Welcome 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 PHENOMENAL. Iowa 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.)