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The Way Things Are

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I recently applied for the Simon Scholarship, a wonderful scholarship that helps high school sophomores who have overcome or are working on overcoming adversity get money for college. I made it to the final round, which were interviews. I felt like I did great on the interview; I spoke clearly, answered all questions, and followed all the steps my mom had told me in order to do goon on an interview.

But alas, I did not get the scholarship. I am not in any way bitter over this, because I know that my fellow classmates who did get the scholarship really deserved it. I am extremely happy and proud of them. I am also proud of myself for even making it to the final round. Sure, I was a little bummed out when I got the empty-feeling envelope in the mail, but I was not angry.

After thinking about what could have possibly made them not choose me for the scholarship, I came to the conclusion that it was probably because, although my mom does not get any child support from my dad and that we’re on a tight budget, she does not make below $50,000, which is usually the cut-off point for need-based scholarships. I had every other qualification for the scholarship, but there were other applicants whose families earned way less than mine.

But that left me to wonder: what happens to all the middle class kids like me, who make too much money for need-based scholarships, but don’t make enough to go to college and not have a substantial amount of debt afterwards? And let’s face it: although we all are gifted and have many talents, the world of merit based scholarships is extremely competitive and leaves most of us feeling deflated and doubtful.
We have dreams of becoming doctors, and businessmen, and scientists, but what are we do to when we get out of college with more debt than we could ever imagined? Even President Obama said that he did not finish paying his college debt until he was 43 years old. And in today’s economy, that’s only average.
With college’s rising tuition costs (not to mention the average cost of room and board ranging from $7,000 to $9,000), student debt, especially for the middle class, is only going to get worse. And for many middle class high school students like me, the best we can do is wish and wait.

For more information about the Simon Scholarship, visit www.simonscholars.org



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Grania This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 3, 2012 at 9:29 am
I totally agree with you, and I am in the same situation. But I do not believe the best we can do is wish and wait. The United States is the richest country in the world, and yet it has a young population in crippling debt just because they are seeking education. We need educated young people to lead our country later, and so it is very important that we young people pressure our government to give more funds, and put more emphasis on the importance of education. There are countries in Scandinav... (more »)
 
AriShine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm
I like this article. I am one of those "middle class kids," and I already know that I'm going to run into a few roadblocks when I start applying to colleges. It's nice to know I'm not alone. :)
 
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