Essence of success was a conference for aspiring African American students at UW. Students from all over the state came together to see UW and understand its values for students of color. It made sense to have Rainier Beach was in attendance! The Vikings attended and made sure to let everyone one knows they were in the house.
The day started off with breakfast and the UW president giving a motivating speech. This helped students understand what it means to be a student of color at UW, the support you get and how you aren’t alone. Coming from beach this was really nice to hear, and gave students hope that they will have the same support at beach or similar one.
The day continued with a financial aid workshop, hosted by one of the 12 financial aid counselors at UW. This workshop was really beneficial, students learned many things about the FAFSA and getting money to attend college. First things they learned were the key words that one should know during the financial aid process. Some of these terms are cost of attendance and its key components. These components were the direct and indirect cost of attending college. The direct cost was tuition, dorms and food. Indirect costs would be your books and living expenses. The financial aid workshop, helped us understand who and how to pay for these costs.
Another important factor we learned in the financial aid process was the EFC; which is the expected family contribution. This means what your parents can contribute to you attending college. This will be subtracted from the cost of attending the school and that will be your financial aid. The financial aid will be a mix of federal grants, the institution you will be attending grants and loans.
Some schools like UW, are financial need base schools, meaning they pay for everything that the FAFSA can’t pay for. Which is called the husky promise at UW, to get the husky promise; the rules are that you are a Washington state resident, meet current eligibility for state grants, and must be pursuing a bachelor degree. If granted you also have to maintain your grades.
After the financial aid workshop, we attended a department fair. This fair had all the departments that had all the majors in the school. Each one had a representative of the department and a student to share the experience. This allowed students understand the majors and opportunities UW brings and ask any questions they had about their major.
After the department fair, it was lunchtime! The food served was sandwiches, salad, some cookies and of course a drink! During the lunch students got to interact and discuss goals outside of high school and the colleges they were applying too with other students and understand their competition.
After lunch it was time to hear from current UW African American students and hear about their experiences attending there. The student panel had a variety of students with different experiences and majors. Everyone in the room could relate to them. Students got to ask questions and understand the support system these students have.
After the students panel, we were divided into two groups. One group was sent to start working on their personal statements and the other group was sent to take part of this scavenger hunt.
The scavenger hunt was basically a fun tour. You had to go to key places in the campus and take a selfie by it. The team that completed the scavenger hunt first got to win a special prize!
The personal statement workshop was really useful and helpful. Students got to have admission counselors read their personal statements and got to get advice from them. They also had student ambassadors to give advice and help edit their personal statements.
Some of the advice we got on our personal statement was to make it about ourselves and not too focus too much on the people we are mentioning, such as parents and our role models. We were also reminded that this was one of the only things that colleges can understand the real you outside of your GPA and test scores. The personal statement is a platform for students to talk about themselves and explain to colleges why they should be admitted.