Students should consider applying for local scholarships in second semester


Gray Martens

College applications are a pain. They’re the final hurdle of high school for most students, and whether you’re filling out two applications or twelve, it’s rarely a fun process. First, you have to fill out the seemingly endless Common App information, then somehow sum yourself up in 650 words or less in the Common App essay. Then comes the tidal wave of “optional” supplemental essays for each school (they’re never really optional). After all of that, even the thought of scholarship applications is enough to make anyone tired. These can seem like just one more extra step to an endless admissions process, but in reality scholarships are just as important as any other step in that process.

College is ridiculously expensive at the moment. Thirty years ago, you could get a summer job at a fast food restaurant and pay for a significant amount of your college tuition. Now, unless you were able to snag an upper management position at 17, it’s a lot harder to pay for that tuition. 

Need and merit-based scholarships from colleges can be helpful, but they won’t always be enough to cover the cost, especially with the budget strain many schools are feeling in the COVID-19 pandemic. State budgets all over the country are being heavily cut down because of the economic impact of COVID, and this means less money going to public colleges and universities; in Indiana, public universities all over the state received a 7% budget cut. Because of these funding cuts, schools will have less money to give out for necessity and merit-based scholarships, making smaller local scholarships all the more essential this year.

There are a ton of them. They’re each about $500-$1000, and they’re all named after some 80’s principal or local businessman that you’ve never heard of before. Applying to these can be a pain, but it’s absolutely worth it. Individually these scholarships seem small, but they’re easy to apply to and are frequently ignored by so many students. One $1000 scholarship may not make much of a difference, but 5-10 of those sure will. 

Believe me, it’s tempting to just sit back and let the senioritis take over. It’s been a long year. But it’s worth it to put in that little extra effort to apply to these scholarships. It might make a big difference for you.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Gray Martens at [email protected] To read more works by Gray, click here. To see past issues of the HiLite, click here.