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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Scholarship applications should be universal, simple

    The circus act of jumping through the several hoops of cover letters, resumes, essay questions and applications, also known as trying to get a scholarship, is an art.

    Millions of dollars each year are divvied up among all the scholarship recipients, and students are frenzied in finding a way to get that cash. Some people will even dedicate an entire day to filling out the seemingly endless pile of applications.

    But is it worth it?

    Being a college student isn’t easy. Nationally, 75 percent of undergraduates worked while attending college and 66 percent of undergraduates received some type of financial aid, according to the results of the 2007-2008 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study.

    On average, roughly the same percentage of undergraduates worked during college since the mid-1990s, according to the American Council on Education. At the time, about 50 percent of undergraduates were receiving any type of financial aid, according to the NPSAS.

    Although the same percentages of students work throughout college, more students receive financial aid nowadays. The difference is that college tuition continues to skyrocket over the years and financial aid hasn’t risen to meet it. Back then, a college degree wasn’t a minimal requirement for being hired at certain jobs as it is today. The added pressure of developing a diverse portfolio of student involvement is also something that wasn’t as imperative in the early ‘90s.

    The problem is applying for scholarships is too time consuming for students these days. A cover letter, resume, three recommendations and a three-page essay response for $1,000 is unreasonable. It would only pay off an eighth of next year’s tuition anyway.

    But students are always advised to apply and apply and apply. The UA even has a website to help filter which scholarships would be the best for students to apply for and when the deadlines are. The point is to make finding scholarships easier, but what would really help is if the applications themselves were less demanding.

    If students are required to jump through hoops in the application process, whatever they submit should be a one-time thing all scholarship organizations can evaluate. Scholarship applications require almost all of the same information anyway, so why not have an expansive list of short answer questions that could apply to whatever a specific scholarship may want to know about?

    That way, when submitting the application, there can be a list of organizations the student can choose to be considered for. In the end, that entire day spent applying for scholarships would actually feel worth it.

    What also sucks about scholarships is that deadlines usually hit right around midterms. Not sure who decided that, but they should get a swift kick from students everywhere.

    So if you find your friends are sweating more than usual these days, it’s probably because they’ve joined the masses and are holed up somewhere, tackling sheets upon sheets of applications, hoping to get some free money.

    The process of applying for applications should be reassessed because in the end, it’s much simpler to just apply for loans than to apply for a scholarship. And with more loans, there’s more debt. With more debt, the already problematic debt situation for students gets worse.

    _— Serena Valdez is a journalism junior. She can be reached at
    letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions ._

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