Senior Year Saturday: ‘Tis The Season Of Scholarships

senior year saturdayWelcome to Senior Year Saturday, my newest regular feature! Essentially, I talk about any and all things related to my final year of high school, from homework and extracurriculars to updates on college planning and thoughts on graduation. And more! (Such as that dreaded feeling known as “senioritis.”) Enjoy!

Wow, I haven’t done one of these posts in a long time… the most recent Senior Year Saturday post was published in late October! I do intend to write posts like this more consistently and frequently, though. Especially since I recently realized that although my senior year is past the halfway point, I’ve only posted three SYS posts! (Previous SYS posts may be found here, if you’re interested.)

Anyway. Today I’m going to talk about SCHOLARSHIPS! Also known as “those awesome thingies that help tiny students named Engie to pay for college.”

For obvious reasons, I’m not going to mention my family’s financial situation because, well, that’s very personal! But I AM going to provide you with a few details about the cost of undergraduate tuition at my future college, the University of Iowa… because anyone with access to a computer can google that in about two seconds, right?!

Estimated annual cost of attendance: $41,000

What does this “estimated annual cost include”? Excellent question! It includes tuition, housing, meals, books, and transportation, plus an addition fifteen hundred dollars for miscellaneous personal expenses. (New clothes, books for recreational reading, a pizza to share with friends, et cetera.)

Wow, Engie. That’s a lot of money! So… how much will it cost to finish college?! Approximately $164,000.

That is a lot of money. That is a scarily huge sum. Yes, it would’ve been cheaper to attend an in-state school, but I think I’ll receive a much better education at the U of Iowa. (I’m double-majoring in Creative Writing and Journalism, and their Iowa Writers Program is PHENOMENALIowa City, IA, is one of UNESCO’s eleven Cities of Literature, and the only one located in the United States. Can you tell that I’m super excited to go there?!)

Additionally, the U of Iowa wasn’t even the most expensive college I considered. Columbia University (in New York City, NY) costs around $63,000 per year. Their tuition ALONE costs $50K. That’s just… gah. No.

So yes, $41,000 IS a lot of money, but whenever I feel overwhelmed I just think about how expensive other colleges are and that helps to keep things in perspective.

Anyway. My point is: COLLEGE COSTS A LOT OF MONEY, and scholarships are so very very helpful. Let me tell you about some of the scholarships I’ve been applying to!

I’ve already won two scholarships from the U of Iowa itself and, funnily enough, I didn’t have to apply for them at all! I was selected automatically based on my high GPA and excellent scores on the SAT and ACT. (So keep studying, people! Trust me, eventually it will literally pay off.) As long as I keep my grades up in college, I will receive around $5K per year from each scholarship, so right away that’s $40,000 total. I WAS REALLY SURPRISED.

I’ve also applied for the college’s Presidential Scholarship. I’m SUPER nervous about this one – winners are given $10,000 per year, but only twenty winners are selected! I probably won’t get this scholarship, but I had to TRY, right?! If I gave up then there’d be no chance of my winning it at all.

A few days ago I applied for a state 4-H scholarship and BOY, DID THAT INVOLVE A LOT OF WRITING. I actually had to use the smallest font size permitted (10-point) because I wrote sooooo much.

I plan to apply for some local 4-H scholarships as well, as soon as the application forms are made available.

I’m currently working on three applications (and their accompanying essays, naturally). One of the scholarships is for writers at the U of Iowa. Another is sponsored by the local electric company and oh my god the essay prompt is soooo boring. But I am determined to slog my way through it.

The third thing I’m applying to right now is a Point Scholarship, for LGBTQ+ students. I only just started working on it because A) I couldn’t access the website for aaaaaaaages and B) I thought the deadline was already past. Anyway, turns out it’s due on the twentieth and now I’m writing furiously.

(Seriously, though, if you’re an LGBTQ+ high school senior, you should probably at least try to apply. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person who leaves things until the last possible minute, but the demographics/school info section takes no more than an hour to fill out, and the essay has a limit of five hundred words: “How has your work contributed to bringing about positive change for LGBTQ+ people?” So I’m talking about, you guessed it, my writing.)

Additionally, I hope to apply for a PFLAG scholarship sometime soon! (This one’s for LGBTQ+ students as well.) Their application period doesn’t begin until mid-February, which is THE MOST DELIGHTFUL THING EVER. Seriously. Far-off deadlines are even better than chocolate!

Aaaaand after that? Well, we’ll just have to see. Getting accepted to college was actually very easy and quick for me – now it’s just up to me to apply for scholarships that’ll help me out! I still find the cost of college a bit scary, but I’ll get over it. A thousand dollars here, a few hundred there… it adds up over time, and it all helps. I CAN DO THIS THING. I WILL DO THIS THING.

I will not, however, ever stop resenting dull essay questions. Gah. (I never feel like myself in those essays, either; my writing style feels too stiff and formal but I know I shouldn’t be too casual, either.)

If you’re in college (or have already graduated!), did you apply for any scholarships? Did you answer any really weird essay questions? I’d love to know!

P.S. If you’re not even close to attending college yet, don’t feel left out! I’ll think of a question for you… um. If you could invent any college major, what would it be, and why?! (You can answer this if you’re in/out of college, too.)


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Homeschooling, LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Senior Year Saturday: ‘Tis The Season Of Scholarships

  1. orphu44 says:

    I was so terrible with scholarships. I built up a nice little list of ones to apply for, with their deadlines and essays and everything, and then only applied for like two because I was so daunted by the prospect of talking about myself as though I’m a worthwhile investment for anyone/anything. One of them required a short story told from the point of view of a piece of farming equipment, though.
    Good luck with your scholarship applications!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Pffft, but you’re awesome! Don’t be afraid to be like “I am Pilku and I’m AWESOME!” 😛
      Ehehe, that sounds… unusual! So what kind of farming equipment did you write about?
      Thank you!

  2. Awesome post. College really is expensive! I would invent… actually, I don’t know. A Hogwarts major? Possibly. Not sure if that counts. 🙂

  3. F says:

    GAH, I can’t imagine the terror of having to come up with so much money for college! I realise we’re ridiculously privileged in Europe because the state gives less well-off students grants toward their living expenses, and waives the tuition fees. You don’t have to write an essay or contribute to society in anyway, you just have to send off documents proving that your family did not earn more than a certain amount last year. I admire your determination to go to college, even if the fees are so insane!

    If I could invent a major, it would be Popular Culture, because then I could use Buzzfeed as a textbook.

    Well, good luck with all those scholarships 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yep, here that’s called financial aid. That doesn’t require essays or anything – you just provide info about your family’s income and then they figure out how much money they’ll provide. It’s separate from scholarships.
      Ehehe, that sounds like an AWESOME major. 🙂
      Thank you!

  4. The Lovely Llama says:

    I’m not in college, but my older sister is applying to them now, and she’s applying to a bunch of scholarships, I think- mostly Sciencey ones? but also some on the basis of her being Latina and Jewish, I think.
    Apparently there’s even one for LEFT-HANDED people, although I don’t know how good it is…

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ooh, what’s her major and college? 🙂
      Yeah, there is! And there’s one for left-handed lesbians, too, which made me crack up and then pout because I’m right-handed. (Also, this is completely useless knowledge, but apparently queer people are soooooo much more likely to be left-handed? I AM THE WEIRD LITTLE MINORITY WITHIN A MINORITY. xD)

  5. Although I’m nowhere near going to college, I have been interested in the one you’re going to because of the writing program! It’s a little far away [actually a lot] from home, but that’s okay. 🙂 I have a while to decide, too.
    Do your parents have to have a certain income to receive scholarships, or can anybody apply? Just wondering, and if you could answer that’d be great.
    A major? Ummmm….Unlimited NaNoWriMo! Each month you do your own NaNo, and to pass you have to have a novel for each month of a minimum if 50k. 😀 And you can drop other work too. That would be amazing, I think. I like Evi’s idea of a Hogwarts major, too.

    • nevillegirl says:

      It’s a really good program. 🙂
      Oh, that’s separate from scholarships. I think you’re thinking of financial aid, which isn’t tied to any essay-writing or anything. But yes, the less money a student/their family has, the more financial aid is provided.


  6. Taylor Lynn says:

    Yes, college IS expensive! I understand why yours overwhelms you, but GOOD FOR YOU for winning those two scholarships already! That takes off, like, a year’s worth of expenses, which should totally help make a dent in the cost of attendance. 🙂 Congratulations! And I hope you have a blast at U of Iowa! (Have you applied/been accepted yet?)

    I’ve been thinking about college a lot lately, too–my first semester starts NEXT WEEK, eek!–and so of course, I’ve also been thinking about scholarships, because I don’t have a college fund and I don’t want to take out any loans if I can help it. I already won several scholarships last year–a few smaller local ones, and a bigger one from Penguin publishing house, which was awesome and exciting (and I got to talk to an author on the phone, too!). And of course, money to help put a dent in the cost of tuition and fees and textbooks, which is fantastic! I’ll probably eventually apply for financial aid, too, but I’m starting off at a very affordable community college, so I don’t want to use up my available financial aid until I have more need for it.

    Anyway, though–best of luck to you with your scholarship applications and your senior year! These scholarships sound great–here’s to winning a bunch of money for higher education, haha!

    • nevillegirl says:

      I know, right?! Aaaaand if I win a Presidential Scholarship that’s another year of tuition crossed off… I doubt I’ll win it, but it’s worth a try.
      Yeah, I applied and was accepted way back in July. It was my top-choice school, so I applied as soon as possible and actually didn’t bother applying to any of the other schools I’d considered (as 2nd, 3rd, etc choices) because I got in right away. 🙂

      That sounds like a smart plan! 🙂 Ooh, what author did you talk to?! I had no idea that publishing houses gave out scholarships? Is it tied to any sort of employment afterwards – like, “We’ll pay for this but you have to work for us later?” Because I’ve heard of a few like that.

      Thank you, and good luck to you as well! 😀

      • Taylor Lynn says:

        Hey, it’s always worth a try! I didn’t really expect to win that scholarship from Penguin Publishers, but lo and behold, I did, haha. Good luck with the Presidential Scholarship! (Also, that’s awesome that you got into your number one choice of schools, good for you!)

        I got to talk to YA author Ruta Sepetys, the author of Between Shades of Gray (NOT to be confused with Fifty Shades of Gray, haha) and Out of the Easy. It was actually an essay contest hosted by the publishing house–I had to write an essay about the book Out of the Easy based on a prompt question, and I guess the judges and the author liked mine best, which was so awesome! (Speaking of which, they also host another annual essay contest; each year they choose a new classic and provide six prompt questions. Entrants read the book, choose a prompt question, and write an essay about it. The deadline for this year is April 14, 2015, so if you want to enter you can check it out here: I entered last year–the book was Beowulf–but unfortunately didn’t win that one, haha.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thank you so much! 🙂

      Ehehe, yeah, I’ve heard of Ruta Sepetys.
      (Oh, thanks again! I’ll have to check it out – it looks like so much fun!)

  7. Pingback: Senior Year Saturday: Year’s End & A Wrap-Up | Musings From Neville's Navel

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