Mascots from schools all around the country provide friendly tips and tricks for getting the scholarships you’re after. Whether you’re looking for a community college, trade school, or Harvard, these hacks to getting financial aid for the schools you’re looking into are sure to provide additional insight into your college and career search. (Credit to Michaela Manfull)
Mascots from schools all around the country provide friendly tips and tricks for getting the scholarships you’re after. Whether you’re looking for a community college, trade school, or Harvard, these hacks to getting financial aid for the schools you’re looking into are sure to provide additional insight into your college and career search.

Credit to Michaela Manfull

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Selling Yourself

Published: November 9, 2022

This focuses on performance based scholarships and academic opportunities. There is a variety of information regarding scholarships for athletics, academics, universities, trade schools and even more. With this being the first paper released for the 2022 school year, news staff thought it was important to remind students of the outstanding futures they have ahead, and urge them to further pursue their academics

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Counselors Offer Advice from their Experience with College Scholarships

With graduation just around the corner for some, the question of “what to do next” may be a constant thought in students’ minds. There are many different options for students after high school, but the first task is to find what best fits their lifestyle. 

If college is someone’s first destination, money is a big component to focus on. A way to reduce this financial burden is to receive a scholarship. Scholarships are a payment awarded to a student for some sort of achievement or quality, whether it be in academics or another field. Many people are unaware of the different varieties of scholarship opportunities.

“You can search for scholarships all day and never run out of options, but when you’re searching for them, you want to try and be mindful of how competitive that scholarship is,” Brooke Prestidge, the college and career counselor at North said. 

While there are many ways to obtain a scholarship, it is not a last-minute option. The phrase “the early bird gets the worm” is very applicable when it comes to scholarships. A lot of hard work and effort must be put in when applying for a scholarship, all while not being guaranteed this scholarship. 

There are many resources to ensure that a student is applying for a scholarship that is best for them. Speaking to a counselor, such as Prestidge, is also a great way to gain answers to questions involving college. Utilizing website resources and doing a scholarship search are also recommended ways to prepare students for decisions about their future. Though a student may think they have a well thought-out plan for the years following high school, it is best to be prepared for any unexpected changes.

“A lot of students will say ‘well I don’t need to do that, I’m going to this university,’ but then life happens,” Stephanie Johnson, the special programs counselor at North said. “Something happens and they aren’t able to end up going about that, and now it was too late to do this program. So, they always have, basically, an insurance policy.”

Having a backup plan can be very beneficial for students. Another way to receive a scholarship is to participate in the A+ program which is overseen by Johnson at North. By completing 50 hours of tutoring or mentoring and meeting certain requirements, a student is eligible to attend their first two years of community college in Missouri for free. Even if a student does not plan to attend community college, some universities and colleges will grant a smaller scholarship to those who completed this program. Whether a student plans to go to community college, a prestigious university or stay close to home, receiving a scholarship, big or small, could make all the difference.

“It’s competitive so it is going to require some work from the student to write those essays, or get those letters of recommendation, but it’s definitely worth the effort that they put in because it literally pays off,” Prestidge said. 

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A Different Route to a Successful Career

In the past, if students weren’t planning on seeking a higher education after high school, there weren’t many options for them to have a successful career. Now there are many avenues for students to seek out outside of college that allow for highly successful careers. One of these is going into a trade. At North, students have the option of going into Lewis & Clark, a program that gets students ready for their careers.

“There’s lots to do there,” Lewis & Clark Coordinator Stephanie Johnson said. “There’s auto collision, auto service tech, early childhood, a couple different healthcare programs. There’s also IT classes like computer programming and there’s building trades.”

Click here to view trade school scholarships

Lewis & Clark provides a way for students to explore a career outside of the traditional four-year college education. Every year, Lewis & Clark comes and gives a presentation to all sophomores and juniors to inform them about the program. Students have the option of AM classes or PM classes, where transportation is provided to the Lewis & Clark school. Students get experience in the trade they’re looking to go into and they get hands-on learning. The experience students get from Lewis & Clark is even transferable to trades other than the one they studied at Lewis & Clark.

“I mean it teaches me obviously about the trade I’m looking for but it’s also getting me ready to work in that environment,” senior and second year student at Lewis & Clark, Charles Bodine said. “I don’t just go there and work on cars, they also teach us about the employability [of trade jobs] and what they expect.”

