Applying some pressure

Overcoming the pressure of scholarships


Margaret Debenport

A senior fills out an application detailing the planned college of attendance. Seniors faced countless applications in the fall for scholarships and college admissions.

Story by Cameron Murry, staff writer

It is a colorful box. It’s the word “congratulations.” It is retaking the ACT four times. It is three years of all-nighters and coffee the next day. It is all of that hard work finally paying off.

Academic scholarships do not come easy, and they do not stick around without continued hard work. But thinking about that continuation of hard work can be stressful. What if my GPA suffers? What if I lose my required 3.5? What if I get to college and lose track of my priorities?

For some students, scholarships are the only reason they are going to college. In my case, scholarships have given me hope.

Thanks to my academic integrity and work ethic, I have been blessed with the University of Central Arkansas’s Out of State Distinguished academic scholarship, totaling $48,000 for four years. Without the pressure I have put myself under in high school, I would be swimming in student loan preparation.

But what if I get distracted by the social aspects of college? What happens if I decide to join a sorority and get too involved in it?

These are questions I have been asking myself since my sophomore year. I have pushed so hard for these grades. I have studied testing strategies for hours to get that ACT score of a 32. Yet, I still doubt myself.

I fear failure and debt equally; to lose my scholarship once I get to college would be to fail. I cannot imagine how it would feel to work hard, reap the benefits and lose them all. The sad truth is, however, this happens to people all of the time.

College is not a winner-take-all thing. Just because you worked hard in high school and got $12,000 per year for all of your hard work does not mean you can be lazy in college. In order for scholarships to work, you have to work. You have to want to succeed in order to do so.

There are scholarships out there for everyone. You do not always have to be in the top 10 percent to get funding for college.

The truth is, scholarship applications are just as scary as college applications. Scholarship interviews can feel like job interviews — scary, intimidating, but they are worth the fear.

Do not doubt yourself when it comes to scholarships. If you work hard, you will be just fine.