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Wanted: Scholarship applicants

Spring is in the air and the pressure is on for seniors who will be graduating and heading to college this fall.

Many students are busy finishing up scholarship applications in order to receive as much financial as possible, said Susan Rassier, counselor at Park Rapids Area High School.

"Some kids do get quite a bit, up to full tuition at some institutions," she said.

The best place for students to look for scholarships is the school they're going to because they can get academic scholarships, athletics, art, music or leadership, she said.

Also, some schools have scholarships in specific areas of study.

"Whether two- or four-year, there could be someone who has donated money just for kids in that program such as diesel mechanics or nursing," she said.

A lot of scholarships, especially through the institutions, are renewable.

"Some schools will let you stack scholarships, some won't," Rassier said.

Another place she's encouraging kids to look is locally. A list of local scholarships is available on the school's Web site, Click on high school, guidance office and then scholarships.

"It's a pretty nice list," she said. "It's wonderful."

For most of the scholarships, students can just fill it out online and print it off.

"It can't get much easier than that," Rassier said.

Seniors have been reminded that deadlines are approaching but some have procrastinated, Rassier said. Many of the local deadlines are in April.

"We've got a lot of really good area businesses and companies that are interested in supporting local students so that's always nice to see," she said.

Unfortunately, Rassier said, due to financial problems with the recession, some scholarships aren't being given this year or are being given for less money.

"That's very understandable in this recession," she said.

Students should also check with their parents' employers. Some scholarships are offered for children of employees in a company, Rassier said.

Deadlines are very important and students need to be checking for scholarships that they are qualified for and check the deadlines.

It doesn't happen too often, but sometimes no one applies for a certain scholarship so it's not given out, Rassier said.

"It's usually the case where the scholarship is only for a certain field of candidates," she said.

Sometimes scholarships are very narrow in their requirements and want students who are going into a certain field of study. If students haven't made a specific decision on their program or major as of yet they can't apply for those scholarships, Rassier said.

The most important thing is for students to take a little time to look and see what they actually qualify for. Then fill out the application, get the necessary paperwork if needed (recommendations, transcripts, essay) and turn it in, Rassier said.

Spring is here and time is starting to run out.

"You think you're winding down to the end of the year but our students are just starting a new trimester," she said. "Most kids are trying to get things done and get organized."

Students also need to turn in a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if they are going to college. It can help with receiving grants, Rassier said.

After most of the local scholarships are awarded, students will be recognized for their achievements.

Each year, the high school has a senior award day to present scholarships. It is tentatively scheduled for May 26 this year.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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