Como-Pickton school will host a seminar in January to help students from grade seventh through college and their parents learn what they can do to make college and scholarships a reality.
The free seminar, “Dare to Dream Great Dreams with Five Steps: Making College Scholarships a Reality,” will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, in the secondary cafeteria at Como-Pickton school. Valerie Peak will present information on how students can apply successfully to the college of their choice and for scholarships to pay for it.
According to information released by Path to Scholarships program, “total student loan debt is increasing at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second. Presently, the student loan debt is over $1 trillion dollars, which has surpassed credit card debt in our country. Students borrow because they believe they do not have any other choices or options. There is an alternative available for all students to pay for their college without accumulating excessive student loan debts.”
The scholarship seminar is offered through Path to Scholarship, a program for which counselor Laurie Bult received special training from Region VIII Education Service Center seven years ago, which allows her to use the program.
“Although the program is ideally taught in a classroom, I knew I would have to modify it to use in a small school setting such as ours. As a result, I decided to experiment,” Bult acknowledged.
So, she first worked with one student, Spencer Boyd, for two years, helping the CPHS student “willing to work hard and put forth the extra effort needed to be successful with the Path to Scholarship program” develop a portfolio he could present to colleges to give him a leg up on other applicants.
“He turned out to be the best ever guinea pig!” Bult notes of Boyd, who graduated from Como-Pickton High School in 2009 with a $36,000 University of North Texas Emerald Eagle Scholars Grant which paid all four years of his schooling at the Denton university, as well as a $500 Como-Pickton PTO Scholarship, a $300 Eagle Baseball Scholarship, a $500 Gus Garrison Masonic Lodge Scholarship, a $500 Como-Pickton Athletic Booster Club Scholarship, a $500 Lake Country Antique Tractor Association Scholarship, a $1,000 Custom Shutters Scholarship and a Robert Davis Mowat Scholarship.
Boyd will graduate from UNT in May 2013 with a bachelor of arts in international studies and a minor in Spanish. He has recently been accepted as part of the Teach For America team in Chicago, where he will continue his passion for youth development teaching and motivating students in lower-income schools in the Chicago area. He’s studying for his Ohio teaching certificate.
He credits Path to Scholarship for helping him achieve his goal of a college education. Over his junior and senior year at CPHS and some during the summer, he met with Bult once a week outside his regular class time to develop his portfolio in hopes of successful entrance to a university to continue his education and attain financial aid so as not to put a financial strain on his family. During those sessions, Boyd focus on applying to local and national scholarships, perfecting his resumé, filling out applications for different universities, working on and doing ACT and SAT work, looking at personal characteristics that are attributes and applying for things like financial aid. He spent at least six months writing, editing and revising his scholarship essay.
“We went through the curriculum which is available for purchase. As a result, he finished with an extremely polished portfolio that included his resume, outstanding letters of recommendation, essay, volunteer and community service documentation and checklists,” Bult noted
“This portfolio and program truly separates students from the ‘stack’ of applications and allows the reader to ‘meet’ the applicant,” explains Bult. “The program walks the student through the process of applying and paying for post secondary education. Students must be willing to complete the process to truly benefit from the program. Spencer worked extremely hard and as a result almost every committee in which reviewed Spencer’s portfolio commented about how impressed they were with his portfolio.”
Another student interested in trying the program started working with Bult during the summer and through his senior year, and also experienced great success.
“I truly wanted to put this in the hands of more students but, unfortunately, was not in a position to do so. I knew I would have to get a little more creative! I started offering the scholarship/financial aid workshops each year on Saturdays for parents and students,” the counselor noted.
Bult would go over the program during the annual workshops, then because she bought in bulk, was able to sell workbooks at a discounted price to families to help them save a little money.
“These workshops are great, but I still needed a way to get the program in more hands and also monitor the use. As with any program, Path to Scholarships is only as good as the user!” Bult added.
So, a couple of years ago, she started visiting senior classes. Last year, she was able to expose both junior and senior classes to Path to Scholarship. At the end of the year, she was made aware that Path to Scholarships is now available on-line through www.eduaris.com.
“The really awesome part is any student age 13 and older may enroll in one of the on-line classes to work on their portfolio. As if this couldn’t get any better, one of the main contacts offered to come out this school year and do a free workshop for all of our students and their families in grades seven through college!” enthused Bult, excited that more students will have an opportunity to utilize Path to Scholarship.
“This program doesn’t just stop at the end of high school or college but it keeps on rewarding users for a lifetime! My wish would be for every single student to have access and support to use Path to Scholarships,” Bult concluded.
For more information about Path to Scholarship, visit www.Edudaris.com or call 407-403-3301, and about the Jan. 14 seminar, contact Bult at CPCISD.
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