Dear Seniors and Parents/Guardians,

    I hope this message finds you well.
    I know that the current circumstances that we all face are particularly stressful and anxiety provoking for seniors. This is the time of year that you are beginning to make decisions about your future plans and many students are concerned about financing college.
    As the scholarship chair, understandably, I have been getting many questions about scholarships.
    Here are a few things to keep in mind about scholarships:
    For the scholarships that were listed in the scholarship packet, and to be decided upon by the SHHS scholarship committee, the committee will meet remotely, and will make scholarship decision as we typically do. 
    For the scholarships posted in the previous month or so that directed students to return their applications to me (ex: South Hadley Historical Society, Cardinal Cushing, Matthew Baran), please do not worry about the deadlines at the moment, I will work with the administration to devise a plan for the applications to be submitted.  Use this time to complete your applications and monitor your email so that I can make sure that you get updated submission information. I am in the process of reaching out to my scholarship contacts to find out how they would like to move forward.
    For the scholarships to which you apply directly to the organization (ex: Community Foundation of Western MA), please check each organizations' websites-- many have extended their deadlines. (Ex: Community Foundation is now due 4/17.)
    Transcripts: I can supply any student who needs one an electronic copy of their transcript.  Students, please email me directly in a separate email to request a transcript if you need one.
    Recommendations: For the time being, please email your teacher or counselor directly to request their letter of recommendation if you need it.
    In general, I would never advise that a student plan on receiving enough "outside"  scholarship money (scholarships not awarded by the college)  that it would make or break a decision to attend a given college or university.  It is rare that a student would be able to significantly fund college through outside scholarships.  In other words, you should pick a college that you feel comfortable financing without outside scholarships and any scholarship money you receive is a nice bonus--easing your burden.
    Financial Aid:
    Colleges understand that you and your family may be facing unexpected changes in your income and circumstances.  Many colleges are encouraging accepted students to reach out if your financial circumstances have recently changed.  Loss of a job and/or income, for example, would be a reason a college may reevaluate your financial aid package. Do not hesitate to contact the financial aid offices for assistance and/or to appeal your financial aid package.  You must visit the financial aid pages of each college to find out about the process or to look for contact information. Keep in mind that they are likely working remotely.  Always be polite and professional in your communication.
    MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority) has information about understanding your financial aid package and a webinar for families:
    MEFA Family Webinar: After the College Acceptance  -  4/1/20  7-8 PM
    Other resources:
    Do not forget that you can always Google search for scholarships.
    Think general/think specific--what makes you special that might qualify you for a scholarship, what are your interests, what is your planned major, what is your background?  Ex: Music Scholarships, Nursing Scholarships, STEM Scholarships, Women in Business, Soccer Scholarships.
    Please, never pay for a scholarship service or scholarship application! If you have to pay, it is usually a scam.
    Best of luck and be well!
    Ms. Esempio,
    Scholarship Coordinator

     ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Is a leading online resource in finding scholarships for students to help pay for school. Allows students to complete a free profile then get matched to scholarships and grants they are qualified for from colleges, universities, organizations, and foundations. A national scholarship database where students can create a free account and recieve personalized scholarship matches.