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Scannelli column: College financial assistance opportunities

By Sandi Scannelli
For the Clemmons Courier

Parents, grandparents and students. You likely know that now is the season to apply for college financial assistance — more typically called scholarship applications. Most deadlines are in March and April and the hunt for assistance is a worthwhile effort. The greater the effort, the greater the results. Think you are not eligible due to average grades? Hogwash. Many scholarships are designed to help students that do not have the highest GPA. More important is a student’s desire and commitment to pursue additional training and education to accomplish his/her career goals, whether the goals are occupational certifications or academic degrees. Even if you are under consideration for a scholarship from your school of choice, don’t stop applying for other scholarships because the school scholarship may fall through. Sadly, it has happened.

The Clemmons Community Foundation, with thanks to many generous donors, has even more college and training assistance available this year. So where do you find out about opportunities?

  • High schools/guidance offices have a list — often a page on their web site dedicated to scholarship opportunities
  • College financial aid office and websites
  • Check with area clubs and organizations, such as the Clemmons Civic Club, the Lewisville Civic Club, and Rotary Clubs and Kiwanis Clubs (there are several of each in the area), and many other clubs in the area
  • And of course, check out community foundation websites. A short link to our scholarship page on our website is ccf.gives/scholarships.

Are you coming out of a gap year or two and now ready to return to school? Already a student in college and needing financial help? There are also scholarships for existing students and adults returning to school.

Important to every scholarship application is the question asking for a personal narrative. Your personal story can make a difference. Put some time and thought into answering questions. Write more than a sentence or two. Thoughtfully share why your continuing education is important, why you selected your chosen career, what kind of challenges have you overcome, and why financial assistance is necessary and important to you. The selection committee needs to know that you really want and care about the scholarship. Invite an adult or two to read your draft before you submit it and ask them to give you some honest feedback — and listen to their suggestions.

Credentials matter, whether an occupational certification or a degree. College and career education does not have to result in daunting debt. With good planning and some time and effort applying for the many opportunities that are available, all students can significantly reduce the out-of-pocket cost of education and training. And when completed, earn more in their chosen field.

Sandi Scannelli is president/CEO of the Clemmons Community Foundation.