Growing up on a farm outside a very small town in southern Kansas did not allow me or my peers the experience of much diversity. There were a few Hispanic students in our mix, but that was it for diversity.
While in high school, we were lucky to have an international exchange student who lived with a family in town and attended our school. He was from Brazil. He knew English but had an accent that all of us loved. There was not one person in our school who was not fascinated by the exchange student, nor was there anyone who did not learn something from him.
I was excited to head to college and embed myself in diversity of all sorts. While attending college I had to have a job to survive - OK….maybe a tad dramatic, but I was responsible for any 'fun money' and besides studying, I wanted to have fun.
“If a college is not willing to offer scholarships to international students, well, it is that college’s loss!”
I took a job in the Spanish department at my college and was in charge of typing up Spanish tests (this was prior to the days of computers. We used typewriters!). I did not know Spanish, nor did I understand how to type with the Spanish typewriter that had English letters on the keyboard. I didn’t last long in this job, but quickly found my home in Financial Aid. I worked for 4 years in the financial aid office at the college as a student worker.
Out of college, and not wanting to leave the experience of higher education, I accepted my first job at a college and worked as a financial aid representative. This was in 1990. Although I have worked at several colleges throughout my career, each one has been a private college in Kansas.
I moved to the world of admissions in 2002. Having the experience in financial aid and knowing that financial aid is a driving factor in helping students enrol in college, I continue with my passion of helping interested students locate scholarships so they can attend Southwestern College.
If a college is not willing to offer scholarships to international students, well, it is that college’s loss! Helping international students realize an education in America is pretty high on my list of priorities.
Keep searchingInternational students should spend a lot of time researching scholarships. We tell American prospective students that searching for scholarships is like having a part-time job. All scholarships matter. Several $250 scholarships can add up quickly!
Where to lookThe first place to research is the college you would like to attend. Find out what scholarships are available for your academic performance in high school.
If you are interested in playing a sport or participating in another activity like music, newspaper, Green Team, Leadership, find out what scholarship opportunities are available for that as well.
CommunicateConnect with one person in the admission office who is excellent at communicating with you. Stick with that person to help you through the process.
NEVER pay for scholarship resourcesYou can get this same information for free online. Some of my favorite websites for scholarship searches include:
One of the most important questions you should ask is if the scholarship the college offered is renewable so that you can have it for each year you are attending the college. You don’t want to be surprised at the beginning of second year and find out that your scholarships haven’t been renewed!!!
Good luck with your college search and locating scholarship dollars. They are available, you just need to spend some time looking.
Vice President for Enrollment Management
Southwestern College, Winfield Kansas