Searching for scholarships

Laura Cochran

Laura Cochran

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“One important fact to remember about finding scholarship money is that it takes work,” said Pelham High School junior and senior counselor Laura Cochran. “You will have to apply for scholarships in order to earn them. You may have to write essays. You will certainly have to fill out applications.”
Leading three scholarship sessions at the PHS Media Center computer lab on a recent Thursday afternoon, Cochran assisted Pelham High School students and their parents in starting scholarship searches.  Cochran encouraged students and their parents to meet deadlines.  She also encouraged students to begin all applications early and to plan to submit those applications well before the deadlines.
“If you turn in an application written in pencil or with bad handwriting, you knock yourself right out of the competition,” Cochran said. “A scholarship committee will put your application aside if they see that you have rushed through it. Take your time and put forth your very best effort.”
“Even though I can’t find scholarships for you, I can provide you with tools to search for scholarships,” Cochran said. As parents and students logged into computers, Cochran encouraged them to sign up for an online scholarship search service suggesting scholarships.com, fastweb.com and cappex.com.  She also assured them that in early 2015, she, along with counselor Kerry Barber, will host a FAFSA work session at school so that students and parents can complete their federal financial aid forms with assistance.
Cochran encouraged students and their parents to attend the PHS College and Career Night coming up on Tuesday, Oct. 7 from 6-8 p.m. With more than 20 colleges already committed, this important night promises to help seniors make decisions, open important lines of communication for juniors, give sophomores insight into the future and empower freshmen to make choices about their high school experience that lead them to their desired future.
“We had our first scholarship workshops last year with great attendance,” Cochran said. “Parents and students need help with financial aid—and we want to point them in the right direction. We knew we needed to continue these workshops.”