Since he was in high school, Luis Suarez always knew he wanted to attend a four-year university. By his junior year, he was setting aside time to plan out his college goals and criteria for choosing the right school. According to the young scholar, a person can either “spend four years and do nothing, or do something beautiful”. Suarez took the second option and researched for a school that would fulfill two of his expectations: 1.) best school choice for him 2.) a fun learning environment.
After hours of research, Suarez decided on University of Florida’s engineering program. With that big decision taken care of, he then had to tackle another set of questions. Like many high school students aspiring to pursue a higher education, Suarez then had to find a way to finance that goal. How am I going to pay for this? Can I even afford to go to college? Is financial aid available to me?, were a few of the questions that clouded his mind.
But then Suarez remembered the weekly emails his guidance counselor would send to students. These emails contained information on scholarships and aid, and would serve as a starting foundation for his education. In one of those emails was information about the Haz La U scholarship, a competitive program from Colgate-Palmolive and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund that offers 14, awards ranging from $500 to $5000.
“It was a very real thing to have opportunity flying around me,” recalls Suarez. “So I decided to seize it.”
And so he began the Haz La U scholarship application process and put extra care into answering the scholarship’s two essay questions. Within time, he was notified of his award: $2,500 to go towards his dream of studying industrial engineering.
That was two years ago. Now, Luis Suarez is a sophomore and an active member of his university’s student body, involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. As for how the scholarship personally helped him, Suarez says it facilitated him in many ways, one of which is by financing school supplies and tutoring sessions. He also states that it relieved some of his financial stress, which as a college student, is an immense help.
Suarez currently shows his gratitude for the aid by serving as an ambassador for the scholarship program. Speaking from his experience, he advises students to apply for scholarships such as Haz la U and urges them to put much thought into the essay portions. “Convey a message to the reader, as well as diffuse and convey raw emotion,” he states.
Suarez is surely a product of his own advice.
Enrollment for the Haz La U Scholarship is now open. The application deadline is Feb 5. For more information visit the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s page.