Scholarships, from a student's perspective


As a high school junior and senior, the thought of college tuition was daunting. My vision of attending a private, four-year university seemed to dwindle as I further researched the cost of attendance.  Though my parents did not overtly express similar concern, I’m almost certain that they too wondered how we would afford the increasing cost of education. Nevertheless, they encouraged me to be proactive in reaching out to college admissions counselors for information and to be thorough when writing admissions essays and completing applications.

In my first week as an intern at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation (CRCF), I quickly learned of our community members’ generosity and willingness to help our local youth. In partnering with the foundation, local philanthropists make attending college possible for young people in our area. Pursing scholarships through CRCF and other organizations offering such assistance is a great way for students to open doors to an opportunistic future.

I was fortunate to be awarded a variety of scholarships from my top school, St. Bonaventure University. I attribute the awards not only to my academic ability portrayed on transcripts, but also to my dedication and diligence through the application processes. If I could offer one piece of advice to students in the thick of the scholarship and college admission process it is to be diligent and dedicated through the process. Paying for college is no small task, but if you are dedicated you can make the process a little less daunting. Know that donors, like the ones who established funds at CRCF, did so to help students. There are generous people out there that want to see you be successful.

While embarking on this journey, keep in mind some things that helped me along the way. Building relationships with your prospective schools’ admissions departments will allow you to more fully understand the community of which you consider being a part. This relationship will allow you to put your best foot forward in demonstrating the qualities you will bring to their institutions. In writing admissions essays, make sure to write of the parts of your life that aided in your development as a person. This approach will allow the reader to know you on a personal level, which will add diversity to a very academic admissions process.  Keep in mind that a strong essay and neat application will lend a competitive edge to your standing as a prospective student and scholarship recipient. I encourage you to seek out scholarships like those through CRCF, and work hard through the application process. With just a little extra effort you may be awarded a bit more financial security and peace of mind, and be on to the next, exciting chapter of your life.

Clarice Ambroselli is a marketing and public relations intern at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation. Ms. Ambroselli studies marketing at St. Bonaventure University. A member of the class of 2018, she plans to pursue a career in marketing or public relations after graduation. She is a 2014 graduate of Archbishop Walsh Academy. She loves to travel and sing, particularly classical and Broadway selections.