Scholarships – So beneficial yet so tedious

The+Career+Center+provides+seniors+with+a+list+of+numerous+scholarships+and+some+of+the+biggest+programs+are+concentrated+in+Ventura+County%2C+providing+Ventura+County+students+with+bigger+opportunities+of+winning.+Infographic+by%3A+Tanya+Turchyn

The Career Center provides seniors with a list of numerous scholarships and some of the biggest programs are concentrated in Ventura County, providing Ventura County students with bigger opportunities of winning. Infographic by: Tanya Turchyn

Tanya Turchyn

Senior year is really a scam–you think it’s going to be as easy as they say, but although academics are the least of my worries, the other side of the year–applying to colleges, for financial aid, and worst of all, scholarships–is honestly way worse than a few hard classes during junior year.

One of the biggest scholarship programs accessible to VUSD students is from the Ventura County Community Foundation, which hands out tens of thousands of dollars to Ventura County students every year. The application process is online, and it includes a general application, recommendations, a general essay, as well as additional essays for different scholarships.

To my unenjoyment–practically every scholarship listed asks a different question. I ended up doing about 10 separate essays for this program alone! Even worse, the questions weren’t even unique from one another or interesting to write about, nor did I think they reflected what I really wanted to show of my character. I mean, the very first question you have to answer as an applicant is, “please tell us why you are a good candidate.”

That’s about as broad and vague a question as one could think of. Where am I supposed to even start? What constitutes a “good” candidate? Is it my morals, my values, or my actual achievements? How am I supposed to show my character through such a boring and unstimulating question?

Barrera said that he applied to about eight scholarships provided by the VCCF program. He also stated that he didn’t like that he had to brag so much in order to answer the questions that the scholarships asked. Photo by: Tanya Turchyn

Senior Emilio Barrera applied for some VCCF scholarships as well and commented on his opinion of the process. Barrera said, “I did not enjoy writing any of the essays because the [questions] were very boring and simple. I have good grades, but this doesn’t not mean I’m qualified. I don’t know what [the scholarship founders] want to know.”

To top it off, in answering these vague, uninteresting questions, the website mostly asks for 500-700 words! You really want to read a 700-word essay of boring, uninterested writing? Wouldn’t you rather ask what I’m passionate about and allow the writing to be more interesting than bragging? I think if I had written about something I felt genuine vigor and zeal for, my character and merit would be demonstrated in a much more compelling and genuine way than if I directly stated why my character is “good” or deserving.

I simply cannot bring myself to brag about myself anymore, especially about what makes me “good.” I don’t think that’s something I can convey in an essay nor is it something that is interesting to read. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to lower the costs of my university years, but please allow me to write about it in a way that is a little more interesting so that both the reader and I can enjoy the process a little more.