This program opens doors for students, making it easier for them to explore their own interests. Before a student joins the program, they are able to shadow the trade they’re interested in to get an idea about how their day would look if they decided to join the program. Lewis & Clark can even help students get jobs right out of high school. Since students work towards getting certifications in their trade throughout the program. Some trades allow for students to get a job right after graduation because Lewis & Clark has already prepared them. Students can also use the qualifications they earned from the program to get placed in the technical school of their trade. There are even scholarships that can be earned to help students pay for the rest of their technical school journey.

“They have a very high placement rate, which means that once a student is completed with their Lewis & Clark program and can get placed into a technical school to continue that programming, they offer all sorts of scholarships,” Johnson said. “We’ve actually had students go through the program junior/senior year and get placed right away at a job site because those jobs see that they’ve completed those certifications [and] they have the qualifications they need and they go straight into that, so lots of good opportunities.”  

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In-State Vs Out-of-State Scholarships

Whether a student wants to go far from home for college or stay right at home, there is a scholarship for everyone. While finding an in-state scholarship may be easier, it is possible for both.

“It’s usually a little bit easier to get some of those in-state scholarships [than] out-of-state scholarships,” College and Career Counselor Brooke

 Prestidge said. “[For out-of-state] you have to have the highest merit, they’re gonna typically want to see a standardized test score and it needs to be fairly high.”

To many students’ dismay, the key to receiving an out-of-state scholarship may rely on having a high ACT score and high grades. This is something that a lot of schools look for when awarding scholarships. If grades or standardized test scores may not be a student’s best aspect, many schools also like to see strong essays in applications.

For students who want to leave the state but haven’t decided where they would like to go, Prestidge recommends looking into private colleges since their out-of-state and in-state tuition is similar. 

“They might look a little bit more expensive because they have one set tuition for all students, but they usually give larger scholarships,” Prestidge said. “So definitely don’t rule those schools out.”

Claire Laurentius
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Students May Look For Academic Performance-Based Scholarships

Not all performance-based scholarships are through sports or music. Some are academic based and are usually based on standardized testing and/or academic achievements. The ACT, SAT and PSAT are the most widely recognized standardized test scores colleges accept for scholarships. 

The PSAT is a great test to take for students who are looking to get scholarships. It’s available to sophomores and juniors and is mainly to prepare students for the SAT. But, if juniors receive a high enough score, they can qualify for certain scholarships, including the Nation Merit Scholarship. FHN College and Career Counselor Brooke Prestige has worked with students who have qualified for the National Merit Scholarship before and recommends juniors take the PSAT before they take the SAT.

“If you’re a junior and you take the PSAT, that score is used for the National Merit Scholarship Organization which [has] huge scholarships,” Prestige said. “[It is very] competitive, usually you have to be [in the] top one percentile of scores to be eligible for it.”

When it comes to studying for the PSAT, prep books are the way to go. PSAT prep books are the ideal prep solutions for anyone who wants to succeed on PSAT and qualify for the National Merit

 Scholarship. But for the National Merit Scholarship semifinalist Manisha Muthukaruppan, the PSAT prep book wasn’t what got her in the top one percentile for last year’s PSAT scores. Muthukaruppan actually used the SAT prep book for the PSAT test, and recommends future testers do the same. 

“Definitely look at SAT prep books,” Muthukaruppan said. “Because if you prepare for something harder, then it’ll make the other test really easier than it would be.”

The National Merit Corporation expects semi-finalists to have scores of 1400 or higher on the PSAT. This score may be daunting, as the average PSAT score for high schoolers is 1000. However, students do not have to be in the top one percent of scores in order to receive money for college. Select colleges, corporations and organizations will recognize students’ great performance on the PSAT. So, even if testers don’t make it as a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship, qualifying alone will get students recognized by colleges and sponsors. 

“Even as a semifinalist,” Prestige said. “They usually offer some really big, sometimes full tuition scholarships and more at colleges.”

Student Athlete Provides Advice on Receiving Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are few and hard to come by. With so many other students wanting to go to college for sports, the competition for performance based scholarships is intense. But it’s not impossible. 

College scholarships are easier to get with the more effort and time a student is willing to dedicate to improve their performance. Continuing to practice outside of the regular season or the school year can put students ahead of the competition for scholarships. This year, senior Ian Kelley received two scholarship offers for football, and his advice for others who want athletic scholarships is to treat the season like it’s year-round. 

“Put in a lot of work during the off season too,” Kelley said. “It doesn’t just happen during the season…[you have to] put yourself out there.” 

Photo by Etaf Abdallah

Good publicity is the most effective way to grab the interest of universities. So, it’s important for athletes to stay active on social media. Having a reputable following and lots of activity on social platforms can provide great exposure for students who are seeking financial aid from colleges and universities. 

