For many women, a college degree is simply not in the cards upon graduating from high school, whether for economic, social or even cultural reasons.
Unless there is a specific career goal in mind, graduating seniors often head straight for the secretarial pool or government jobs. Once marriage and motherhood enter the picture, it can become even more difficult for women to achieve their educational goals.
The Braintree Women’s Club, founded in 1955 as a social and philanthropic organization for the women of Braintree, has created a scholarship with these women in mind. The Women Helping Women Scholarship, with an annual award of $1,000, is designed to assist women that may have delayed entering or are now returning to pursue their degree.
The latest Census data reveals that more and more women are continuing on to higher education. The 2010 Census shows that 30 percent of women ages 25 and older have earned a bachelor's degree and for the very first time surpass men in holding advanced degrees. Locally, 36 percent of all Braintree residents ages 25 and older hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The Braintree Women’s Club, which also awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors, created the scholarship close to 10 years ago to help “mature” women who wished to continue their education but may not have the means to do so.
“We created the scholarship for mature women because we felt that high school seniors and current graduate students have more of an advantage when it comes to receiving scholarships," Committee Chair Geraldine Quigley said.
The Scholarship Committee, led by the past president of the club Quigley and other members, judges the applicants on a variety of factors. Although the essay is oftentimes a deciding factor in the decision process, the applicant’s financial status also plays a large role. To prevent any bias in the selection process all applicant names are blacked out, leaving only the pertinent details of the applicant’s status to be considered.
The scholarship is funded through the many activities planned throughout the year by the Braintree Women’s Club. The Annual Fashion Show, 50/50 raffles held during monthly meetings, yard sales and the like, are the main means of support. The Braintree Women’s Club is also a charitable supporter of many organizations in town, including the , , , and Project Dove.
The one-page application requires the usual information including name, family makeup, and past education. Applicants are required to provide three references and submit a one-page essay explaining their reasons for returning to school. The deadline to submit an application is Saturday, April 7.
To apply, contact Geraldine Quigley at 781-963-6622.