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Essay key in scholarship applications

Submitted by Alexis Williams on November 19, 2012 – 2:23 pmNo Comment

Although patrons donated more than $1.3 million in private scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year, there is still competition within the scholarship process.

But students can take conscientious measures to give their application a fighting chance. Financial Aid Advisor Stephanie Conrad stresses the importance of turning in a good essay with scholarship applications.

“The private scholarship admissions process is very competitive,” Conrad said. “We received 500 applications but we were only able to award 10 percent of those. An impressive GPA and ACT score alone do not guarantee acceptance.”

US News and World Report: Best Colleges of 2013 states in-state tuition for the 2012-2013 year at UALR is $6,854 (and over $15,000 for out-of-state) and room and board is $8,755.

Buying books will tack on an additional $1,547, according to  leading college search engine That makes the final price tag for a year on campus about $17,200.

It’s no wonder nearly 83 percent of UALR students apply for need-based financial aid, but UALR could only meet the complete needs of 12 percent of these students, according to the report.

Conrad said a student’s essay is the one chance to make a memorable impression on scholarship reviewers.

“Writing a well-brainstormed, well-developed, and well-revised essay is single-handedly the most proactive step an applicant can take to improving his or her chances for acceptance,” she said.

The Writing Center is available to help students who may be struggling with their essay.

“We encourage students to take advantage of the Writing Center,” Conrad said. “You’d be surprised how many essays we receive that simply fall short with frequent grammatical errors.”

Financial Aid has posted approximately 1,200 available scholarships, which are a mix of both general and departmental private, according to Conrad.

One hundred scholarships are considered general private, for which the appropriate application must be completed. Those accepting the general private application are the Alumni Association, Phyllis Keltner Scholarship for Women, athletics, and various developmental scholarships.

The Foundation Fund Board Scholarship is available for full-time, entering freshmen only. This scholarship requires completion of the common scholarship application. There is also a new merit-based aid option for eligible applicants.

Upcoming deadlines will be posted December 2012. For more information students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with Stephanie Conrad in Student Services or visit


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