Editor’s Note: Hello! It’s Jacob Ferguson again, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business. If you’re like me each time a new semester rolls around you’re wondering to yourself, how am I going to pay for this? Well here is your answer! The goal of this post is to both remind you that scholarship applications are due on February 1st and to shed light on some of the opportunities that I have taken advantage of in my time here to help financially support myself through college. If you would like to learn more about me please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jacob-ferguson/49/121/998 or follow me on Twitter: @JacobFerguson53.
As a first generation college student I was tasked with the responsibility of figuring out how I was going to pay for my next four years of education. Luckily as a result of my hard work and determination in high school I was fortunate enough to be rewarded with a fairly significant financial aid package resulting in my not having to pay a whole lot my freshman year. I knew it wasn’t always going to be that easy though.
Entering my sophomore year I focused much more on seeking out opportunities on my own that would provide value as well as make paying for my education a little easier. I applied for a House Leader position for the University Honors House and was fortunate enough to get it. This opportunity provided the chance to develop myself both personally and professionally as well as a tuition waiver that reduced the cost of room and board and a free meal plan. I heard about this opportunity from a mentor of mine who had been a House Leader himself and he highly recommended it. I also applied to be a part of the Research Rookies Program here at NIU, which links students with faculty mentors in their major or area of interest to conduct a small-scale research project. This program not only provided me with the opportunity to learn what research looks like in my field but also upon completion I received a stipend. My roommate freshman year was actually a part of this program and after seeing what it did for him I knew I had to do it. In addition, I also got a job with Athletic Communications as a Media Relations Assistant where I performed game day operations for NIU sporting events and earned an hourly wage. The final opportunity that I took advantage of my sophomore year was that I served as a Peer Mentor for Huskie Service Scholars Program which I heard about on the radio if I remember correctly. This is a program that strives to develop a peer network and provide support that enables students to engage in service work on campus and in the community. Like many of the other things I did I was rewarded with a tuition waiver upon completion.
During my junior and senior year I lived off-campus which believe it or not is drastically cheaper than living in the dorms. The only downfall is having to cook your own food. In addition, as a result of one of the previous opportunities I had taken advantage of I was presented with the opportunity to be the Student Manager for the NIU Women’s Soccer Team. In this role, I was tasked with taking their marketing to the next level and assisting the team in any way necessary. My reward as you could guess was a tuition waiver.
Something else that is important to take advantage of is summer jobs and internships. When given the option to sit around all summer or work I would always choose the latter. I have had the chance to do both and looking back can honestly say that not applying yourself for a few months is actually a step in the wrong direction.
The overall message is to take advantage of the endless opportunities that are in front of you to help you financially support your way through college. It doesn’t just stop at scholarships so don’t give up when you get that rejection letter. Work hard and persevere and good things will happen I promise you that. With that being said, NIU Business Scholarships are due February 1st. Stand out from the crowd and apply today!