JJC Scholarships Offer Students Support, Confidence

There was a time when Joliet Junior College student Amanda Beaudry thought it would take her ten years to finish her degree.

Estefania Perez presents at a National Honors Conference in November 2013. One scholarship Perez received this year was an $1,000 Honors Program scholarship.

She had just come back to school after being a stay-at-home mom for three years, and because her family was only living on her husband’s income, she could only afford to take one class at a time.

But Beaudry, who now works part-time as an assistant in JJC’s marketing office, didn’t want to wait that long. She knew earning her degree would mean a more successful and fulfilling life for her and her family.

That’s when she started applying for JJC scholarships. In the past two years, Beaudry was awarded nearly $2,000 in scholarship money.

“I should finish my degree in the next year instead of five years!” Beaudry said. “Knowing that there is financial help available, and working hard to earn it has helped me push forward faster. The scholarship will help by letting me pursue school without having to worry about the financial obligations at home. Scholarships have also helped me this semester by allowing me to take three classes instead of just one, putting me closer to finishing my degree.”

Once she graduates with an Associate of Applied Science, Beaudry hopes to obtain a career as an administrative assistant.

JJC scholarships have not only brought Beaudry closer to her ambitions, but they have also given her the confidence to believe that achieving her goals is not a distant dream anymore – it is her reality.

“I’m glad I’m able to set an example for my children that it is never too late to come back to school, and that this is a really great school to start at,” Beaudry said.

There are hundreds of JJC scholarships available to students of all different majors, academic backgrounds and financial situations. The scholarship amounts range between $250 and $4,000. Common uses of scholarship money include offsetting the cost of books, tuition and other fees. More than $700,000 in scholarships was awarded to students last year.

Like Beaudry, JJC student Estefania Perez is grateful for the many scholarships available on JJC’s STARS website, which can be found at www.jjc.edu/info/scholarships.

Perez, who is the first person in her family to attend college, received three scholarships for the 2013-14 school year, earning her $2,620.

Without these scholarships, Perez would be working 25 hours each week at her part-time job in addition to being a full-time student. These scholarships have allowed her to reduce her work hours, giving her more time to study and strengthen her leadership skills by participating in different clubs, such as the honors fraternity, Phi Theta Kappa.

“As I keep going, the classes are getting harder and harder,” Perez said, adding that she’s thankful she has enough time to study. “I’m confident when I apply for scholarships because I have learned to use JJC resources like the writing center and Career Services. These places have really helped me with my scholarship applications.”

Perez has learned a few tricks about applying for scholarships, such as submitting a resume with a scholarship application, even if it’s not required. Perez advises students to get help with their resumes at the same place she did – JJC’s Career Services Center. She also advises students to get their scholarship essays critiqued at JJC’s writing center. Another tip is to call the company with questions about the scholarship application process – because the phone call will make the applicant memorable.

“The more scholarships you apply for, the more practice you get and it becomes easier,” she added.

Perez will graduate from JJC in May 2014 and has plans of either attending the University of Illinois at Chicago or ITT Tech for pre-medicine. She wants to concentrate on hematology, or the study of diseases in the blood.

To begin the scholarship process, or to get more information about scholarships or FAFSA workshops, visit www.jjc.edu/info/scholarships. Students have until April 1 to apply for most JJC scholarships, although new ones will be posted after that deadline as they become available.

Questions can be directed to JJC Scholarship Specialist Julie Allsopp, at 815-280-6620 or jallsopp@jjc.edu.

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