By Christina Diane Espinoza / Staff Writer
By Christina Diane Espinoza / Staff Writer
After using the same scholarship application process for years, Riverside City College decided to improve their outdated ways and enter the 20th century by going green, but this new online process is not without its kinks and has some students and faculty confused.
RCC student Valentin Fernandez needed help from a friend on the new scholarship application process.
“I was confused the whole way through,” Fernandez said. “The problem was that everything needs to be done electronically. If you get money in the end it’s worth it but if you don’t get money it’s not worth it.”
The old process was simple: select scholarships to apply for, fill out a scholarship application, write a personal essay, obtain at least two letters of recommendation and turn all these documents into Student Financial Services department before the deadline.
Some students may think the old scholarship application process was difficult so those students may not be particularly excited about the new electronic method.
Students must visit the RCC website to print forms, apply for the scholarships and complete the scholarship application but it’s not as easy at it sounds.
Here is a quick step by step description of the application process.
Step 1: Obtain a list of all eligible scholarships to apply for.
Step 2: Obtain at least two letters of recommendation or two evaluation forms. The letters of recommendation or evaluation forms must be saved in electronic format by either scanning the original document and creating an Adobe PDF file or using a word document as an attachment via email.
Step 3: Write a 1-2 page personal essay and save the document in electronic format.
Step 4: Complete the scholarship supplement form which must also be saved electronic format by scanning the original document to an Adobe PDF file.
Step 5: Ensure the scholarship supplement form, evaluation forms, letters of recommendation, personal essay and a resume, if desired, are all in electronic format and saved on your computers desktop.
Once students have completed steps one through five they can begin applying for scholarships online.
Because the system is completely new and there was no tests ran before putting the program in place, students might notice a few annoying glitches. The first glitch is so small students may not even see it.
When applying for scholarships you will either be applying as a continuing or transfer student and the new process gives no option for anything in between. As a result, students could be disqualified from a scholarship if they do not double check the scholarship applying for to ensure their application meets the criteria.
Luckily, students can change their application status from either a continuing or transfer student for each scholarship applying.
Also, some instructors have a confidentiality clause which restricts students from seeing what has been written in a letter of recommendation and the new scholarship application process makes confidentiality impossible. This has already caused a major setback for instructors and students alike.
Former RCC work study student for Student Financial Services department, John Wallace, made suggestions for the new process.
“If they had a program where everything could be submitted at one time it would be so much better,” said Wallace. “If there was an option at the end where you could submit extra documents, that would be nice.”
Still, Wallace admits there are some positive attributes to this new technological process.
“It’s definitely easier than having to mail out the applications, write out letters and make copies of everything,” Wallace said.
With the RCC pushing for staff and faculty to go green, students are now pushed to do the same and this is ultimately better for the environment.
Also, students will be able to save money on the new process because they’ll not be required to make copies of their documents for each scholarship applying for.
RCC student, Rebecca Broersma had a positive experience with the new process and explained she was not confused at all.
“I think it’s easier,” said Broersma. “It’s easier this year than last because it’s set up much better.”
RCC’s Student Financial Services Analyst, Paula Farish, explained the reason behind the new process was to simplify the old one.
“There were literally mountains of boxes and papers. It took way too many man hours to sort the applications and with limited office space here, I would take the applications home with me. It simply was not efficient and something had to be done,” said Farish.
Recently, Farish went through the entire scholarship application process online and was able to see first hand, student and faculty concerns. Sounding confident, she explained the data base will be corrected before next year’s application process.
Farish also explained why she supports the new process.
“It saves everyone money and will eventually save everyone time,” said Farish.
So while some may have felt frustrated with the scholarship process this year, one must remember change starts somewhere and possibility next year the process will be much more user friendly for all students and faculty.