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What You Need to Know About Applying for Scholarships

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  • 7 min read
Are you ready for scholarship season?

With the cost of education on the rise, it’s more important than ever to plan ahead for tuition costs. According to the CollegeBoard, the average cost of in-state tuition at a 4-year Oregon college or university was $12,251 per year in 2022 (just over $27,000 for out-of-state students nationwide) and private universities averaged about $38,000 in 2022. Add books, room and board, and other incidentals and it’s no wonder that over 85% of students receive financial aid.

That is why Maps Credit Union and our Maps Community Foundation are proud to announce a series of scholarships for deserving students in our community who attend an accredited public or private college, university, community college, or technical school. This year, Maps will distribute over $50,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from Marion and/or Polk schools who demonstrate excellence in academic achievement and community leadership as well as those who share our commitment to lifelong learning. Scholarships range from $500 to $3,500 and are applied to first-year experiences.

If you or someone you know will attend a college, university, or technical school in 2023, now is the time to apply because the deadline for Maps scholarship applications is March 31, 2023. To inspire you, we’ve got some tips on applying for these (and countless other) scholarships.

  • Organize your applications. Prioritize your applications by due date and keep track of them in a spreadsheet, Google Doc, or folder. It’s never too early to organize your applications. You won’t be able to apply for some scholarships until your senior year, but others you may be able to apply for as early as your freshman year of high school. 
  • Read through all the details. It’s tempting to rush through the process—especially when you are juggling school, activities, and college prep, but it is important to take the time to check and double-check the details. You don’t want to waste their time (or yours) with an application for a scholarship you don’t qualify for and, more importantly, you don’t want to risk being denied because you failed to include an important element.
  • Build a scholarship toolkit. If you apply for a lot of scholarships, you are going to need a lot of the same items for each application. Collect the common things you’ll need in one place for easy access. Items to include in your toolkit may be copies of your transcripts, letters of recommendation, a completed FAFSA, a Student Aid Report, and a recent photo.
  • Create a thoughtful, creative application video. In a video application, you only have a few moments to make a good impression. Choose a location with good lighting and no background distractions. You are the important part of the story, so the focus should be on you. Practice your script and record yourself a few times to get the best take. For inspiration, check out some examples from our 2022 winners below.
  • Don’t skip the small scholarships. A $500 scholarship may seem like pocket change in the face of a $30,000 tuition bill, but every bit adds up (Plus, a few hundred dollars can cover textbooks for one or two classes.).
  • Apply for the obscure scholarships. Look for niche scholarships related to your interests and hobbies. The awards are likely to be smaller, but the field of competitors will also be smaller. Plus, you may be able to find awards for talents and skills you already have—even if you don’t plan to pursue a career in the field.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Spelling, grammar, and sentence structure are important, but it’s also important to make sure you get your point across clearly and concisely. If you submit an essay, have someone else read it (or read it out loud to yourself) to see if what you have written flows smoothly.

We are invested in helping our student members pursue their dreams and navigate through life’s defining moments. Last year, we had an impressive group of applicants from across Marion and Polk counties who shared their academic achievements, community involvement, and future goals with the selection committee. The creative videos those applicants sent us (see below) highlighted their personal stories and detailed how a Maps scholarship could help make their educational dreams a reality.

Apply now! The deadline for our 2023 scholarships is March 31, 2023, and we are so excited to meet this year’s applicants!

Stephanie Urenda, Our 2022 Phil Frey Memorial Scholarship Winner

Examples From Our 2022 Recipients

Stephanie Urenda of McKay High School was the recipient of the Phil Frey Memorial Scholarship. Stephanie plans to study civil engineering at Oregon State University. Click here to see clips from her application video and the moment when we surprised her with her scholarship.

Aracely Salazar Cervantes of North Salem High School was the recipient of the Gordon Sawser Memorial Scholarship. Aracely plans to major in Business Management at Portland State University. In her application video, she caught our attention as she spoke with heartfelt honesty about her life and hopes for the future.

Caleb Mitchell of South Salem High School was the recipient of the Earl Littrell Scholarship. Caleb plans to study Economics and Business at University of Oregon. His application video was a compelling picture into his life as he shared how he believes an education could help him have a greater impact on his community.

Ava Silbernagel of Regis High School was the recipient of the Maps Credit Union Scholarship. Ava plans to study radiology at the Oregon Institute of Technology. In her application video, Ava is well-spoken and clear about her accomplishments and what she plans to do with her education.

Brody Whetzel of Sprague High School was the recipient of the Maps Credit Union Scholarship. Brody plans to study Education and History at Boston College. In his application video, we get a dynamic look at his school, his experience as student body president, and his plans for the future.

Yasmeen Ochoa of Central High School was the recipient of the Maps Credit Union Scholarship. Yasmeen plans to study Science and Nursing at Chemeketa Community College. In her application video, she draws from her life experience to deliver an impactful statement about what she hopes to gain from her education.

Isabel Swain of North Salem High School was the recipient of the Maps Credit Union Scholarship. Isabel plans to study Civil Engineering at Portland State University. In Isabel’s application video, she literally takes viewers on a walk to demonstrate how an education could help her put her ideas into action.

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