Free money up for grabs

Richard Decker
Staff Writer

The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation has redesigned their scholarship database and launched a new website, Academic Works, for students to search and apply for $350,000 worth of scholarships.

The Foundation has also taken steps to aid students with the scholarship application process with multiple workshops before the Foundation scholarship application deadline on March 16, 2018.

The new initiative is the product of months of work by Scholarships and Operations Coordinator, Kimberly Berry. Berry provided an insight into the administrative side of the new website, as well as the opportunities it presents for current and future students.

For the Foundation’s interface, Berry is greeted upon sign-in with the college’s statistical data and scholarship matches for each student, based on their general application.

“Every single day the entire student files system is sent [to the Academic Works website], and I can see it immediately,” Berry said.
Exploring the interface, Berry states, “Some of these stats are how many students have applied and are accepted to the college, how many students are College in High School applicants and how many could, potentially, based on their current GPA, be Honors program students… and we can target each of these students to find scholarships [tailored to their application and student profile data].”

Berry believes the new website, in addition to its benefits for students, will aid the college in its student enrollment, retention and graduation rates.

The Foundation’s capabilities with the site delve deeper than the homescreen statistics.

“We have the ability to enter specific criteria,” Berry said. “So, say we look at construction scholarships in Rensselaer county, and I can search for construction students at Hudson Valley who reside in Rensselaer county and send them an email saying, ‘Hey, there is a scholarship here for you. All you need to do is apply.’ The hardest part is writing that essay, and that’s not that hard! It is so simple now.”

Current students and accepted college applicants can use their Hudson Valley Single Sign-On credentials to access their individual Academic Works profile and begin their General Application.

The application asks a few questions, like whether the student is a first-generation student, volunteers in the community, is a student athlete or has a non-English speaking background. It also includes one essay on the following topic:

“In at least 250 words, please describe your educational and career objectives and how receiving a scholarship will help achieve these goals. If there is any additional information you want the selection committee to consider, please include it as well.”

Berry’s main concern is ensuring students are aware of and can apply for one or more of the Foundation’s scholarships.

“We are having a series of workshops in the computer lab next to Financial Aid where students can come to, and I’ll be there to help them sign in [to Academic Works].”

Students interested in applying for Foundation scholarships for the Fall 2018 semester can attend workshops held on Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 5. Students who would like help writing their essay can attend an essay writing workshop in the Multi-Purpose Room on the second floor of the Marvin Library on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. or Friday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m.

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