PHARR – As part of Generation Texas (GenTX) week events, about 40 seniors at three Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD high schools received on-the-spot admissions and 34 of them were awarded scholarships from St. Mary’s University on Monday, Nov. 16. The three high school campuses included PSJA North Early College HS, PSJA Memorial Early College HS and PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College HS.
GenTX is an organization that helps connect students to each other and clarifies the steps they need to take on the path to college and career education, from taking the right classes and tests, to applying to colleges, and then finding the money to pay for school. In addition to having informative workshops and representatives from various universities, students who qualified had the opportunity to be accepted and receive scholarships on-the-spot from St. Mary's University.
For Megan Ledesma, a senior at PSJA North Early College High School who received a $16,000 four-year scholarship, being accepted and awarded a scholarship on the spot was a pleasant surprise.
“I had not experienced an acceptance or an application like that. It felt good to meet the college admission representative and be able to show who I am,” said Ledesma with a smile. “When I got awarded the Presidential Scholarship, that felt really great as well because I don't have a lot of money for college to begin with. It felt really rewarding after all the hard work."
According to Monica Alvarado, the Financial Aid Officer at PSJA North ECHS, meeting one-on-one with university representatives is important for students.
"Today we gave an opportunity for our seniors to meet with the representative, get admitted automatically and learn what kind of scholarships they would qualify for,” Alvarado said.
Melissa Romero, the St. Mary’s University Assistant Director of Admissions, awarded scholarships and admitted students who were doing good academically, showed involvement and met the SAT and ACT requirements.
“We like to see students who are excelling well, if they're specifically majoring in science I like to examine the courses they have taken in their schools to see if they're doing well academically,” explained Romero. “We look at test scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation and even their resumes to determine if they would be a good fit for our school."
In addition to visiting PSJA ISD high schools, Romero said she will be visiting 15 other schools in the Rio Grande Valley throughout the week.
Due to the thousands of admission applications they process each year, the Admissions Director advised seniors to apply as early as possible and complete all the necessary forms on time.
"The sooner students start to apply to different universities, the sooner they will receive a response back,” stressed Romero. “One last thing I'd like to encourage students to do is to complete the FAFSA application starting January 1. Whether it's St. Mary's or any other university, I strongly recommend that they submit that application so we can determine what financial aid they are eligible for."