My Scholarship Search Journey


Javier Sarmiento Jr

Javier Sarmiento, Assistant Opinion Editor

I am working hard, I am dedicated, and I am manifesting that I will be at BVU in January. I am dedicating this fall semester to applying for as many scholarships as I can. I started this plan in mid-August when it was clear that I wouldn’t be on campus for this fall.  I simply can’t travel to Buena Vista University, a college in northwest Iowa, without scholarships.  I am a college senior, and I want to spend the last year of my educational career on campus with my classmates, not via zoom.

I come from poverty. I live on food stamps and in public housing. Student loans aren’t an option because it takes 10 years to pay off a student loan and the monthly payments that are attached to it. I don’t want to put myself or my family in that burden to constantly pay monthly for loans when they already have nothing to give. College is expensive enough, and I want to put myself in the best position possible to NEVER take out a loan. I want to physically socialize with my classmates, get involved in extracurricular activities, and truly experience campus life. BVU has a great digital media program where students can get hands-on experience in the field that they want to be in as a producer, editor, writer, etc.


Additionally, over this past year I have made relationships with people across the university with my involvement in clubs and organizations. I am a member of The Tack Online, (BVU’s Multimedia news organization) Black Student Union (BSU), Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ) and I am a student member of the National Association for Black Journalists (NABJ) as well as the National Association for Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). BVU has everything I want in a university in getting involved along with the supportive atmosphere.


I applied for numerous scholarships, like the Juju Smith Schuster Foundation scholarship, Extra Space scholarship, Amplify Digital Storytellers scholarship, Juan Andrade Jr scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders scholarship, Art of Giving scholarship, Anosh Ahmed scholarship and hundreds more. After submitting my applications, I spent every other day wondering if I was chosen as a winner. This went on for 3 months until the day before the winner was announced. Then I got the emails detailing the winners had been chosen and thanking everyone for their applications. The easy part of the application process was writing essays and proofreading them. The difficult part was waiting for the decision to be made to see if I had won or not.  I never doubted myself because I am a positive person and I knew if I kept applying, I was guaranteed to win one or more. I surprised myself because in this scholarship application process with so many rejections, I could’ve stopped and called it a day. But that isn’t the person I am, and my hard work has paid off so far. In the last 3 weeks, I won 2 scholarships back-to-back. I won the Anosh Ahmed scholarship, which awards students who have gone through hardships and continued with their education. I recently won the Art of Giving scholarship on, which I didn’t think I was going to win as I have applied for many scholarships on their site and didn’t win until recently.


For students that are in the same position as me and looking for websites to apply for scholarships, I highly recommend,, Fastweb,, JLV College Counseling,,,, and I won a scholarship on and I am a finalist for the Lindsey Vonn Scholarship on, so I’m proof that these sites work.

Sarmiento featured as a scholarship recipient.


This process built my character as I learned to not let rejection get in the way of your blessing. If you keep applying and believing, eventually good things will happen. I think college should be more affordable for everyone to achieve their dreams. Even though it’s expensive, I have persevered, and I’ve learned to overcome adversity.