Marissa Vail graduated from Pittsburg High School in 2020. Since it’s scholarship season at the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas (CFSEK), we caught up with Marissa to check in on her status as a college student and to get her perspective on the scholarship process and being a scholarship recipient.
Marissa recently completed her third semester at Pittsburg State University (PSU) where she is studying Biology with a pre-medicine emphasis and a minor in chemistry. Marissa told us her first 3 semesters “have been great!” She has maintained a 4.0 GPA and has applied to an early admission program for medical school.
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The value of scholarships
While a senior at Pittsburg High School (PHS), Marissa applied for several scholarships. Three of the scholarships Marissa received as a graduating senior were through the CFSEK Scholarship Program, the Short Fine Arts Scholarship, the Get Busy Livin’ Foundation Scholarship, and the Gabriel John Ison Memorial Scholarship.
She learned of the CFSEK Scholarship Program opportunities through the counseling office at PHS. Marissa received an email each time a new scholarship opportunity became available. She found the counselors very helpful throughout her process of applying for scholarships. Marissa encourages other students to “get in touch with your counselors!”
It is Marissa’s opinion that “because of the financial burden school can cause on a student, it’s important to apply for scholarships. Plus, many scholarships are funded by people in the community who care about students and education, and they want to support you. All you have to do is apply. Additionally, if you get enough scholarships, you can use them for housing and food at your university and don’t have to work a part-time job during the school semester. This allows students to focus more on schooling and helps their grades.”
We learned that Marissa currently has little financial burden as a college student thanks to the scholarships she received. Her plan had been to cover the costs of college through FAFSA loans or a lending institution beyond scholarship assistance. “I applied for many scholarships, and I currently do not have any financial burden because of them! The only thing I have to worry about as a student is housing and food.”
Applying for scholarships
When asked how much work it was to apply and if it was worth it, Marissa told us “Applying for scholarships has been unquestionably worth it and I would encourage every student to apply. It doesn’t take that much work to apply for scholarships. The essay portion may be intimidating, but that’s your opportunity to share your story and your goals for the future. My mind is at ease when tuition is due, I am able to focus more on my classes, and I still have time to spend with my family and friends.”
We were also pleased and proud to learn that in some of her spare time Marissa is doing volunteer work in the community.
Marissa summarized her scholarship experience for us, “I was ecstatic and filled with gratitude when I received the scholarships. I really feel supported by the community and feel like they’re cheering me on to complete my education!”