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YVANNA SAINT-FORT, MHS 2012
Journalism and Political Science, Public Policy minor
When you graduated from MHS, were you financially prepared for college?
When I graduated from MHS I thought I was financially prepared for college but I soon realize that I was not. I thought that I would be able to depend on private loans but once I couldn’t find an eligible co-signer it became a struggle to find money to afford school.
When you applied to MSF, did you already know what college you were planning to attend?
When I applied for MSF I was planning on going to Northeastern University, I spent a year there and I now attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
Why did you want a MSF scholarship?
Throughout the scholarship application process I was told multiple times that the MSF gives out scholarships to people who need and deserve them. They’re given out based on concrete evidence of what a student has done and what they want to do in the future, not by SAT scores or GPA. When I heard that I knew that the MSF was something special and I would have been honored to receive one.
Did finances play a role in your choice of school?
Finances affected my choice of school but not my major. The bottom line is that the cost of college tuition is rising, with no end in sight so that is very difficult to get around. Either you have the money, or you don’t. But I also believe that if you are passionate about something, if you work hard enough to become what you want to become, then your major won’t matter. I hear a lot that majoring in journalism is a bad idea, but I’m passionate about it and working to perfect my skills. Now here I am, having just finished my sophomore year of college with a job in my major; its about dedication.
If you could not have afforded college, what other options did you have?
If I couldn’t afford college I most likely would have worked, saved my money and then taken classes at a community college until I got where I wanted to be.
Can you describe an important or influencing piece of your college experience?
My college experience thus far has taught me the value in flexibility. Long story short, I went from being on my own, in Boston at the school of my dreams, to living back at home, working the job I worked in high school and commuting to school. If I wasn’t able to adapt to what was happening around me, I would have crumbled under the pressure of change. Change can be good and change can be bad, but it’s going to happen either way. The best thing we can do it adapt to it.
In addition to the MSF scholarship, what other types of financial aid or support did you use?
My MSF scholarship is my main source of money for college, but I also use government loans and a scholarship from Rutgers. I pay for other miscellaneous things out of my own pocket.
If you are working, what are you doing now?
Right now I work for a local news website Patch.com, writing articles and posting stories.
Once you complete your studies, what is your plan for the future?
After I graduate I want to participate in the Teach for America program and then hopefully work at a news publication or news television station.
What would you say to current MHS seniors who seek financial aid?
First, be the best you can be. Above all else your reputation and record will speak for themselves and will help you to find a way to pay for college. That being said, explore all options possible. Don’t think that you can just depend on your parents, or loans or scholarships because anything can happen and the situation can very easily get out of control. Also, don’t wait, do everything as soon as possible.
What do you remember best about being at Montclair High School/Montclair?
I’ve always loved Montclair but I loved it more after I left and came back. The best thing about the town and about MHS is the diversity. Other towns and other high schools don’t look like Montclair does, plain and simple. I really value diversity in terms of race, gender, religion and mindset, and that’s because of Montclair.
Please describe any volunteer/community service during high school?
In high school I was very active with volunteer work, I worked with the Montclair High School Key Club, the YMCA of Montclair and the Montclair NAACP Youth Council doing various things like tutoring, organizing food and clothing drives etc.
Please describe any volunteer/community service during college?
In college I have yet to do volunteer work because of time and money, but now that I am adjusted to Rutgers I hope to take part in many community service opportunities.