Key to a successful life

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Funding My Future: College & Beyond

     Education is the key to a successful life. Throughout our lives starting at a very young age we are told we are going to college. We think about college, we see people go to college, and we worry about college. However, we don't actually sit down and research how much money we have to have, and the process we have to go through to be accepted in college. The college I plan on attending is UT Martin; it is located in Martin, Tennessee. Martin is a 4-year public University, where you can earn either a master's or bachelor's degree.

     When filling out an application for Martin you must meet at least one of many pre-requisites. One of which is a composite score of 21 or higher on the American College Test, or ACT, and a high school grade point average of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale. If your ACT score is not high enough, you can make up for it with a higher GPA. With an ACT score of 18, acceptance into Martin is possible with a GPA of at least 2.85. For these options, you must have state accreditation. Without it, you must score a 21 on the ACT and have at least a 2.85 GPA, or have scored at least a 500 on the GED (utmartin.edu).

     While attending Martin I plan on majoring in psychology. Martin offers a wide variety of Psychology courses you can take. Anything from General Psychology to Physiological Psychology is offered. However, there are some courses required to obtain your degree. When deciding upon a Psychology degree there are two different ways you can go a minor which requires less hours or a major which requires more hours. I plan on majoring in Psychology when I attend Martin “The major in Psychology is designed for students who want to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree and attend graduate or professional school, or enter the workforce in a variety of applied areas, including mental health, drug rehabilitation, business, industry, or human resources.” (utmartin.edu) 39 hours of psychology must be obtained in receiving a major.

     There are many expenses for attending and living on a University campus. There are food plans, books and supplies, dorm fees, and tuition fees, which you either pay for or get scholarships for them. Martin's tuition and fees per semester usually range from $2000-$3000, dorm rooms usually range from $1,195 - $1,250, books and supplies are usually around $600, and your meal plan is usually around $1,262. The estimated cost per semester is $5,843, and per year $11,686. Although college can add up to expensive prices there are many scholarships and programs that can help with the expenses.

Tennessee Hope Scholarship

     The Tennessee HOPE scholarship stands for Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally. The HOPE program is state funded and it awards scholarships, grants, and loan interest to those who qualify. The amounts given are $4,000 for 4-year colleges, and $2,000 for 2-year colleges. To qualify for the HOPE scholarship, one must have attained a minimum of a 21 on the ACT, and an overall weighted minimum of 3.0 GPA. This scholarship is renewable every year.

Coca-Cola Scholars Program

     The mission of the Coca-Cola Scholars Program is to “provide scholarship programs and enrichment opportunities in support of exceptional young peoples' thirst for knowledge and their desire to make a difference in the world” (coca-colascholars.org). There are a number of eligibility requirements one must meet to apply for the program. One must be pursuing completion of a high school diploma at the time of filling out the application; one must also be planning to pursue a degree at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution. One must also be carrying a minimum 3.00 GPA at the end of the junior year of high school (coca-colascholars.org). There are many rounds which you must go through before obtaining the scholarship. In mid-November 2,200 students are chosen as Semifinalists, after making this round one must complete a number of essays, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. By mid-February 250 finalists are chosen to go on to the last round and are invited to Atlanta for the interview phase. The finalists are interviewed by a selection committee consisting of leaders in business, education and arts, and government. After the personal interviews 50 students are chosen to receive the National Scholar award which is $20,000 for college, and 200 students are selected as Regional Scholars which is $10,000 for college.

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program

     “The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program is intended to promote student excellence and achievement and to recognize exceptional students who show promise of continued excellence.” “The award is based on federal funding.” “Recipients are randomly selected” (tn.gov/CollegePays). There are many requirements one must meet to become an applicant of this Honors program. One must be a Tennessee resident and meet all citizenship requirements. One must also be graduating from high school or be receiving a GED no more than one year prior to the award (tn.gov/CollegePays). One must hold a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or a 3.0 GPA. The last two requirements are as followed one must have a composite score of 24 on the ACT or 1090 on the SAT, or have earned a GED score of 570 or higher, and be planning on attending a full-time accredited institution in the US. Awards are made in equal installments each term throughout the academic year (tn.gov/CollegePays).

Ned McWherter Scholars Program

“The Ned McWherter Scholars Program is intended to encourage academically superior Tennessee high school graduates to attend college in Tennessee. Tennessee high school seniors starting their last semester in high school may apply” (tn.gov/CollegePays).

While researching the McWherter Scholars Program I came to the conclusion that there are many requirements one must meet to be eligible for this scholarship. The first requirement one must meet is you must be a Tennessee resident and a U.S. citizen. One must be planning on attending a college or university in Tennessee full time. GPA is very important in being eligible as well one must have a 3.5 unweighted cumulative GPA. The ACT also plays a big role in making one eligible for this scholars program. One must have achieved a 29 composite score on the ACT. “An applicant may receive extra credit for honors or advance placement courses and leadership in extracurricular activities while in high school” (tn.gov/CollegePays). One must have an official high school transcript, and an official ACT score for your application to be considered complete. This scholarship is worth $6,000 per year. “Awards are made in equal installments each term throughout the academic year” (tn.gov/CollegePays). Unlike most scholarships this award can be renewed three times for a total of four years. “Awards are made in equal installments each term throughout the academic year” (tn.gov/CollegePays). As you can see there are many state funded programs and scholarships available for the graduating seniors in Tennessee. There are a lot of eligibility requirements one must meet, but if you work hard in school anyone can be eligible for these scholarships.

Harold Conner Scholarship

     The Harold Conner Scholarship is a program offered by the University of Tennessee at Martin. The Harold Conner scholarship is offered to Tennessee High School Graduates. There are once again many requirements one must meet to be eligible for this scholarship. The first being one must have a minimum of a 21 on the ACT or above and a GPA of 3.25. “Awards will be made on the basis of the high school academic and leadership record and ACT score” (utmartin.edu). To be eligible for this award you must have a continuing GPA of 3.0 at the end of two semesters. Preference will be given to students from underrepresented groups (utmartin.edu).

Beyond College

     Sitting down and choosing a college and choosing the major that is right for one is really hard. People will say that sophomore year is way too early to start thinking about college. However, I don't think so; this will just make my senior year easier. After attending Martin for my four year undergraduate degree in psychology I plan on furthering my education. I want to attend medical school somewhere, and start working on my Medical Doctorate degree. During medical school I plan on becoming a pediatric psychiatrist. I want to be a child psychiatrist because I love helping people and I love working with kids. After I graduate from medical school and I complete my years of fellowship or working under someone, I plan on opening my own Psychiatry clinic. My dreams and aspirations are way beyond what some people think I can do, but with hard work and God's help I think I can achieve it.

     In conclusion I would like to say I think everyone should at least consider going to college. Even if one does not know what they want to do their first two years, one can still start and what they want to do with the rest of their life will come to them.

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