Chatting with Scholarship Winner Jonathan Hogan!

I got the chance to speak with soon-to-be-freshman Jonathan Hogan about his recent College Raptor scholarship win as well as his college search and selection process. Here’s what Jonathan had to say!

Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi, my name is Jonathan Hogan, and I am a recent graduate of Murphy High School, located in North Carolina. During high school I was a part of the marching band, first as a member, and later as the percussion captain. I was also involved in Mu Alpha Theta, National Honors Society, and HOSA. Some of my hobbies include basketball, watching movies, fishing, and playing games with friends. This fall I plan to continue my education by attending Western Carolina University, located in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Can you tell us what your college search process was like?

The search for the perfect college was long and arduous for me. In fact, it took me until around April before I made my final decision. While it took a long time, I know that I have made the right decision for me. There were several people and organizations that helped learn more about colleges, and navigate the entire searching process. The first of these resources were my high school counselors. They proved to be extremely helpful and provided a wealth of information concerning the application process.

I also used websites and organizations such as College Raptor. Taking advantage of College Raptor gave me a much greater understanding of the financial aspect of attending college. Overall, I feel that it is important to use everything you have at your disposal. Doing so will ensure you will find the right pick for you!

How many colleges did you apply to?

Throughout my search, I applied to five colleges. These were the University of North Carolina at Asheville, UNC Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, WCU, and the University of Georgia at Athens.

How did College Raptor help you in searching for colleges? In selecting a college?

College Raptor was a tremendous help in my search for the right college. Of all the wonderful information College Raptor gave me, the financial estimates were the most helpful.

The cost of college is important, and if you don’t understand the ins-and-outs of paying for education, it isn’t hard to get lost. Without College Raptor showing me breakdowns of cost, I don’t think I could have come to the conclusion that I did. As a result, I recommend them to anyone needing that extra bit of help during the whole process.

What were your “most important factors” in selecting a college?

Many factors went into my decision, but the most important were cost, distance from home, and academic programs. Each of these is important to me in its own special way, and I had to consider all of them when selecting the right college for me.

What made you switch from planning to attend UGA to WCU?

For a long time I desired to attend the University of Georgia at Athens. However, as time passed and I had to make my final college decision, I found myself looking in other directions. This was due to several different factors, the first of these being cost. To attend UGA as an out-of-state resident, I would have to pay roughly $50,000 per academic year. This, seeing as I want to become a physician and will be be in school for a very long time, just wasn’t possible.

That being said, there was more to it than just the money. I began to consider class size. In a large university such as UGA, I feel as though I would have been a number, more than a student. I was afraid that this would hinder me from creating relationships with my professors and advisors.

This is where WCU came in. Western Carolina is a much smaller school. This would allow me to create more personal relationships, and therefore get more out of my education. WCU was also a much less expensive alternative, with the cost being
somewhere around $10,000 per academic year (due to my in-state status). Finally, my
acceptance into WCU’s Honors College was the final factor in making the switch. Being in an advanced program will help prepare me for what lies ahead, and will challenge me to better myself each and every day. In the end, it was the culmination of all these factors that led me away from UGA, and to WCU.

What drew you to Western Carolina University?

For me, WCU was an intriguing choice. There were many different aspects that drew me to Western, these include the cost, size, as well as the campus itself. After touring the campus, I really enjoyed the environment that I was in. I felt comfortable on the campus and in the classrooms. This is something that is often overlooked, however, I think that it should be of the utmost importance to a student.

What sparked your interest in becoming a cardiologist?

I have had an interest in medicine for as long as I can remember. As a young child I passed the time by reading medical books and diagrams. While at the time I didn’t understand what they meant, they fascinated me. My curiosity was sparked by my mother, a nurse, of whom I would constantly ask questions about how the body worked and about the different things she did as a healthcare professional.

This interest continued into high school, where I began to take medical and health related classes. It was here that my interest became a passion. No other subject intrigued me like anatomy did. I went above and beyond on my work, in a way that I have never done in any other class. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the classroom, as well as the time spent outside of class working on homework. It was through this that I decided that I wanted to become a physician.

At this point I had not really considered a specialty or field of medicine that I wanted to practice. However, my involvement in a summer program know as MedCat allowed me to see health care from an entirely new perspective. This camp, at Wake Forest University, allowed me to see the different sides to medicine, as well as the plethora of professions that are available in healthcare.

It was here that interventional cardiology become a focus of mine; something that I still aspire to pursue.

How are you preparing for college now that you’ve made your decision?

At this point in the process I am preparing for moving in and acclimating to college life. My parents and I are looking for stuff to go in the dorm room, as well as things that I will need for my time at WCU. During high school I received my CPhT, making me a pharmacy technician. Because of this I am seeking employment to help supplement my time at Western. I am also making sure that everything is in order for my arrival at the college; this includes, parking passes, meal plans, ID cards, and much more. In short, I am making the final preparations before I officially begin this next stage in my life!

What things are you doing to help pay for college?

Paying for college can be difficult, and as such, I have made it a focus to prepare myself financially. As I mentioned earlier, I am a pharmacy technician and am seeking employment. On top of this, I have some other scholarships that I have been awarded that I am using to help pay. Most importantly, I am managing my finances in a way I didn’t have to in high school. Instead of spending my money on activities or hobbies, I am putting it away in order to save it for college. Through diligence and hard work, paying for college can be made possible, even if it isn’t easy.

What advice would you give to other students searching for scholarships?

If I could give any advice to students searching for scholarships it would be this: start early and apply, apply, apply. Don’t wait until the second semester of senior year to begin looking for scholarships. Take advantage of your counselors, who I am sure will help you find several local and state opportunities.

While it may be frustrating and time consuming, I recommend committing a great deal of time and energy toward applying for scholarships. Again, it is very time consuming, however it will pay off at the end of the year. Doing this will not only supplement your future finances but also grow your ability to show others who you are. This skill becomes invaluable when applying for jobs, colleges, etc. Remember this: When in doubt, apply, apply, apply!


Congratulations again, Jonathan! Everyone here at College Raptor wishes you luck at WCU.

Allison Wignall

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