Scholarship changes coming to CCC: Are they for the better?

A blonde student sitting at a cafe table, looking at a laptop. The screen proclaims that Clackamas Community College scholarships are available.

A student looking at CCC scholarships.

By Gabriel Elmosleh
News Editor

 

With the end of the term right around the corner, continuing and prospective students already have an eye toward applying for scholarships for the fall 2024 term at Clackamas Community College. However, changes made to the scholarship process at CCC now require applicants to submit three essays, instead of just one.

“In the past, things like GPA could be used almost overwhelmingly to determine if a person should be a scholarship recipient,” said instructor Adam Wickert, a scholarship and student success analyst at CCC.

“One of the things I know, working with students I’ve taught in classes here at the college since 2016,” Wickert said, “is that GPA doesn’t tell the whole entire story of a student. In fact, many times GPA will only tell you they have support at home and know how to use resources we’d love to see students use, like the Writing Center, advising, and tutoring services but on the other side of it, we want to know more than just their grades, and our donors do too.” Wickert explained the kind of responses application essay readers will be looking for in these additional essays.

“One of the big things making that change,” Wickert said, “is going from one required question that just asks them about their goals and what they want to achieve to now asking them that, but also what challenges they’ve had to manage in their lives. How they’ve overcome them. Asking them questions on how they’ve made a difference in their community and how they’re making their community better. Letting them define that community is really designed to get a full picture of the student and see what they’re bringing to the table.”

According to Wickert, the philosophy around rewarding scholarships has changed. Clackamas wants to use more scholarships to help students who are close to graduating, to help push them one more time so they can reach the finish line and graduate.

Importantly, more readers are being brought in to read application essays and grade them. The readers are current and former faculty, former students and volunteer community members. Foundation members and members from the Foundation’s board are also encouraged to read essays.

New questions have been prepared and a new rubric has been created with a simplified grading process in order to be transparent for students. Students who are rejected for scholarships are given the contact information of their reader in their notification email so they can reach out and ask for feedback on their essay.

The CCC Foundation has been the driving force behind these changes. Post Covid, the Foundation is reportedly prioritizing students over fiscal values, and trying to be less impersonal.

“The last few years, especially in light of Covid 19, we know students have high needs,” Wickert said. “Our application numbers keep going up. We had 1,200 scholarship applications last year. We know that the reality for our students is changing.”

Gabriel Elmosleh

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