Sunday, September 21, 2014

Seminar advises

Event informs students

The Student Advocate Office (SAO) held its first Scholarship Search 101 (SS101) in the Hancock Welcome Center Tuesday, Sept. 3, giving Liberty students advice and encouragement on how to find scholarships.

Joshua Haley, assistant director, and Timi Plyter, a student advocate at the SAO, both spoke to the students at the event. Plyter was pleased with the increase in attendance.

“We had 42 students show up for our first event, which is far more than we’ve ever had for a first meeting of the year,” Plyter said. “Our previous high for the first event of the semester had been 24 (students).”

According to Plyter, that is a 75 percent increase from previous meetings, and with a show of hands, only a small number of students in attendance were freshmen. Returning students enjoy finding ways to make college more affordable.

SS101 provided students with a detailed outline of institutional scholarships, grants, loans and work-study opportunities.

“I have about six or seven students each week come into my office looking for help,” Plyter said.

According to SS101, many students do not realize the number of outside scholarships that are available. In fact, SAO has 12 binders, all the size of encyclopedias, filled with outside scholarships that are currently available.

“There are scholarships for (anything from) creating a prom dress out of duct tape to a simple 250-word essay,” Plyter said.

Haley also reflected on other helpful tips such as proposal letters and effective online searching.

“I came into the Advocate Office last week in need of help,” sophomore Caitlyn McCready said. “I needed financial aid, but I had no idea what my options were. They told me about the Scholarship Search 101, and I feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I never knew there were so many options out there, and I can’t wait to start exploring.”

Another sophomore, Cameron Williams, said he also finds SS101 and SAO very helpful.

“I’m a pre-med biology major, and I will be in school twice as long as most students,” Williams said.

Williams said he went to SS101 because he is in need of loans and scholarships more than students in other majors.

“Although I’ve received financial aid this year, it is not enough to cover my expenses, even for books,” Williams said. “I came tonight to find more resources, anything to help.”
SAO will hold four more SS101 sessions this semester, which can also be found on SAO’s homepage.

According to its website, all SAO sessions will be held in the Hancock Welcome Center, except the Nov. 12 session, which will be held in Towns Alumni Lecture Hall. The November session will include a scholarship giveaway if more than 100 students are in attendance.

For more information, visit Liberty.edu/sao or visit SAO in DeMoss Hall 2247.

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