Scholarship Obstacles | Post 7

By Sarah Fader

Published January 16, 2012

  
I finally applied to graduate school. I faced many challenges, like the GRE, and faced hurdles like scanning my transcripts while looking after my small children at the same time and getting adequate recommendations. Though I already applied to school, a friend and colleague of mine, who also happens to be an Occupational Therapist, offered to write me a recommendation for the Speech Pathology program. I ran into him today, while I was subbing for Pre K, and told him I was applying for Speech next year.
 
“Wait a second, would you write me a recommendation?” I asked him. It sort of just flew out of my mouth, like verbal diarrhea.
 
“Of course!” He exclaimed. “I’d be happy to!” I thought it would be great to have someone in O.T., that I’ve worked with, write me a recommendation, because 1. He is in a similar field to speech, clinically, and 2. He knows how I am with kids.
 
I sent him the recommendation form electronically and went on to my next task, which was to apply for the Department of Education Scholarship in Speech. One of the main reasons that I’m pursuing a masters in Speech is that the Department of Education has a scholarship dedicated to the program. If accepted to graduate school, the D.O.E could potentially finance my entire graduate school tuition.
 
I’ve been obsessively checking the New York City D.O.E. website to see when the scholarship deadline would be posted. There had been nothing for many months.
In December, I spoke to a D.O.E. employee in the Human Resources department on the phone. She told me that I should be able to apply for the scholarship at the beginning of January 2012. I filed that information in my mind, and focused on other practical application matters that I could control at the time.
 
Then, one cold day in December, I was in Blue Sky Bakery with my son and daughter, having a coffee and a carrot blueberry cream cheese muffin. Ari began to talk incessantly about the cookie he was eating, and how disappointed he was that it broke in half. There was a man sitting at the table in front of us pretending to read his newspaper, but smiling a knowing smile.
 
“You must have kids.” I said to him.
           
“I do, a daughter, she’s 18 months.” He said with a smile. Clearly he was entertained by Ari’s antics.
 
We got to talking, and as it turned out he worked for the Department of Education in their communications department.
 
“So what do you do?” I asked him.
 
“Well, I try to manage the communications that go out from the Department of Ed to the employees.”
 
“That’s interesting,” I said “You know, it was a nightmare trying to renew my sub license.”
 
“Really,” he remarked “I’d like to hear about your experience.”
 
We exchanged information, and I vowed, in my mind, to contact him, should any D.O.E. related issue come up in the future.
 
Low and behold, January rolls around, and I’m on the D.O.E. website looking at the speech scholarship application. The application appears to be available online, and the website indicates that the deadline for application is May 2012, so I click on the link to apply. As soon as I click the link for the online application for the scholarship, I receive this message:
 
THE APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM HAS PASSED.
 
In my mind, I’m thinking, but it hasn’t passed! It says on the website the deadline is May 2012. What’s going on?
 
So I contact the guy from the D.O.E. I met while eating my muffin. I send him an email explaining the error message I’m getting when I attempt to apply for the scholarship. He immediately writes back, asking for the exact link to the error message. I oblige, send him the link and he says:
 
“Thanks so much for pointing this out! I’ll get right on it!”
 
He promises to get back to me as soon as possible with a resolution to the website error. In the mean time, I’m terribly nervous that I’m not going to be able to even apply for the scholarship because it will take forever for the D.O.E. website to get fixed.
 
Time is running short, and even if I get into school, I can’t afford to pay for it without the scholarship. I need this man to get to the root of the computer issues, and fast.

 

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