Scholarships Key to College Selection


Rebecca Omorodion, Staff Writer

During January, senior and National Merit Scholar Ian Cook received a letter saying he earned the Academic Excellence Scholarship from The University of Texas at Dallas.

The scholarship covers full tuition, $1500 a semester towards on campus housing, an additional $2500 in pocket money and if Cook stays in school for two years, he will receive $2,000 a semester to study abroad.

“I’m honored, and I feel really fortunate, but less excited,” Cook said. “I’ve always had a hard time getting excited about money.”

In addition to The University of Texas at Dallas’ offer, Cook received academic scholarships from The University of Houston, Oklahoma and Arizona. What really made UTD stand out is Cook’s campus visit. Cook liked that the UTD did not give him any VIP treatment while touring the campus.

“The University of Houston’s offer was very tempting,” Cook said. “Seeing how well [UTD] treats their students really left an impression on me.”

Cook’s parents were even happier than he was after seeing the scholarship offer from UTD. Cook’s mother put the letter on their refrigerator and refuses take it down.

“I’m proud that he used his natural abilities and intelligence, but more that he applied himself the extra amount to accomplish what very few do nationwide,” Cook’s father said.

In the fall of his senior year, senior and varsity soccer captain, Blake Brown committed to attending Yale University, and therefore accepted their offer to pay for the majority of his schooling. Since Ivy League universities do not give athletic scholarships, Yale put together a financial package in consideration of academic records and other circumstances. In order to keep the scholarship, Brown must maintain his grades and represent Yale in a positive manner on and off the field. One of the reasons Brown chose to accept Yale’s proposition is the coaching staff and players.

“The entire coaching staff is exceptional at what they do while maintaining high moral standards,” Brown said. “In addition, after meeting my potential teammates and living on campus with them for several days, I just had that feeling that I knew this team and campus was for me.”

During his junior year, Brown ascertained Yale University had been following him since his sophomore year through the United States Soccer Federation Development Academy. Yale invited Brown to their college ID camp, and two weeks later they asked Brown to play for them.
“After committing, and attending an official college visit, I fell in love with the coaches, team and campus life,” Brown said.

Before Yale University revealed its offer, Brown communicated with California Polytechnic University, Colgate University, Drake University, Villanova University and several other universities across the country. However, Yale asked for a verbal commitment first. After he made his decision, Brown informed the other coaches he committed elsewhere.
“Realistically, I could never see myself turning down a dream of mine such as attending Yale,” Brown said. “I had a dream to play Division I soccer, and obtain the best education possible; Yale offered both of these and more.”

Although Brown received his scholarship offer early in the fall, he still had to apply and be accepted into Yale. The admissions criteria had to be based solely on academics, testing and teacher recommendations. The application took several hours, and included nine essays and an interview. Athletics could not be a reason for admission.

“The admissions process was very detailed and stressful,” Brown said. “To this day, the stress of Yale is ever present.”

Brown learned of his acceptance into Yale University on December 15, therefore solidifying his scholarship offer. However, every grading period Yale contacts Brown requesting grades, and the slightest slip up could repeal his admission.

“The feeling you get whenever you go to the Yale admissions website, and hear the Yale fight song play is indescribable,” Brown said. “The opportunity had me at ‘hello’, the scholarship made it happen.”