Imagine if you received $100 for each time a teacher, parent, counselor, Jacki Cisneros, or Michelle Sandoval mentioned the word “scholarship” and the importance of applying for them. You would probably have enough money to pay off some of your first-year’s tuition.
As you inch closer to your college dream, the reality of the costs will become more apparent. We hope that you’ve all been paying attention to our not-so-subtle hints to apply, apply, APPLY for scholarships.
We spoke to two ERHS and G1DPR alums to share their thoughts on scholarships now that they are half way through their freshman year.
Daniel Martinez Jimenez
Freshman, UC Davis
Major: Chemical Engineering
Coming from a low-income family, scholarships were a big thing for me. When you first see the numbers of how much college will cost, it’s shocking. The challenge for me was finding a scholarship that would accommodate me as a Dreamer. I did a lot of research and found that the Gus Parasa Memorial Scholarship was a good fit for me.
Even though I had a tough time finding scholarships during my senior year of high school, now that I’m a student at UC Davis, I’m finding more scholarship opportunities for Dreamers and many are generous. My advice is to not stress out about your immigration status, stay positive and don’t give up. Keep in touch with the high school administrators and teachers who have helped you along the way, as well as other first-generation students in college for motivation. Another great resource that Michelle Sandoval shared with me is MyUndocumentedLife.org, which provides a ton of information for undocumented students.
During my senior year at El Rancho High School, my mom and I found out that we would be responsible for all college costs. To help with the expenses I researched and applied for scholarships. I was awarded the Frank Terrazas Scholarship, which fortunately paid for my second semester of college. In hindsight, I do wish that I had applied for more scholarships during my senior year. I’ve definitely been encouraging my younger sister, Georjean Ortega, who is currently a senior at ERHS to apply for as many as possible. What discouraged me from applying for more scholarships was the fact that many of them required essays, and to be honest creative writing doesn’t come easy for me. I wish I had just pushed through and wrote the essays. My advice to my fellow DONS is to not be discouraged by the writing. You’ll have a better chance of getting the scholarship as opposed to never having tried it to begin with.