjoyed reading through all of the College Cash essays from our January events, but Shira’s and Maysa’s winning essays really shined. Shira Krawatsky wrote,
“College Cash 101 was an eye opener for me in many ways! So many vital points were discussed. It was clear that a lot of effort and planning went into such an informative and invigorating evening! I want to break up my thoughts into 2 parts. First, I would like to discuss what I gained from Mr. Joseph Lorick, the passionate and energetic keynote speaker. Next, I will address my thoughts on Angela and Jen’s enlightening presentation.
Mr. Lorick emphasized words that are essential to my life. I am blessed with a husband and four beautiful children. In our home, I take care of the budget and bill paying. Mr. Lorick’s advice of “protecting your net worth” was vital for me to hear. I am faced with many financial decisions each and every day, ranging from which credit card to pay off first to which child needs a new pair shoes. I am a college student stretching my husband’s teacher salary for a family of 6. It seems “easy” to simply take out student loans so that we can comfortably get through my college years. However, since this lecture I have decided that I will not D.E.B.T. (do everything but think) and will try my best to obtain scholarships, minimize my student loan amount and lessen any superfluous expenses.
Angela and Jen brought a new dimension to the evening. Yes, there were many practical and informative tips that I learned. I now understand the different types of student loans and scholarships. I now know that it is important to reapply each year for scholarships. I left the evening with a wealth of resources and practical information about where to start and how to divide my energy.
Most of all, I felt that I gained from them something that I could not have read somewhere online. The thing that struck me most from Angela and Jen’s presentation was that scholarship companies are looking for a real person. I know who I am – my strengths, my weaknesses, my dreams, my challenges – but you do not! It is my job to help you understand who I am and where I am coming from. Scholarship providers are looking for a star! I was taught how to improve my essays and how to make myself stand out. Getting a great letter of recommendation, making your essay come alive and presenting yourself as a potential winner were all very important suggestions that I took home with me.
The one thing that I think would be worthwhile discussing in the future would be how to figure out your net worth. Perhaps there is some sort of formula or strategy to figure out how much in student loans would be appropriate for the career you are pursuing. Current expenses and debt would be an important thing to consider as well. I am sure this is not an easy thing to describe to a crowd of varying situations, but some sort of guidelines to come up with a general number would be helpful.
Thank you for coordinating this event and for all the noble work that you do day in and day out. I thought twice about coming since the timing was prime “happy hour” in my house – dinner/bath time/bedtime! It was a great evening! I am really glad that I was able to come. I gained more than I expected to and I look forward to working hard at earning scholarships.”
Maysa Elsheikh wrote,
“Attending College Cash 101 was a catalyst for my scholarship application process this year. While a lot of what was covered was information I had heard before it was a really great reminder for me of the process I went through last year that I need to work at again now. In particular, I found the information about the Senatorial scholarships at MHEC helpful because last year I did not pay attention to that until it was too late. After listening in on College Cash 101 I now plan to apply to the Guaranteed Access Grant and possibly more institution grants this year. The emphasis on scholarships that I will be looking for and applying to be will be locality and organizations that have the closest relation to me. This way there are better chances of getting financial aid because the application pool will be smaller. That quick financial aid crash session gave me my to-do list for now and the rest of my undergraduate education.
In addition, advice on naming a price on the future you are willing to pay for and knowing your net worth was really insightful to me. I like the idea of looking at long-term goals so as not to lose sight during the short-term when stress can make a person act irrationally or irresponsibly. Reiterating that college is an investment helped me focus on what is important in college and what I want to get out of it. I absolutely loved that Mr. Joseph Lorick spoke about actually reaching your dream and enjoying it because I feel like it is easy in a fast-paced society in America to live to work rather than work to live. I also appreciated that he said that if we can figure how to manage our budget and finances in college it will be a skill that benefits us for the rest of our lives whether it comes to buying a house or a car, etc. His speech set the stage for my financial blueprint for at least the next few years.
Furthermore, I found the instruction on writing about thoughts and feelings to tell a story through essays very helpful to hear especially from someone who has first-hand experience with reading applications and deciding on them. The refresher on the importance of excellent recommendations brought to light my goal for this semester of building relationships with my professors. From here on I am committed to being a student my professors will remember because it will enhance my learning as well as open up doors of opportunities with that means more college cash or work field experience.
One aspect that I thought could have been improved upon was discussing more of the opportunities for graduate school funding. It makes me really nervous that there are not as many opportunities for graduate school to be funded as there are in undergrad even though furthering education is essential to the workforce nowadays. It would give me a little more hope just to know about some rare programs that would pay for a significant amount of graduate school, specifically law school in my case, so that we can actually live our dreams as Mr. Lorick mentioned.”