The All-USA Community College Academic Team joined the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society to recognize two-year community college students from all over the country with $50,000 in scholarship money. Students of all ages at BC are encouraged to apply. Those who meet the criteria are considered for nomination by a board of faculty, which reviews the essays submitted by students. Applicants passed through to the next level are given a chance to represent their state with the official title of ‘Coca-Cola New Century Scholar,’ which also comes with various scholarships and national recognition.
Katherine Oleson, Bellevue College’s Phi Theta Kappa adviser, chair of the Communications department and one of the faculty who assists students applying for the scholarships, says that certain criteria must be met in order to qualify for nomination: a minimum GPA of 3.5, a U.S. citizenship, a clean academic record and no criminal history. Each student writes a series of essays, including a personal biography: one explaining why they chose to attend community college, and another highlighting personal leadership skills.
A total of two students from each state are nominated for the All-USA Community College Academic Team scholarship. 20 are chosen for the team, and $2,500 is awarded to each. The nominees for the All-USA team are considered for advancement into the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team, which awards students with scholarship money based on their placement in Gold, Silver and Bronze ‘Scholar’ teams. Even if applicants do not make it on to either team, all applicants from the thirty-two community colleges across Washington State are entered into the All-Washington Community College Academic Team automatically. “It’s a wonderful thing on a state level,” Oleson said. “Plus, they’re also competing on a nationwide level, as well.”
Oleson shared what traits are most valued in the applicants they choose. “When we’re looking for nominees, we’re really looking for students who would be great representatives of the college. And that doesn’t have to be on campus—it can be in their local community,” she said. One of the students from last year wrote an essay on their involvement in the Business Leadership club at BC, another on her involvement at her church. Students that do the best are those who are actively engaged and driven, said Oleson. “The idea is that we’re looking for someone that’s done well academically,” Oleson said, “who’s really focused in terms of their goals of the future, who’s been an active leader involved in their community in a meaningful way.”
Applications are open for review until November 14, 2014. Students are expected to have completed 48 credits by Dec. 31, and seventy-two credits by Aug. 31, 2015. Any students wishing to apply are encouraged to contact Katherine Oleson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.