Let’s Talk Scholarships With Logan Van Winkle

Eve Loehrer and Reese Pope

Mr. Van Winkle is the college adviser at Olathe North

 Q: When would you advise students to start applying for scholarships?

 A: “Anyone in high school can start applying for scholarships. When you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, it’s a lot more difficult to get them because you’re usually competing against everyone in high school because there’s rarely scholarships that are specifically for those grades. [T]he best time to start applying as a senior is probably after you’ve applied to college itself because usually applying to college will open you up to scholarships from the universities that you’re accepted to, whether they’re automatic scholarships or their scholarship database. […] Get into college, then focus on scholarship searching, and I would say the best time to really focus on that is probably from like November to March of your senior year.”

 Q: Where are the best places to look for scholarships?

 A: “To raise your chances to get scholarships, I think the best thing to do is to start looking in specific spots […] Look at the schools that you’re interested in going to, see what scholarships they have available, then look locally, and that’s going to be, for us it’ll be Olathe, it’ll be the Olathe School District, and it will be Kansas City, like the greater Kansas City Metro area. Almost all cities have some sort of local scholarships, and so obviously the smaller the applicant pool, the more likely you are to get the scholarships.”

Q: How can students improve their scholarship essays?

A: “When going through the writing process of scholarship applications, I would approach it two different ways. Number one, I would approach it one at a time. It can be very tempting to work on several scholarships at once but you’re not going to put in the same amount of effort into ten scholarships if you’re working on all of them at the same time as you would if you have one scholarship and you’re just working on that one […] Number two, I would say to keep track of what you’ve written. So sometimes they’ll have you write directly into a database, but I would recommend writing whatever essays you write in a Google Doc, keeping them ready, that way if you are working on a later scholarship and it has a question similar to an essay you’ve already worked on, you can pull that up, you can kind of retool it to work with the specific scholarship, and make your life a little bit easier.”

Q: Who can students go to for help?

A: “If students need help working on scholarships, I am always available. You can find my QR code on any of the many flyers around the school with my face on them. They can also go to their specific counselor, and also they can go to just Xello, obviously that’s not a person, but Xello has a large database of scholarships, some local, some more national, but there are over 200 on there right now for seniors and I know that they continue to update it throughout the year.”

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: “Word of advice for the underclassmen, is if you do start your scholarship search, try not to get burnt out before your senior year because it’s important if you have that motivation, to start looking for scholarships early, however, because it is a little, it’s less likely that you’re going to get a scholarship as a freshman, sophomore, or junior. So I just really want to caution underclassmen to definitely look, put in that effort, but also know that senior year is when it’s really going to hit you hard and you will have a lot more opportunities with a lot higher chance of receiving the money. If you’re a senior and you have not started applying to college yet, I would definitely work on that because you have to, the earlier you get accepted to college the more likely you are to receive scholarships from college.”