Merit Based Scholarships Essay

1159 words - 5 pages

My mom and dad always taught my brother and I about the importance of going to college to complete our education. My parents themselves never went to college, but worked hard to become upper middle class and always wondered “what if” they had received a college degree. When my brother applied to college, it proved much more difficult than he'd imagined to get the money to help him out, and now that I am planning on completing my college education in the near future, I am faced with the same difficulties. In some cases I am finding it even more difficult than my brother did to get the money I need for college. The sad thing is that in a country that preaches the importance of attaining higher education, many students cannot afford it, making a once bright possibility, a fading light at the end of a long tunnel.
Colleges boast that they have the money for kids to attend college, but this money is often only given to those via merit based scholarships, to those from needy families, as well as those who have been donating money to the colleges and are therefore given admittance to the college. Although many colleges say they try to work with students with the above mentioned scholarships, it still leaves many qualified college students unable to attend college.
In Zoe Mendelson's essay “Paying For College,” she describes a friend who is having similar difficulties. Her friends' father describes their family as “in the nether region,” where his household income is “too much to qualify for substantial financial aid but not enough to pay that amount,” (Mendelson, 131). This is often one of the main issues middle class families face. For families like my own, who make a good living on paper- things are not quite what they seem. My father is a state worker who has had his wages cut, my mom commutes 90miles every day for work which chews up quite a bit in gas money. My brother attended college leaving my family in debt. Most importantly, my family lives in one of the more expensive areas in California. On paper, my family should be able to afford to send me to school. However, with all the above taken into account- we can't do it. This is one of the primary problems- the point at which you are needy but not needy enough.
This is why many colleges create minimum requirements based off of test scores and grade point averages. Colleges use these as guidelines to view a snapshot of how a particular student will perform at their university. This would be an accurate way of judging a person if a few tests and numbers really described a student and their work ethic.
There are many students of all financial backgrounds who work hard and excel at what they do. They are intelligent, passionate, and are generally what you would call “good students.” Some of these students have the study skills and habits necessary to do well on these tests that colleges are using. Other students may be just as intelligent and passionate, but not great at test taking or...

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