With athletes having so many games and tournaments, it’s impractical for college recruiters to visit every students’ sports games. The most effective way for athletes to share their talents with college recruiters is by submitting footage. Kelley received his athletic scholarships because college recruiters could see his talent and passion for football based off of the videos he sent to Grinnell University and Knox College. His performance and dedication is what made him stand out compared to other athletes and gave him the opportunity to play D-3 college football. 

“It was really about them looking at my film,” Kelley said. “Seeing how I played, things like that. Seeing if I was a good enough fit for them.”

But every renewable scholarship comes with conditions. College sports are serious, and it takes a lot of effort to keep a scholarship for sports. Students are expected to maintain great athletic, academic and social performance to keep their scholarships. FHN varsity coach Brett Bevill knows this, and believes Kelley is going to have to work just as hard as a freshman in college football as he did as a freshman player in high school. 

“When it comes to college sports, every person there was one of the best players on their team,” Bevill said. “Right now he’s kind of a big fish for our team, but when he gets to the next level everyone is gonna be like that. So you have to kind of find your way.”

Scholarship Resources

These scholarship websites are some to look out for as they provide students with smaller pools of applicants to give those applying a better chance at winning. Some don’t require accounts, some have over a thousand options and all of them are for high school students getting ready to apply for higher-level educational institutions.

GOING MERRY

With this website, once your information is typed, you can apply to multiple scholarships at once. This is helpful because after applying to so many scholarships, it can be boring and repetitive. This website allows you to spend less time applying to scholarships that need the same information and more time for applying to different scholarships, school work or free time.

CAREER ONESTOP

This website is run by the U.S. Department of Labor with more than 8,000 scholarships listed. You are able to filter through many different keywords including by state and by the state where you are planning to go to college.

SCHOLARSHIPS.COM

Here, scholarships are divided by categories and within these categories are subcategories that can be used to find smaller pool scholarships. This is helpful because while the scholarships might be smaller, there is a higher likelihood of winning. There are over 3.7 million scholarships available here which gives you many more options to look and filter through. Not only does this website offer scholarships, it also allows you to do college searches and get information about student loans.

NICHE

Here, there are many options for users to flip through. Once you register, you are automatically applied to a $2,000 no essay scholarship, which means you are put into a big pool of people to be chosen from. From there, Niche filters scholarships that you match to and recommends those to you. There are also filters to find new, easy to apply and popular scholarships.

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS

This website is unlike any other in that you don’t have to fill out your own personal information to have access to over 23,000 scholarships. So if you already know what you’re looking for, you can go to this website and apply for scholarships without needing to provide anything except what is needed for the scholarship. You can also find student loans and grants opportunities here as well.

FASTWEB

With Fastweb, you are able to filter for scholarships that are catered to your own interests, skills, what you want to study and much more. This makes more scholarship options available to you so you have more chances of winning more scholarships. The website is free, easy to use and student-focused making it one of the first websites you should look at when starting your scholarship search.

MY SCHOLARSHIP CENTRAL

This is a useful website to use especially because it is catered to Missouri students. There are over 100 scholarships here and the website is free to use. The more local the better and this site is perfect for that. When scholarships are more local the better chance you will have of winning them even if they are only $200 scholarships. Every little bit adds up.

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Student Athletes at North Dedicate Themselves to Earning Athletic Scholarships

Senior+Lucy+Fajatin+steps+up+to+bat+during+a+club+team+softball+game.+Lucy+has+been+playing+for+FHN+and+club+teams+to+prepare+for+college.+

Credit to Photo Submitted by Lucy Fajatin

Senior Lucy Fajatin steps up to bat during a club team softball game. Lucy has been playing for FHN and club teams to prepare for college.

Through his 12 years of coaching softball and baseball, Freedline has seen many high school athletes earn scholarships to play at the college level. He has seen athletes spend hours reaching out to colleges, studying hard and perfecting their craft in hopes of earning a scholarship. But many wonder if the outcome is worth all the effort.

“It definitely reduces the money, which is really good,” senior and varsity baseball player Peyton Caples said. “It makes it more affordable for people and then it makes you want to work harder to keep [the scholarship]. Plus I really enjoy playing baseball. I feel like I could play at the next level and it’s just really fun. It’s a good way to meet people at college and have a friend group already going into college.”

Caples, as well as other senior athletes like Lucy Fajatin, have been practicing their craft, communicating with colleges and aiming for the opportunity to obtain an athletic scholarship. Some athletes, like Caples, start looking for scholarships as early as freshman year. 

