At The Solomon Law Group, we pride ourselves on giving back to our community however we can. In 2018, we decided to start a scholarship that lets us give back to the community and enhance our nation’s ability to educate future generations. Our campaign was a tremendous success so we have been happy to continue it every year since. The last submission period for our scholarship– Fall 2020– just came to a close. We were truly humbled by the amount of applications we received as well as the overall quality of every essay.
Thank you to every student who applied!
We’re pleased to announce we’ve chosen a winner.
Congratulations to Emily Tatum of Washington!
Emily will be attending Seattle University School of Law.
Here was the essay prompt:
If you could design and develop a completely new college curriculum, what would it look like and why?
“Go to college, it’s the only way you’ll be able to get a job” they said. Guidance counselors, teachers, parents, they said it to so many Millennials and Gen Xers, and we listened. We took out loans the size of mortgages and got degrees in areas like art, literature, and political science only to find out our degree didn’t matter because it was not in a field where there were jobs that would pay a sustainable wage. Post-secondary education can be a valuable asset to creating a career for oneself if they understand the system, but many do not; it is time for a reform of that system. The first few years after graduating high school are full of learning about yourself and how life works, transforming from know-it-all teenager to an adult is an learning experience. College should help you start down the path of your journey.
Even though high school teaches teens about the basics like science, math, and English, there is a lacking in the number of real like skills being taught. In my college curriculum, students will learn practical skills that will allow them to be successful. Freshman year in college should be treated like kindergarten is in elementary school—a grade to level the playing field. Everyone comes from different cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and family structures. The sole purpose should be to instill knowledge and skills in these still teenage adults that will last a lifetime.
Money management skills are an overlooked life imperative in our current education system. Assuming parents will teach these habits at home, districts seldom teach them in high school. My college curriculum will have classes that teach budgeting and the importance of having a savings account. Savings are a necessity because at some point, everyone, has an emergency they need to pay for; what should qualify as an emergency will also be discussed. The most important aspect of money that will be taught is how to live within your means. Emphasis on this topic is vital because if you are always scraping to get by with no money in savings, it is very hard to be happy and not stressed. For some students, continuing on to higher education is not their objective. My curriculum will still welcome those students and help them understand how to find a job without a degree. Stressing that it does not matter where you work— a minimum wage job or a high paying corporate job—what matters is if you budget well enough to be financially stable. Further discussion will go into spending habits and how to have the discipline to save for something you want.
A full course on debt will be required. The workings of student loans, car loans, and mortgages will be compared. As many people misunderstand, student loans are not good debt and owning a home is not always the key to wealth. My curriculum will discuss the housing market bubble of 2008; house prices may sometimes increase over time but there can be times were they decrease or become stagnant. Owning a home is a huge responsibility and students in my class will learn how to make the decision that is best for them based on their circumstances. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the costs that go into owning a home or a car like repairs, insurance, and taxes. Further, student loans will be discussed at length and compared to large purchases like owning a house. Students will gain a solid understanding of exactly how interest rates work including the difference between variable and fixed rates.
The importance of staying healthy will be included in the curriculum. Should our for-profit healthcare system still exist, my comprehensive healthcare course will dissect how premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and contracted rates work. Students will be equipped to handle even the most complicated of insurance issues. Professors will stress the importance of visiting the doctor for both well and sick visits; the health course will also include discussions surrounding safe sex, consent, and family planning resources.
As the first year will be solely skills based, the subsequent years will be one of two tracks: vocational training with job placement resources or education towards a bachelor’s degree. Both will come with access to mentors and guidance counselors but the latter will also have an intensive class on how to choose a major based on both interests and job projections from the Department of Labor. Explaining the importance of a decent GPA should the student be continuing on to graduate school will be underscored; it is important to understand once they have graduated, their GPA cannot be improved upon. It will also be emphasized that there is no set timeframe one has to abide by to finish school. My curriculum for higher education will be an at your own pace model, the goal will be quality work not how fast one can complete their degree.
Though college and higher education are considered to be optional, the first year of my college curriculum will be highly recommended by the students’ high schools. This year of skill building will be open to anyone that would like to take the classes, no matter their age, free of charge. Subsequently, the vocational training, the remaining classes for an associate’s degree or for a bachelor’s degree will also be free, paid by tax dollars. My model will increase the likelihood that the people who have taken the first year will be able to contribute successfully to society no matter what job they work or if they continue on to complete further education.
For more information on the next scholarship period which will be for Fall 2021, please see our law firm’s scholarship page. Congratulations again, Emily! Good luck in all your future endeavors.