Competition didn't deter scholarship hopeful Whitman
Studying hard and applying early for scholarships paid off for freshman Nathan Whitman, who has received four scholarships to Wichita State University.
He began applying in the fall of his senior year of high school, and he didn't discriminate when it came to dollar amount. He applied for every one he could.
"The scholarship process is hectic, but worth it in the long run," he said.
Whitman received the Top Shock scholarship, the Distinguished Scholarship Invitational Top 50 scholarship, and the Presidential Scholar and Sedgwick County scholarships, which total $6,500.
"Some are renewable if I keep my grades high, so I'm studying hard," he said.
Whitman filled out paperwork, did interviews and wrote essays to fulfill the scholarship requirements. He said that having a high GPA and good ACT score helped him, as well.
The DSI scholarship required him to spend a day on campus with other high school students who were competing for the same award. He said he had to work in groups, solve a hypothetical problem and write an essay about himself in a given time limit.
"It was very stressful but satisfying," he said. "The judges and the evaluations of our essays determined who got what scholarship."
Because WSU offered him the most money and carried his intended major, Whitman decided to attend WSU over Kansas State.
"K-State offered me a nice scholarship opportunity, but the majority of the aid would have gone to dorm costs," he said. "WSU is best for my financial situation."
The scholarships have also allowed him to stay debt-free, which was one of his goals. He also liked how friendly the student body and faculty were.
Whitman is majoring in secondary English education and creative writing and plans on becoming a high school English teacher. He cannot wait to analyze literature, see the perspectives of others and then pass that information on to students. He also wants to be an author.
"If I were a published author, I could tell stories that might have impacts to be remembered for years," he said.
In high school, Whitman took drafting classes and met with architectural firms and architects about their careers. He loves being creative, which is part of the reason he was originally drawn to architecture.
"I saw how many limitations and building standards there were in the field," he said. "Their workbook of building codes is about the size of a Gutenberg Bible."
Whitman said he hated moments of his drafting classes and realized how those moments could represent the whole of his life. Instead, he looked into career possibilities such as writing, reading and teaching, which coincided with his special interests.
"I have always enjoyed helping others learn," he said. "Knowing that as a teacher, I will be helping to shape the future of America gives me a feeling of accomplishment that is absolutely priceless."