Central graduates, Maggie Winton and Clara Wolcott, with diploma in hand.
There’s no better way to make completing college scholarships fun than grabbing your closest friends, a ton of junk food and a bunch of caffeinated drinks to hold your own college scholarship application party!
That’s what Wagner College student and Central High School alum, Maggie Winton, recommends to 2018-2019 Omaha Public School (OPS) seniors. With many scholarships out there, it is easy to let the process consume you, but working in some social time with friends not only makes it fun, it is a great way to support each other with tips and advice on those essays!
With encouragement from her friends, counselor, teachers and her parents, Maggie applied for several scholarships including those specific to the OPS schools she attended: Washington Elementary, Lewis and Clark Middle School and Central High School. She also applied for the Superintendent’s Super 13 Scholarship, which is funded through the Omaha Public Schools Foundation (OPSF). Maggie received the Super 13 Scholarship through OPSF among other scholarships she applied for to help with college expenses.
“Earning the scholarships definitely helped me pay for part of my college tuition. College is so expensive these days, and any amount of scholarship money helps,” says Maggie. Even if a scholarship only covers a small amount, those funds can be used to pay for textbooks, placed in savings account or can partially cover a semester’s tuition cost. “My piece of advice is to apply for as many scholarships as possible. If there are multiple scholarships that you are eligible for, apply for as many of them as you can,” said Maggie.
Now’s the time! OPS high school seniors should be talking with their counselors, teachers and parents about which scholarships they qualify for and start applying. Maggie said, “I know at Central, they hand out a giant booklet of scholarships, both OPSF and non-OPSF, and I went through and highlighted the ones I was eligible for. While you might not get all the scholarships you apply for, applying for multiple scholarships increases your chances immensely.”
OPSF Executive Director, Toba Cohen-Dunning encourages all OPS seniors to speak with their high school counselors about their post-graduation plans. “OPSF is proud to support those OPS students who are moving on to college and university. We have a broad range of scholarships available which is why it is SO important for students to talk to their counselors now. You might be surprised about how many scholarships you qualify for and we definitely want to make sure you have the opportunity to earn as many of our scholarships as possible,” said Toba.
“Many of our scholarships honor the memory of a student, teacher or administrator. Some are based on the OPS schools you attended or the area of study you plan to enter. All of our scholarships are funded through donations and contributions with zero administrative fees so that the recipient gets every dollar allocated to the scholarship,” said Joe Lecci, Associate Executive Director.
Maggie advises to not let the process overwhelm you, but be vigilant. She said to be careful to complete all the questions and constantly review the information you provide so that you include everything necessary.
Maggie said that completing the scholarship applications gave her an opportunity “to reflect upon my time as an OPS student. All of the OPS-based scholarships required essay questions wherein I had to discuss my experience as an OPS student. Completing these helped me recognize how lucky I was to have such a wonderful public school education experience, and made me incredibly grateful for all those who work at OPS.”
The scholarships that OPSF administers all help OPS student experience broader learning opportunities into higher education, which is one reason that Partners for Livable Communities, a national nonprofit in Washington, D.C, recognized OPSF this November with the Investor in America Award.
About Omaha Public Schools Foundation
Omaha Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) received the 2018 Investors in America award from Partners for Livable Communities, a Washington-based nonprofit. The Investor in America Award acknowledges groups and individuals that use enterprise, vision and creative public/private partnerships to bring new civic assets to our nation’s cities. This award was presented at the National Press Club in Washington DC on November 12 for OPSF’s philanthropic and entrepreneurial work to support the students and teachers in the Omaha Public Schools district, the largest school district in Nebraska.
Past recipients include Parris Glendening, Governor of Maryland; John Snow, Secretary of the US Treasury and Jaime Lerner, former mayor of the city of Curitiba, Brazil.