Emily Kaplan, MHS Class of ’09
Pennsylvania State University, Class of 2013
Were you financially prepared for college?
I was probably as financially prepared as I could have been at the time. I was fortunate enough to have parents who were both able and willing to share the burden of loans with me, as well as provide college savings they had been working on for many years. For that, I am truly fortunate and understand it certainly put me at an advantage over a majority of college-bound seniors across the country. That said, it’s almost impossible for any 18-year-old to independently afford college.
When you applied to MSF, did you already know what college you were planning to attend? What was the name of the school?
I can’t remember when exactly I applied, but I had a pretty clear idea of the five schools I was interested in early on – Indiana, UNC Chapel Hill, Maryland, Wisconsin, Penn State – and ended up at Penn State.
How does the MSF scholarship help you prepare for college?
The MSF helped me for college because it gave me a safety net and small push to get on my feet before I could think about securing more income (i.e. an on campus job, which is difficult for any college freshman to even think about as they adjust to an enormous amount of changes). While my parents shouldered the bulk of my tuition – only a small percentage of loans were in my name – I was responsible for all living expenses, including books, and that is where the MSF certainly helped.
Why did you want a MSF scholarship?
I wanted an MSF scholarship because it would be affirmation that my hard work in high school was recognized, and also because I knew the money would help me out in my first semester especially.
Did you know anything about MSF before you applied for a scholarship?
I knew little, but not much about MSF before I applied.
Did finances affect your choice of school or major?
Not really. I ended up applying to large state schools, which are less expensive than private colleges, but still not exactly cheap. I was lucky that my parents told me not to think about tuition when considering a school, and that I should focus on the programs they offered and environments on campus.
If you could not have afforded college, what other options did you have?
To be quite honest, not attending college was never really a thought that crossed my mind.
What is your major?
I majored in Journalism.
In addition to the MSF scholarship, what other types of financial aid or support did you use?
I was awarded a small scholarship at Penn State (maybe $5,000 a year, but probably less) and I took out many loans.
Once you complete your studies, what is your plan for the future?
After graduating Penn State, I took an internship at the Boston Globe, then at Sports Illustrated, where I now work full-time.
What would you say to current MHS seniors who seek financial aid?
I would say to not think about college as the large, lumped price tag of a four-year education and totally back off. Rather, apply for any type of aid you can get and know that college is unaffordable for everyone and it may take many years to chip away at your loans. But apply for everything you can, and when you are in college look for other scholarships offered by the school – this is key – because if you do well, often colleges like to award their most successful future alumni.
What do you remember best about being at Montclair High School/Montclair?
Besides academic communities (I was in CGI) my real passion was in the sports teams, I think largely because of the camaraderie and spirit they inherently provided. I played field hockey all four years and being on those teams provide some of my fondest high school memories.