SBCC Foundation offers nearly a million dollars in scholarships

Marika Cederlund, Channels Contributor

The competition of receiving a City College sponsored scholarship is big, but with the right technique, effort and willingness, every student has a chance of receiving one.

Applications for the next academic year are open on January 6, 2014 and closes on March 3.

Brad Hardison, financial aid director at City College, said now is the right time to start looking for the different opportunities available.

“There are often more students applying than scholarships being offered,” Hardison said. “The most important thing I tell students is that you all have a story, so tell us what sets you apart and what is different about you.”

Scholarships start at $150 and the highest one is the President’s Scholarship of $10,000. Last academic year, the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College gave out 700 scholarships and awards totaling $833,700 to 500 students who were currently studying at the college, or transferring to or from it.

Samantha Bedolla was one student awarded last year.

“I’ve always had a lot of hurdles to overcome. Getting married at the age of 20, having a kid at 21 and deciding to divorce and go to college at 22. I stated what I had to overcome and I think that’s what moved the person who read my essay,” said Bedolla.

Bedolla, 26, is currently studying her last semester at the City College as a sociology major. During her time at school she has been a full-time student, full-time worker and single mom. Last year she received the “Adopt-A-Student” scholarship and awarded $1000, divided into two semesters.

The scholarships can be pretty much used for whatever you want said Bedolla. This year she decided to start working 30 hours a week instead of 40. Bedolla also had the chance to take her daughter to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida for the first time.

“I never really travelled anywhere because my mom was poor. The scholarship has helped me to budget myself and financially reach more goals in my life than I had expected,” Bedolla said.

There are two different kinds of scholarships offered, the City College sponsored and out of college sponsored. The scholarships are divided into general and departmental scholarships. In the departmental ones, studying for a major in that area is often required for applying.

This year City College is using a new electronic software application that makes the application process easier for students. The software is integrated with the student system and uses the students Pipeline information, therefore the students don’t have to answer basic questions such as name and major.

This saves time for the application, but Hardison advices student’s to put at least a couple of hours on the essay. He said it’s vital for students to put enough of time in the searching and not disqualifying themselves.

“Since we don’t get to meet the student, everything that he or she wants to be represented should be in the application,” said Hardison. “Answer what challenges you´ve faced, what community services you´ve done and state what sets you apart from other students.”

For students who want help with their applications, there are many opportunities offered on campus. The Writing Center  can help students with the grammar and content of the essay. Some faculty members at on campus will even allow the essay as a school assignment.

Extra help is also offered for international students. English as a Second Language students can get extra tutoring to understand and complete the application. They get assisted by scholarship coordinators and ESL faculty members help with the essay.

Bedolla’s advice to other students is not to be afraid of applying and not to limit themselves.

“It’s about not being afraid of talking of whatever life changing has happened to you,” said Bedolla. “I think many people are not self-aware of their changes and what obstacles they had to overcome, so they decide not to talk about it. And that might hinder their situation and their chances of receiving the scholarship. For me it was hard, but I made it work.”