By Daniella Molina
The East Los Angeles College Dream Resource Center held its spring 2021 virtual scholarship workshop aimed at bringing awareness on scholarships available to ELAC students regardless of immigration status.
The workshop was led by staff from ELAC Dream Resource Center.
Staff members read over slide show presentations of key details and tips about the application process. Students are encouraged to fill out more than one application. As long as a student meets the requirements of a scholarship being offered, all students are encouraged to apply.
DRC staff members advised students to reach out to their counselors, advisers and mentors for information on potential scholarships.
Most scholarships require a certain GPA score, specific major requirement, an essay and a letter of recommendation. “An essay can make or break an application. This is a time to shine and your time to give the reader a snapshot of who you are. Who is your audience?” DRC staff member Marcella Lozano said. ELAC students can look up open scholarships at elacfoundation.com/apply-for-scholarships/. Student may also apply to scholarships outside of ELAC. There are hundreds of scholarships available at FAFSA.org and on the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment website.
Students were also strongly encouraged to research and reflect on their educational decisions before applying for scholarships. The reflection questions asked on the slide show were, what is a student’s major and why did they choose that major. How did their interest in that field develop? and, when did the student know they wanted to major in that field. These are some of the key questions students should know about themselves before writing out an essay.
“Take into consideration the word count,”Lozano said. Some scholarship essays also require a minimum word count, being 500 to 1000 words. It is especially important to include details of major choice, lifestyle and any struggles that may have occurred along the educational journey. “Don’t put I need the money, in your essay. We all need the money, that is not what is going to make you stand out.” said Lozano.
Lozano said for students to write about how the scholarship money could ease the burden of worry. And to explain how the money could help to pay for books, supplies and equipment for classes. And to also include how with the assistance of funds,they (the student) will be able to work less hours and spend more time studying for classes. Applicants who meet those word counts criteria outshine the ones who do not. Not meeting the word count can have the reader assume that a student is not truly dedicated to the commitment process. Also, remember to always proofread the essay before submitting.
The DRC staff member went over the importance of a letter of recommendation. It was highly advised to get a letter from a credible source. Employers, counselors, coaches, or mentors are perfect to ask. DRC staff also reminded students to keep in mind that letters of recommendations are huge favors to ask of. Some requests may not be able to be done due to unseen circumstances. It is best to have several resources to ask just in case the first source is not able to provide a letter. Another tip from staff was to not to ask the same person to write several letters of recommendation. Just because they wrote one letter, does not mean they are obligated to write several. Reach out to other sources to help expand the possibilities of getting good recommendations letters.
Lastly, students were told to be honest through the entire process of the application. Being dishonest can lead to disqualification and raise red flags to any future scholarship application they may apply for.
For information on available scholarships and workshop dates ELAC students may contact the Dream Resource center via live chat at /laccd.craniumcafe.com/group/dream-resource-center-elac.