Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Early Applications Improve Scholarship Chances

It’s that season again. Sunny skies, balmy weather, spring training and applications for fall college scholarships are due.

Now’s the time to follow your passion, find a new career, earn a certificate and pursue the degree you’ve always wanted. And there’s help in the form of scholarships, grants, and financial aid.
At Rio Salado College dozens of students receive scholarships to attend college. They are scholarship based on academics, ethnicity, need, course of study, for mothers, for community heroes and a variety of other reasons.

There are scholarships for dual enrollment students, scholarships for nursing, those in teacher education, high school drop outs and even incarcerated students.
“There are drawers full of scholarships but students need to apply and to apply early,” said Cindy Hall Rio Salado College Scholarship Coordinator.

“If you are planning on going to college you need to plan ahead. A lot of students seem to wait until the last minute to apply. Don’t wait until crunch time,” said Hall.
Students who apply early not only have more scholarships to chose from but also have more time to meet with academic advisors and counselors.

“If you get your finances in place it’s going to be a smooth transition for you to enroll in your classes,” said Hall.

Although this is the best time to apply for scholarships to attend college in the fall, scholarships are awarded throughout the year.
Last week nearly a dozen Rio Salado College nursing students were awarded $1,000 scholarships including Ashleigh Gabriel and Dennis Arrington. Both students are thrilled with the unexpected scholarship.

The money means Gabriel won’t have to pick up an extra graveyard shift to pay for daycare while she goes to school full-time, work part-time and takes care of her two children.
“I was so excited because I have never gotten a scholarship before,” said Gabriel. The 23 years old mother of a three-year old and an eight-month-old has been taking her nursing prerequisites at Rio Salado College the last couple of years. In January she started her first semester of nursing classes and wasn’t sure how she would pay for daycare. With a full load of classes and two small children at home, Gabriel said she wasn’t sure how she would juggle another shift.
“This is a great big help. There would have been no time to study and take care of the kids,” said Gabriel.
Arrington also took most of her nursing prerequisites online at Rio but spent the first two semesters of the nursing program at another college. But found online classes were more his style.

“I really like the online format. I think going into the classroom is pretty much a waste of time,” said Arrington.
“I was very excited to get the scholarship. I couldn’t believe it,” said Arrington who plans to use the scholarship for tuition and expenses.

For more information go to the Rio Salado web site at http://www.riosalado.edu/services/student/enrollment/financial_aid/scholarshipSearch.shtml