This mid-winter recess, I attempted to create some order from the piles of forms and folders of all colors in the rainbow on my desk. In January, I was busy filling out the CSS Profile and FAFSA. This month, I'm tackling IDOC, the document packet that everyone applying to financial aid from college is sending to College Board. I'm also emailing each school about CSS Profile corrections like a machine. Honestly, correcting my CSS Profile could have been a more streamlined process if each college had instructions about them on their financial aid office's websites. If you are reading this and work as a financial aid officer at one of the colleges across the United States, please consider my simple proposal. Having a page that explains how to correct CSS and FAFSA would make things more organized and save you thousands of emails from confused high school seniors and students currently attending your institution. For example, look at Northwestern University's instructions on financial aid corrections.
I'm now jumping over the last hurdles before I get to know my college admissions decisions. It was a true test holding onto so many papers -- 2012 tax returns and W2s, 2013 tax returns and W2s, non-tax filer forms, waivers, and verification forms -- while staying sane. There were moments that I was tempted to throw the papers into the air like confetti. And then, there were moments when I would be rational and try to organize my papers and books into piles so that my actual school things would be separate from college financial aid forms and each college have its own manila folder. While trying to calm me down, my mother called this ordeal the test to become an accountant, and that it's just one of the things that I'll have to deal with as an adult. After this whole fiasco, I don't think I'm fit to be an accountant.
Other than applying for financial aid, I have received acceptance letters from state universities of New York, i.e. Stony Brook, Binghamton and University of Albany, which definitely relieved me of some pressures that I've been feeling. I'm glad that I applied to SUNYs early in November, as I now have the safe feeling of "Thank goodness I got into college!"
I have to say, I miss the writing aspect of the college application process, and scholarships have been a fun way to get the wheels in my brain spinning again. I applied to the Jimmy Rane Foundation Scholarship, which was due on February 12th. The Jimmy Rane Foundation offers a $500 to $5,000 scholarship to students depending on their financial need. It required two essays: one asks about a person who impacted you and the other asks about an unusual or unpopular viewpoint that you have taken and how you have defended it. For the first essay, I wrote about my grandmother and how she introduced me to the wonders of biology while I was growing up. For the second essay, I wrote about a personal family situation. Luckily, my mentors advised me to use parts of essays that I've already written to use for my two essays, so that had been a big help to a busy senior like me. I found it surprising that students from some states and student athletes were ineligible to apply to this scholarship, but fear not, there are plenty of other scholarships to look up for on Fastweb, Scholarships and Zinch. There are definitely more scholarships that I would like to apply for as well, like the Carolina Rice/Univision Radio Scholarship Program, which is for students from New Jersey and New York, and the Ascend Educational Fund, which is specifically for New York City high school seniors.
Compared to November and December, January and February passed so much more quickly. Having a full schedule, feeding fish at Coral Reef Club, picking up my little brother and using up my hours every day may seem intimidating, but I still feel compelled to make my last semester in high school the best one yet. There's still four months left until I graduate! It is not time to relax yet.