Senior Adam Parcel is very active in the scholarship application process. He has already applied for around 24 college scholarships, and has already received one.
“It’s from the Quad City area on youth leadership. It is $250 for the book store, which is not much, but anything helps,” Parcel said.
With the continuing rise of college tuition, including books and laptops, West graduate and current University of Northern Iowa freshman, Addison Flynn received a scholarship to help offset these costs. Her motivation was not based just on tuition cost, but the expensive laptop that came with that price.
“I had to buy a computer, and Macbooks are so expensive!” Flynn said. “That scholarship, all the money went towards a Macbook which is something you definitely need while you are in college, and something you do not really think about, expense wise.”
Flynn received one of three Dwight Persels scholarships because she is the daughter of a Davenport Education Association member. She was awarded a scholarship of $700, based on her high grade point average and her future plans in the education field. The Dwight Persels scholarship was the only one she received last year.
“I would say I looked into it too late,” Flynn said. “I definitely wish I would have applied for more scholarships.”
There are not many listed for sophomores or juniors, but it does not hurt to look earlier. Starting early in the application process gives students better chances for receiving at least one scholarship.
“Students can find scholarships on the West website listed by monthly due dates, then the two big local ones, the Quad City Community Foundation and the Davenport Schools Foundation,” counselor Amy Murphy said. “There is a selector on Career Cruising underneath the financial aid tab at the top as well.”
It helps to communicate with counselors when applying for scholarships. They are there to help students, and are happy to do so.
“I love it. I enjoy being able to watch students afford college, almost like afford their dreams,” Murphy said.
Parcel’s motivation in applying for scholarships is the cost. He hopes to get into Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. The average annual cost to attend Wheaten is $46,310, and after aid, is a total of $25,101.
“There is a lot of stigma about student financial aid and college debt, and I just do not want to be in a lot of debt before I graduate school,” Parcel said. “So, I am just trying to ease the burden on myself and my parents going into college.”
It is also important for students to set themselves apart from other applicants. When students undertake more activities in school or even in their community, they stand out from others when applying.
“Community service-wise, I am very active in my church, and other community organizations as well. I have got a lot of background in just writing essays, so I think that my grades, the involvement, and also my writing skills have all prepared me well for preparing for scholarships,” Parcel said. “Just make sure you’re putting in as many details as you can when you describe yourself to set yourself apart from other applicants.”
It is important for students to always try to the best of their capabilities in school, in hopes of getting the recognition that is earned.
“Apply for as many as you can because they are so easy, most of them, and like when you write an essay, a lot of the essays are asking the same things, so save all of your essays,” Flynn said. “It is so worth it to apply for them. I wish I would have applied for more scholarships.”