“I reached out and emailed,” Caples said. “ I emailed Missouri S&T and I was just emailing them and I told them that I had a tournament and they came and watched a game. Illinois Tech, I emailed them back and forth a couple times and I had a couple calls with them. And then they came to watch me play towards the end of the season.” 

Many athletes begin to consider playing college athletics through private club teams they are a part of. Through Premier Baseball Academy, which Caples plays for during the summer, he had gotten in touch with multiple college coaches. Many of these clubs have coaches who help athletes get in contact with college coaches. Fajatin, who plays softball in the summer through St. Louis Heat, got in contact with Maryville, Missouri Baptist and St. Louis University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy. Once an athlete is in contact with a college, that’s when the game starts. 

“Most of the summer I played in a lot of showcases,” Fajatin said. “The organizers put out on social media who’s going to be there. And then you go there and you play against teams in the tournament and then [college coaches] basically come out and watch and recruit and see who they want.”

During the summer and during the FHN sports seasons, Caples and Fajatin have both been keeping up with their stats and recording games to show colleges their athletic abilities. But when giving out athletic scholarships, recruiters look for a good athlete as well as a good student. 

“They want to know that their scholarships are not going to go to waste,” Freedline said. “So, when [recruiters] come out and look at them, they watch them when they’re on the field, off the field, how they act, how they warm up, so they know they’re getting a good quality person. Half the player, half the game.” 

These athletes, and many more, have worked tirelessly in hopes of earning a scholarship to help support their future endeavors. But these athletes have the same thing in common; the love of the game. 

“‘I’d say that no matter what, keep going,” Caples said. “There’s going to be setbacks, but in the end, if you really want it and you love the game, you will succeed.”

FHN Alumni Share How Scholarships They Received Benefited Them after High School.

Expensive. This is one of the top words that could be used to describe college. Tuition, housing and textbooks are all examples of things that a college student has to pay for.  Although, there are a lot of scholarships that can take out a chunk of money out of your tuition.

Evan Becker, a 2022 FHN graduate is one of these special cases. Becker received many scholarships that ended up covering his entire tuition to Washington University. He received the Bright Flight scholarship which was $3,000, the Missouri Access Extra scholarship which was $2,000, another scholarship from Missouri Access which was $1,280 and the WashU Pledge which was $60,000.

“Right now my tuition costs add up to zero dollars,” Becker said. “I got $1,600 back at the beginning of the semester. It definitely has made it a lot easier for me to afford college, considering that I’m actually getting money.”

These scholarships were mainly financial aid dependent, so they are based on your family’s income. The college and career counselor Brooke Prestige has resources about financial aid and scholarships that are financial dependent. For example; Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is financial aid that is funding for students attending a post secondary education institution in the United States.

“One of my top tips for anybody that is looking at colleges is to fill out the FAFSA,” Becker said.

Another way you can get scholarships is based on your family experiences. For example, if you had a grandparent in the military, or if you’re a first generation in your family to attend college, students can talk to Prestige. She has information about resources and ways to find scholarship opportunities. When beginning the application process don’t wait too long to start applying. The earlier the better because more things will be available.

“I absolutely would have started earlier,” Becker said. “Personally I didn’t know what college I wanted to go to. So, I would have started looking for sources and options earlier.”

Another North alumni, Jordan Bryson, graduated from North in 2013. Bryson received the A+ Scholarship, a widely offered scholarship to students in Missouri who meet a set of requirements. The A+ Scholarship gives students two free years of community college or state college in Missouri. Covering your entire tuition, only leaving the cost of books.

“A+ completely covered my associate’s degree,” Bryson said. “It was an incredible weight off of my family’s shoulder to have my tuition completely covered.”

Bryson found out about the A+ Scholarship in her senior year. She knew immediately the gravity of having two free years of college. Looking back now, Bryson still thinks the A+ Scholarship was a huge help for her.

“Without a doubt I would recommend this to others,” Bryson said. “Even for those who have really great GPAs and involvement in sports or other activities that would provide avenues for scholarships, you never know what you’re going to end up getting with scholarships. But with the A+ program you’re getting a free associate’s degree period.”

As a junior or senior applying to colleges, scholarships can help out with the future. There are many scholarships available for anything – whether it’s athletic, academic, or performance related. Past these types of scholarships, there are many more that can be received that just require an essay or a project. Whatever the scholarship, they are beneficial in the long run.

“[It’s about] getting a degree and wanting to better yourself,” Bryson said. “But ensuring that the debt you could graduate with isn’t going to hold you back [is helpful].”

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