Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

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OSU community offers advice amidst scholarship season

Aisling Gazzo
The Kerr Administration Building on Oregon State Campus on October 23rd. Located inside of the building is the OSU Scholarship Office.

What is the most challenging thing that you have gone through in your life? How did you get yourself through that? Please answer in 250 words or less.

Scholarship season is fast approaching, as Oregon State University ScholarDollars applications open Nov. 1. Students are once again facing the challenge of answering the dreaded essay prompts. 

After the chaos of senior year of high school, students often forget that they are still eligible to apply for thousands of scholarships each year of college. 

“I wish that I was more aware of what kind of scholarships I have access to,” said Mark McLaughlin, a transfer student studying biochemistry and molecular biology. “I didn’t realize that there was so much free money out there for the taking, that if you only just took the time, you could get a lot of college paid for.”

Hallie Price-Asadare, a Scholarship Advisor at OSU’s Scholarship Office, said that OSU ScholarDollars is a student’s best friend in their search for scholarships.

“Over $12 million in OSU scholarship funding is awarded through OSU ScholarDollars from Nov. 1 through Feb. 15,” Price-Asadare said. 

Through ScholarDollars, students are able to filter through thousands of scholarships by their qualifications. It can make finding, sorting, and applying for scholarships much easier. 

“Scholarships that say they are guaranteed, have an application fee, or require confidential information like a social security number are very likely to be scams,” Price-Asadare said. 

Scams are often a big issue when searching for external scholarships, but ScholarDollars combats those issues with their database of over 15,000 external scholarships that have been screened and vetted before they were added to the system. “Students can be confident those opportunities are not scams,” Price-Asadare said.

Sydney Moore, a second-year construction engineering management student, ran into issues with external scholarships during her application process as well.

“Try to find local scholarships rather than national scholarships or scholarships from a site like Bold.org,” Moore said. “I ran into a social media post advertising them, and the comments all said that it didn’t actually work, and nobody had actually won anything from them. This was after I had applied to about 20-30 scholarships on their site.”

The OSU Scholarship Office does their best to help students avoid being scammed, and Price-Asadarae recommends reading this article by the Federal Trade Commision to learn more. 

Once students find scholarships they can apply for, the common essay prompts often serve them well, as it allows them to think through answers that they can give for similar questions. 

“You should read a few prompts and come up with good narratives for them,” McLaughlin said.“A lot of college scholarship essays will have slightly different prompts, but attack the same idea of random stuff like, ‘how did you grow as a person the last 5 years’.” 

McLaughlin explained that the prompts allow you to create a bank of ideas, and topics that are typically applicable to most essay questions. 

 “You should be able to do a scholarship essay a day if you have a lot of narratives already set up on a document file,” McLaughlin said.

There are a lot of resources on campus for students that are working through scholarships, such as the Writing Center at the Valley Library, which can help brainstorm, edit, and revise essays. 

“Ideally, students would prioritize applying for all the local and OSU scholarships they can, as well as a select group of state and national-level scholarships for which they are a good match based on the eligibility criteria,” Price-Asadare said.

The OSU Scholarship office also has availability for one-on-one appointments to discuss scholarships with an advisor personally. More information can be found on their website

In order to apply for most scholarships, a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid is often required. Students must complete a new form each year by June. However, many ScholarDollars applications are due in Feb., and require a FAFSA form before that. 

“Start the application process as early as you possibly can,” Moore said. “The more scholarships you can apply for, the better.”

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