Wait, what? You're probably thinking, When is it ever an advantage to have diabetes? Usually, diabetes is a hassle, something that requires a lot of time and effort to manage. But it can help you out when you're looking for college scholarships.
This past year, I was honored to receive a $5,000 scholarship from Diabetes Scholars Foundation and Lilly. Diabetes Scholars Foundation awards merit-based scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to incoming college freshman with type 1 diabetes. To apply, I filled out an application that asked me about my grades, extracurricular activities, community service, involvement in the diabetes community, and required me to do some writing. If you're a high school senior planning to attend college next year, I highly recommend applying for this scholarship! The application opens again in January of 2017, and the deadline is in April (if you're not a high school senior yet, check back with Diabetes Scholars Foundation in the fall of your senior year). You can find the application here: http://diabetesscholars.org/college-scholarship/
The Scott and Kim Verplanck Foundation also awards scholarships to high school seniors with type 1 diabetes. These scholarships are $10,000 each and can be renewed for up to four years. Grades, involvement in school sports, diabetes management, and financial need are all considered for this scholarship. For more information, see the Foundation's website: http://verplankfoundation.com/scholarships/
Also, here are some things I've learned about going to college with diabetes:
1. Check with your university's pharmacy about getting your diabetes supplies and the prices of those supplies. We found out that my insulin is the same price at the USC pharmacy as it is at my home pharmacy, but that test strips are more expensive. I also gave my doctor the address of the USC pharmacy so I could have my insulin prescriptions sent there.
2. It's a good idea to register with your university's Disability Services. I don't think of myself as disabled, but I found out that if I'm not registered with Disability Services, I may not be able to do self-care while in class or even have my continuous glucose monitor with me! I'm in the process of my registration, which requires a formal request for accommodations and a letter from your doctor as proof of your diagnosis and symptoms.
3. If you're staying in a dorm and use a continuous glucose monitor, make sure your parents can receive your blood glucose readings as well! I recently upgraded to the Dexcom G5 so that my parents will be able to remotely monitor my blood glucose readings at night because I still sleep very hard.
4. You won't be the only one at school who has diabetes! Already through social media I've found three other people in my freshman class who have type 1, and I look forward to meeting them in person when school starts!