Distractions

Over on our Twitter account, we follow a lot of different accounts that post lots of great information about colleges, financial aid, scholarships, the applications process, and so on. Typically, on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings, I have time to scroll through the feed and see what things I might not have caught during the week. This can be a good way to find lots of information. It can also be bad. Very bad. As in I think I’m moving (financially) in the wrong direction.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a tweet from VolunTEEN Nation about programs to study abroad for high school students. Remember in my last post where I discussed encouraging MM’s love of travel? Yup. It came back to bite me in the bee-hind. I sent MM the link to NSLI for Youth. I honestly did not read the site as closely as I should have, although I did go through it a lot. I guess it’s more accurate to say I didn’t fully understand what I was reading. At any rate, I sent it to MM and she was off and running. I could not have imagined what I started. Actually, I think I perhaps should have realized what my adventurous spawn daughter would do!

Armed with a laptop and a wandering spirit, MM has hatched a plan. She eventually discovered AFS and their programs. They have study abroad programs around the world, ranging from a summer language immersion course, to a full academic year abroad. Nightly, she’d come into my room and lay out her plans. Of course, since this is MM, she doesn’t do anything small or halfway. No sir. She is going in whole hog. She wants to do a full academic year abroad.

Now while this is exciting, I have had a chance to digest it and I’m reaching full on panic mode. Not at the thought of sending my dear, sweet child away for a year. No. We’ll be lucky if foreign governments don’t beg me to take this strange child back. What I’m freaking out about is 1) cost, 2) academic credit here at home, 3) cost, and 4) did I mention cost????  For example, a semester in France costs $12,750! Full year tuition costs are not posted yet, but should be soon. I’m not sure I want to know. MM, who admittedly has done a lot of reading up on this, says she saw that the full year program is actually not a lot more than the semester. We shall see. But, now you can see why I feel like I’m moving in the wrong direction. We’re supposed to be finding money, not spending it!

Buuuuuttttt…….

Being the person I am and the mom I have been, I am not ruling it out. And after a bit of worry about having lost focus on the scholarship search, I saw the silver lining. Like I said, MM has taken charge on this. She has been diligently researching the programs and narrowed it down to AFS based on structure, offerings, etc. I followed up and agree that AFS does seem to be the best fit. She set up an appointment with her school counselor to discuss what she would need to do to make certain this does not negatively impact her graduation date. MM says she reviewed curriculum for the programs she’s considering and said she’d only have to take US History next summer to make up for a missed class. She joined the company’s Facebook page to ask questions of alumni. She is also following up with me to make sure I’m attending the webinars hosted by AFS to find out more about the company and get my questions answered. So, while we have taken a break from applying for scholarships (I am still looking though!), I feel MM has been using her time wisely because she is learning to manage a process on her own and practicing her problem solving skills.

So, the next step is to see if this is even financially possible, speak personally with the school counselor, and go from there.

But, now that we have gotten to this point, I think MM owes me a scholarship application. Mom needs to be kept happy, right?

 

~Mom

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All work and no play

I know, we’re a little behind on updating you about the next scholarship. But, honestly, we haven’t applied to anymore. Don’t worry. We’re not falling off the wagon. We’re in it to the end. But, as you know, school is still in the first few weeks and I seem to forget each year how crazy those first few weeks are. It’s not like her routine has really changed any over the past few years. MM has been at the same school since seventh grade. She’s also been in the senior high marching band every year. So it’s all the same. I drop her off each morning and pick her up after I get off work or she’s done with practice. Somehow, we manage to fit in dinner and homework each night. We won’t even get into how crazy Friday’s are during football season. It’s just go, go, go. If anything, this year should be a bit easier because the band no longer has after school practice. Nope. We still manage to fill that time with something. Nonetheless, each year, we have to adjust until we get back into a steady rhythm. I think we might be there. Maybe. In addition to MM’s schedule, and my work, I also have to study for my actuarial exams. Actually, I’m taking a break from exams and working on online learning right now. Regardless, it still is required to eventually get my “letters”. Think PhD, M.D., etc. just math. A lot of math. So, this week we started heading to the library for MM to study and do homework and me to do my modules. (Ssshhhh…I’m supposed to be working on one right now!)

Today MM had finished her homework before I picked her up, so I decided it was a good time for her to shoot off another quick scholarship application. I actually was not prepared with another one from my Scholarship Bible but I had just seen that Get2College had a list of scholarships on its web site. From browsing through the list of scholarships for high school students (they also have categories for college students as well as based on place of residence within Mississippi) it looked like their list included a lot more for high school seniors. Also, on the first several pages, most had deadlines in the spring. I wanted something sooner and I came across the Shout it Out Scholarship. This is another short essay scholarship, with minimal requirements.

Among other things, applicants must:

  •  Be thirteen (13) years of age or older at the time of application,
  •  Be legal residents of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia,
  •  Be currently enrolled (or enroll no later than the fall of 2019) in an accredited post-secondary institution of higher education, and
  • Submit an online short written response (250 words or less) for the question: “If you could say one thing to the entire world at once, what would it be and why?”

The deadline is September 30, so there is a bit of time, but don’t put it off. We also entered to win a $500 drawing from Zinch and the weekly $1,000 Scholarship. There is a lot going on over there, so click on through and check them out.

Still, with all things work and school, we managed to find time for a selfie! 🙂

image

Quick! Get a selfie!

Now that we’re getting this year figured out, it should be smooth sailing from here on out. Right? Right?!

~Mom

And we’re off!

Today, MM submitted her first scholarship application today. As I mentioned in my first post, we are starting at page 1 and working our way through the book. The very first entry happened to be one that she was qualified for. Actually, most people qualify for this one.

College JumpStart Scholarship is a $1,500 merit-based scholarship open to 10th-12th graders (or undergraduate and non-traditional students) who plan to attend a 2- or 4-year  accredited school. Each year there are two awards, one in the spring and one in the fall. The deadlines are April 15 and October 17. This means there is still time for you to submit your application for the fall competition. It’s a quick and easy online form with an essay of no more than 250 words. How easy is that?

We’re still learning, so the essay was the hardest part of this process. There was a bit of stress, on both of our parts, trying to figure out how to approach the essay. There were four choices, but only two applied to MM. From there, it was a matter of expanding something that can be answered in one sentence to something a bit more eloquent. MM drafted her essay, I made a couple of suggestions, she revised and submitted. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I didn’t see anywhere on the site that applicants are only allowed to enter once, so if you don’t succeed…well, you know.

So get on over there  and apply, or pass this along if you know someone who could use this.

~Mom