By Justin Busby
Students are encouraged to utilize as many resources at Whatcom as possible so they can continue to be successful during college including counseling, the math and writing centers, and the many different ways of getting money through scholarships or financial aid.
The cost of tuition and books alone can set students back an average of $5,500 a year, and that doesn’t include housing and meals. With total costs cumulating to over $13,000, “free” money is an option that anyone at Whatcom can be interested in.
A list of statewide and national scholarships open to applicants this quarter is provided by Whatcom on its website at whatcom.edu/get-started/scholarships. With a wide variety of scholarships and different criteria, there’s sure to be awards for the most unique Orcas.
One of the easiest scholarship options is through the Whatcom Foundation, a community foundation organized to help serve Whatcom Community College and its students through local donors and corporate sponsors. This one process links applicants to more than 50 individual scholarships ranging from $750 to $5,500.
The Whatcom Foundation offers a wide range of scholarships and funding to students, new and current, with around 80 percent of applicants receiving some type of monetary award. Last year, the foundation awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships and general money.
“You do not need to be a high school senior from around here, you don’t even have to be an official Whatcom county resident,” Kate Imus, Program Specialist, said about those who qualify to receive scholarships.
The Whatcom Foundation’s application process is open as of Jan. 25 and closes Feb. 20. More information and the application can be found at: www.whatcomcf.org/community- impact/scholarships/.
The application requires an official transcript, letter of recommendation, and the completion of a few personal statements. The statements are designed for applicants to express their goals for the future and the obstacles they have may overcome to be where they are now.
However, essays and statements can sometimes be deterring for students who don’t have the biggest interest in writing, let alone, writing about themselves. Imus suggests that if students think they might struggle with writing to visit the writing center early in the process.
“We see a spectrum of people and it all depends where they are in the writing process and how comfortable they are. Some people are critical of themselves when they’ve actually written very well,” said Zachary Kemp, who works at the writing center in Cascade.
Kemp has been there for two years and has helped students of all different needs improve their composition, whether they’re taking English 101 or they’re a student returning to school and writing their first paper in years. He says having that assistance helps students break through the mental blocks of writing and raises confidence.
“Whether they need help getting to the next step, or they’re struggling to implement it, that’s where we come in.”
The Writing Center is located in the Cascade Hall 112 and is open from Monday through Thursday 10a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m.-2p.m., with volunteers ready to help drop-ins and plenty of computers for use.