I still remember the day I heard back from my early action school. I was in the kitchen with my laptop as my parents were making dinner. I nervously logged into my account and clicked on the tab Acceptance Status. I could feel my breathing quicken as I scanned the page until I saw the status—Accepted!
Since it was the first college I heard back from, the acceptance boosted my self-confidence and I felt relieved. My dad congratulated me, but quickly told me to look at the Financial Aid tab. I clicked on the page and saw a series of numbers, including the tuition, room and board, how much scholarship the college offered me, and how much financial aid I would receive. I could sense my dad’s disappointment even before he said without hesitation, “There is no way you are going here. This is not an option. We cannot afford it”. His words crushed me and I felt rejected even though getting accepted to the college was supposed to be celebratory news.
At this moment, I realized that it did not matter if you got into your dream college if you could not afford it. I proceeded to apply to as many scholarships as I can in hopes that I will receive aid for my tuition. Today, I am attending college for free, because of the generous organizations and institutions who had decided to invest in my education.
A great scholarship was the Dr. Thomas Tam Scholarship from the Teen Resource Center. It was simple — I only needed an essay on community service, a letter recommendation, and to fill out the application. The $500 went a long way and that’s why I’m so glad they’re offering it again this year! Apply before the deadline on Monday, Feb 22!