Matt Skolnick, Suffolk graduate, was offered three full tuition scholarships from the Stay on Long Island Initiative Scholarship for fall 2011. He applied to St. Joseph’s, Dowling and Adelphi. He currently attends St. Joseph’s College, with the help of SoLII.
If it wasn’t for the scholarship, Matt said that he probably would have gone to Stony Brook or Farmingdale because they are cheaper, and he plans on going to graduate school. He said that he wanted to go to a private school because their campuses are smaller. He was nervous that he would get lost in the shuffle at a school as big as Stony Brook, and it would be difficult to navigate in his wheelchair.
“The Stay on Long Island Initiative scholarship has allowed me to continue my education at a top four year school in an environment that I feel most comfortable in while staying close to home, all with a much smaller price tag than even a SUNY school,” Skolnick said.
Skolnick says that students interested in the scholarship should get involved on campus and take a leadership role in a club or organization.. At Suffolk, he occasionally wrote for the Compass and joined the English Honor Society Sigma Kappa Delta. Skolnick never felt at home with a club, however, until he joined the Alpha Zeta Nu chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, which is the official honor society of two year colleges. The next semester he became the communications chairperson for the club. He was also the founding president of his high school’s alumni association, and still is today.
He received a letter in the mail saying that President McKay recommended him to the three schools of his choice. In spring 2011 he was in Seattle for the annual Phi Theta Kappa International convention when he got a voicemail from Dowling College offering him a full scholarship. Adelphi offered him a full scholarship a week later. He still had his fingers crossed for St. Joseph’s, which was the school he wanted to go to the most. When he heard that he was also offered the full tuition scholarship from St. Joseph’s he said he was absolutely ecstatic. “Winning the scholarship was really a validation of the work that I had done both inside and outside of the classroom,” he said.
Skolnick recommends students who want to apply for this scholarship to join any honor societies available to them. He believes that the primary reason that he received his scholarship was because of all the work that he did in Phi Theta Kappa. He also added that applicants should keep in mind that all of the people applying are “extremely good students” because you must have at least a 3.75 GPA to apply. Skolnick says that “It’s up to you in your essay to show that while you have done well in the classroom you have also done just as well outside of it.” He also adds that you should mention any other community activity experience you’re involved in outside of Suffolk.