Manila, Philippines

Open Letter to Hardworking Parents: Apply for Scholarships

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Dear Hardworking Parents,

If you want to have a chance, take a chance.

If you want (your child) to have a (better) chance, take a chance (for your child).

College by Tax Credits, on Flickr
Do not hesitate to apply for scholarships in prestigious schools, such as UP, Ateneo, DLSU, UST, or any reputable school for that matter. Especially if you think your kid has a big potential, but your wallet and pocket has a smaller capacity at the moment.
Modesty aside, yours truly is a product of 8 years of (financial) scholarship with the country’s best Blue school (high school to college). No we are not rich (read other articles under Scholar’s Archives), and to be frank about it, I might have ended up studying in a public high school and college (no offense meant here). Should have been good if ever (I was a hardworking student anyway), but things definitely turned for the better. A lot better. Probably really destined for something greater.

It started when a blessed chance came. When I was in Grade 5 in a public school, Tulong Dunong (TD) came, not really to offer me a scholarship, but just to offer additional knowledge via weekly tutoring in our public elementary school in Marikina. TD is part of Ateneo High School’s curriculum wherein their senior students go to public elementary schools weekly to tutor basic subjects. In return, this should serve as formation, eye opener and various values-building for Ateneo students. Was fortunate enough to be included in the limited set of kids who were allowed to take entrance exams in Ateneo High School (for boys), Miriam College and St Scholastica (for girls). You know, just for a shot at it. Who knows right?

And God-grateful, was able to pass the entrance exam. Then Ateneo was kind enough to grant me (and us) scholarship as well. The entrance exam is generally the same, maybe just a higher passing mark. Not sure. And maintaining grade is not that steep, at least based from my experience a decade ago. Just need to avoid any failing grade, just like a normal student should. Upon finishing high school (it was lot of hard work and blessings given limited resources), I was then bold enough to try for Ateneo College scholarship. And God was too kind to me (and us) once again. And the rest is history that continues to unfold.
My point here is that, for those targeting these known private schools (or science schools) for their children, always inquire about scholarships, whether academic (for super bright kids), or financial-aid (for bright kids with brighter future). There are a wide variety of scholarships: 100% tuition and fees, with or without allowance, 50%, 25%, etc. Not all of course are granted such privilege, but then again, if you want to have a chance, take a chance. Remember that luck is the offspring of opportunity and preparedness.
The scholarship application to these schools will still undergo screening anyway (e.g. interviews, home visits, submission of documents, etc) so just give it a shot. And who knows. Actually, from what I have observed, there are more scholarship options, benefactors and programs for college education, more than for high school. Sponsors are not just the schools per se, but lots of companies, philanthropists, foundations  and even government institutions (e.g. DOST, LGUs) have their own scholarship programs. Maybe because college is more expensive, or more crucial to one’s employment / self-employment chances? And note that your kid need not be from Tulong Dunong or a public school or whatever. Let the schools decide whether your kid gets a slot on the scholarship. So give them the chance by applying for one, give it a shot. Don’t be shy to admit your current financial limitations. It would be more disheartening actually if you did not fight for your child’s education and regret it later on. Yes the school is just part of the many factors to a child’s success, but in the country, it is surely a big factor.
Education is getting more expensive. Aside from preparing for our kids’ future tuition via long-term investments, be resourceful as well in inquiring about potential financial aid and scholarship for your kids. Don’t be shy, it’s your kids education and future that is at stake. So by the time you get an admissions application form from these schools, ask for another form: scholarship or financial aid or whatever form they call it.

Work hard AND work smart.

*Scholar’s Archives are preserve-memory posts of the contributing authors’ student and scholar days. They are about experiences in general as a scholar, as a student, while still studying in Ateneo in particular, and how wonderful and blessed those years were. Would like to share and reflect on the impact it has brought and continues to bring not just in our lives but in the lives of our scholar friends, our families and beyond. These are not meant to illicit pity from you dear reader, and definitely not meant to brag either. Rather, it hopes to inspire other people, somehow educate and encourage readers who can relate.

Experiences to reminisce, get more insights and more hindsight, after all, this is a site for every Juan.

Photo: College by Tax Credits

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