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Joanna will be keeping our blog posts rolling with the second one of the school year. She will be talking about one of our favorite topics: Scholarships! Read more to find out how to snag yourself some scholarships!

Becas! Scholarships!

Hello everyone. I’m Joanna Beltran Girón an incoming second year at UC Santa Cruz.

I am going to talk about my experiences with scholarships and offer some insight. In high school I did not think it was a big deal because I was granted financial support through FAFSA, and I did not really apply to many scholarships. It turns out that college was more expensive than I had initially thought. I realized I was in need of extra money to pay off personal expenses; things like printing, food, school supplies etc.


Here is what motivated me to apply for scholarships.

Moving away from home humbled me. I began to open my eyes to what my identity and role in society were. I am a Salvadoran migrant, from a single-parent household, first generation college student, and a woman of color! My mom, who is a guerrera-warrior, works a lot regardless of a chronic disease that affects her joint movement. Her disability makes it hard to perform her job to her full potential. In other words, seeing the economic struggle my family went through and is currently going through, is what motivates me to hustle for money through scholarships so that my mom does not have to work as hard.

What are the pros and cons of applying for scholarships?

There are MANY pros about applying for scholarships.

Here is a list:radio

  • Scholarship money lightens your financial burden, which will allow you to focus in school.
  • You get to be a role model for others. Students will reach out to you regarding the application process, interview, etc.
  • Speaking of interviews, these are GREAT PRACTICE for any other position you are trying to get. (i.e. scholarship recipient, intern, employee, tutor).
  • Network! The network you get from being a scholarship recipient is important for your academic, personal and professional growth.
  • It feels GREAT knowing that you set a goal, worked towards it, and achieved it.

There are a few cons I have noticed throughout my scholarship application process. Here is the list:

  • It might seem overwhelming since you already have schoolwork, internship, work, or an organization where you are very active.
  • Attending to your recommender’s office hours, or making an appointment can be frustrating because your schedule might not match the person’s availability.
  • You might not get the scholarship. Remember, the process is what matters. Even if you do not get the scholarship you gain experience and practice!

group shotHow to best prepare for a scholarship application:

  • Go to resume workshops offered at your school. That way you have an updated, neat and clean document to include in your scholarship package.
  • Follow all of the application’s directions; make sure to turn in every document the scholarship is asking (i.e. essay, family income, grades, list of activities, resume, etc…)
  • Communicate with the scholarship chair/committee and ask for questions.
  • Don’t be afraid to get deep, and pour your heart into the writing. Show that you are passionate for the work that you do, and show that you can do a lot more.
  • Prioritize your work. Work on the scholarship essays over an unofficial soccer practice, lunch with a friend, gym, or any other activity that you can postpone without affecting your academic standing.
  • Communicate with your recommenders beforehand, though; it is important you have built a relationship with these people.
  • Enjoy the process! Acknowledge the fact that applying for scholarship can be time consuming but always remember WHY you are doing this, and what MOTIVATES you to thrive.
  • Exercise! Go for a walk, a jog, run, dance, etc.

What scholarships should I apply to? Make sure you are filing an UPDATED APPLICATION (2014-2015)!!!

I have applied to several scholarships throughout my first year of college. Check them out!

  • Chicana Latina Foundation (scholarship recipient)


  • Capture the Dream, Inc. George Geng On Lee Minorities in Leadership (scholarship recipient)


  • Power Poetry – Speak Your Mind Poetry Slam Scholarship


  • Manos de Esperanza Scholarship


  • Shout It Out Scholarship


“When a person of color, a lesbian or a gay man, is sitting in a classroom, s/he is already putting out a lot of energy just maintaining-surviving emotionally and intellectually.” -Gloria Anzaldúa

Above all, I want you to acknowledge your position in society. You are a young student that has a lot to offer to your surroundings. Make sure to take advantage of your education, so take advantage of scholarships as well.

Con ustedes,

Joanna Beltrán Girón, Cohort 5

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