Resources for Students & Families

Preparing for the future.

Oregon MESA’s first and foremost priority is serving our students and their families. We believe family involvement is key to our student’s success. As a MESA family, we strive to provide you with the information needed to help your student get to college.

Family Nights

Family nights are community-building events to give our MESA families an opportunity to get to know fellow students and their families, practice engineering with students, and learn about their projects. At these events, you can also access information about scholarships, internships, and standardized tests. To learn about upcoming family nights, visit our Events page. Contact us if you don’t see your school on a list of our upcoming events and would like to request a family night!

Additional Resources

If you are looking for additional resources for your family, please scroll through the menu below. We have included a number of local and national resources for:

Emergency Services

We can connect you with resources if you need immediate housing, food, clothing, or economic assistance.

Who to Reach:
211info, a free federal assistance program for those living in Oregon and Washington. They can connect you to 7,000+ resources in the area to help you with whatever challenge you face.

How to Reach Them:
Phone number: 2-1-1


If Someone is Abusing you or Making you Feel Unsafe

Whether you are an adult or a child, you have a right to live and work in a safe environment.

Who to Reach:
The Department of Human Services: a state department that helps transition people in dangerous situations to safe and independent living and working situations.

How to Reach Them:
Phone number: Find your local DHS office here.


Career Planning and Training

Learn About Your Career Options:

Oregon Career Information System may not look fancy but it’s an awesome resource for learning about careers, salaries, and projected salaries. You may already have an account set up with your school or counselor:

Internships: On The Job Experience

Internships are similar to apprenticeships. Students can learn valuable professional skills by working under professionals in various career fields. Internships can be paid or unpaid but must contain an educational component. To learn more about internships, how to access them, and take advantage of their resources, view our presentation here: (Link to Internship presentation) High School Students can also gain access to paid internships through Business Education Compact and Saturday Academy.

Resumes and Cover Letters

Nearly every professional position requires you to submit a cover letter and resume. A resume is a summary of your work experience, education, skills, and special training. Learn more about creating an effective resume.

In contrast to a resume, a cover letter is a letter to the hiring manager for the position that you are interested in. It details why you are qualified, what you have to offer, and why you are the best person for the specific position for which you are applying. If you are interested in learning more about writing cover letters, visit (Link to cover letter presentation.)

College Resources: Preparing, Applying, and Earning Scholarships

Preparing for college:

  • Freshmen and sophomores in the Portland area should seriously consider applying to the Minds Matter Program, which assists high school students in gaining admission to competitive summer college preparatory programs in the U.S, applying to competitive universities.
  • Learn how you can prepare for college during each grade of school, from kindergarten through 12th grade, by checking out this StudentAid checklist.
  • Learn about important deadlines, classes to take, and incomes for various jobs, visit college board’s resources

Deciding Where to Apply:

Learn about different universities by comparing their entrance requirements, financial aid options, size, majors offered, activities, sports, housing options, and a number of other factors.

Applying to College:

Applying to colleges can be scary at first. However, most colleges have similar entrance requirements which makes it easier to go through the process. The most important things to do are:

  1. Research the deadlines of the schools in which you are interested in the summer before your senior year
  2. Start the application long before it’s due to get a sense of how it works
  3. Get help from someone you trust, such as a teacher, counselor, or parent, preferably someone who has applied to college before.
  4. Review these frequently asked questions for guidance on the process.
  5. You can always contact the MESA staff for guidance on the process.

Earning Scholarships

Our Scholarships 101 presentation breaks down the numerous ways you can earn scholarships. We strongly recommend going through it to get the most resources and speed up your search process. Here is a list of different resources from which you can access scholarships:

  • Federal Funding: If you are a U.S. citizen, you should apply for federal funding through FAFSA. Applications are open as of midnight on January 1st of every year. Financial aid is awarded on a first come, first serve basis so practice filling out your application a month or two before it’s due and save your application to ensure you can submit it at exactly midnight on January 1st. The application will require parent/guardian’s tax information, among other things. Learn more about federal funding federal funding funding.
  • Local scholarships: These are easiest to earn because fewer people apply for them. You can access local scholarships by contacting your school’s career resource center or speaking with a counselor.
  • Scholarships for Undocumented Citizens: While undocumented students do not qualify for federal financial aid, there are scholarships open only to undocumented students. Start by visiting these resources, and look at state and local scholarships as well:

  • Statewide scholarships: Oregon has a great database of over $16 million in scholarships. Generally, you can use a common application to apply for many of scholarships. Applications typically open up in November. Click here to access OSAC, Oregon’s scholarship database.
  • National scholarships: While you should certainly apply to national scholarships, always start with local and statewide scholarships first. National scholarships are much harder to get, as more people are applying to them and they are often larger sums of money. When you apply to a national scholarship, you should put a lot of time and detail into a few applications to make them higher quality, rather than applying to as many as you can. National scholarships exist in a variety of places and can also be found at the following locations:

National scholarship databases:

National, major scholarships: