As classrooms around the country remain empty, teachers and guidance counselors are turning toward online resources to keep students on track. For high school seniors and college students, many of their learning experiences have always been virtual, including searching for college scholarships.
While there are many scholarship opportunities available online, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation remains the best local resource for Chautauqua County students.
In 2019, the Foundation awarded 750 students more than $1.3 million to further their education in undergraduate and graduate studies. Students are able to use these dollars for any cost related to their education that may not be covered by financial aid and other grants or scholarships.
For Jamestown High School graduate, Sarah Gibson, she always intended to use her interest in the sciences to serve others. After earning her degree in neurobiology at Georgetown University in 2018, she is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine.
“The great part about going into medicine is that there are so many options available to you,” Gibson said. “Although I do not know exactly what I will end up doing, I know I have an interest in OB/GYN, pediatrics or surgery.”
Throughout her education, Gibson has received multiple scholarships from the Community Foundation to help cover the cost of textbooks, school materials and software programs.
“Both my undergraduate and medical school experiences have included many expenses outside of tuition, Gibson said. “Certain review materials and apps can really help enhance the learning experience, but are also very expensive.”
Currently, the Community Foundation administers more than 300 scholarships to assist undergraduate and graduate students of all ages further their education at two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
According to Michelle Frederickson, Community Foundation scholarship officer, in addition to healthcare students, like Gibson, previous scholarship recipients have studied STEM related fields, arts and humanities, education, and business.
“Our scholarship process is unique in that we really support a wide variety of studies among our students,” Frederickson said. “We also have scholarships available for non-traditional students, such as adult learners or students who may have taken time off from school.”
This year, with the COVID-19 outbreak temporarily closing schools and businesses, Frederickson emphasized that the Foundation has taken additional steps to ensure the application process is a smooth one.
“We have been in contact with a number of high school guidance counselors to work through some of the unique circumstances we have this year,” Frederickson said. “We are also providing additional resources they can share with students and parents.”
At Jamestown High School, the College and Career Center has been working closely with guidance counselors and the Liberty Partnership Program at Jamestown Community College to provide students virtual tools to prepare them for college.
“We are taking advantage of virtual tools such as Google Docs and Zoom to help students apply for scholarships,” said Michelle Hoaglund, College and Career Center coordinator. “We’re promoting virtual college visits through Zoom, as well as, using it to assist students who need help with their FAFSA or TAP applications.”
Frederickson will participate in an upcoming Zoom meeting to help answer questions students have regarding the Community Foundation’s scholarship process.
“While we understand there is much uncertainty in our community at this time, especially with our high school seniors, the Community Foundation remains committed to helping our local students further their education,” said Tory Irgang, Community Foundation executive director.
Scholarship applications for the 2020-2021 academic year are now available online at crcfonline.org/scholarships. Students who have previously received scholarships need to re-apply to be considered for awards this year.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox