Athens faces strong year for scholarships, multiple students win financial aid

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Photos by Liza Medlin

Athens Students take advantage of scholarship opportunities. Students have applied and done the work to win many scholarships to aid them financially in the future.

The hallways are thick with tension of final exams, the upcoming end of another school year, and seniors graduating– and with that comes college expenses. All of these end-of-year blues are being faced by most of the student body, but some of these can be avoided, specifically the cost of college. The question is, how?

What is a scholarship?

College and future opportunities are heavy in the minds of many students, especially the cost, but there is a way around this. Scholarship opportunities can make or break a student’s ability to go to a college or university they are interested in. A scholarship could cover tuition, college supplies like laptops and books, and can even cover room and board.

There are a few ways that a student is able to earn a scholarship. If a student wants a scholarship, they must seek it out and apply to be considered. Students should also try to look for, and apply for scholarships early, (although, a student cannot apply for scholarships until FAFSA is complete, which doesn’t open until fall senior year,) as there are many scholarships that a single student can take advantage of and receive. 

How can a student obtain a scholarship?

A student is able to obtain a scholarship through merit or need. A merit-based scholarship is purely awarded to students that have achieved certain standards of academic rigor or accomplished things during high school. Scholarships may also be awarded for athletics, good grades, or based on a family’s financial need.

“At Athens, we post all scholarship opportunities we know of on our website under ‘Scholarship Bulletin’. This list is not exhaustive, so students should also look in other places for Scholarships. You can use CFNC, BigFuture, Scholly, and Going Merry, which are all great search tools.” said the Dean of Students, Jasmine Pearson.

Universities are prone to giving school-specific scholarships that students can look for and apply to. A quick google search for scholarships can also be very helpful when exploring scholarship opportunities.

Some of our many scholarship recipients

There are many students who have already received a scholarship, such as Siri Mudunuri who has been selected as a Park Scholar. The North Carolina State University Park Scholarship is a very prestigious scholarship that provides a four-year scholarship to NC State University awarded on the basis of outstanding accomplishments and potential in scholarship, leadership, service, and character. There are many different processes that students go through while applying and working through getting scholarships. Mundunuri showcases her talent and involvement both in and out of school to show her commitment and how she represents the scholarship’s values. Mundunuri makes sure to show off her talents and extracurricular activities for the college as well.

“I just made sure to give my best and showcase my involvement both in and out of school and how they aligned with the scholarship’s values. I also showcased my passions and what I hope to pursue in the future,” said Mundunuri.

Scholarships can also be for other opportunities that a student may be offered, such as camps. Brady Jones, a sophomore, got a scholarship for the  NC State Design or Engineering Camp by participating in the ACE Mentorship Program. The Program selects students that show good initiative, quality work, and promise in the design/engineering fields. A handful of Jones’ upperclassmen who represented these attributes received Scholarships for colleges as well. 

There are many ways to get involved with scholarships, but a student must remember to work hard and show off the effort to catch the attention of the scholarship committees, as well as be a good role model for future students. A college is looking for students who represent them well.

Whether that is through programs like ACE Mentorship or internships, showing good character and passion will give you experience and opportunities like a scholarship,” said Jones.