When Willie Julkes III was a senior in high school he was looking for an opportunity to play football in college and earn an excellent education. As the recruiting process played out, Julkes had a couple options; head to a bigger school and try to make the team as a walk-on or head to a small private college and be a starter.
“I definitely think I made the right decision — the classes are tough, and the class sizes have allowed me to have one-on-one relationships with the professors,” Julkes said. “Plus, I get to be a two-sport athlete.”
Julkes is a senior physics major who plays football and runs track at Concordia College. He is also in the society for physics students; is involved with Athletes in Action, which is an organization of Christian athletes focused on strengthening their faith; and participates in Cru, an inter-denominational religious organization. He also finds time to complete his work study hours.
“Financial aid has been huge, that’s what has allowed me to go to college in the first place,” Julkes said. “And the people in the financial aid office have been amazing. If you take the time to reach out to them, they’ll help you out.”
Julkes is making college financially work for him through a wide range of sources. He receives institutional scholarships from Concordia, a Pell Grant, a grant from NASA and an institutional grant for his physics work. Julkes family helps out as they can, he has taken out some loans and tries to work as many work-study hours as possible.
“I think because Concordia is a smaller college I’ve been able to get the financial aid support that I really needed.” Julkes said. “There’s still work ahead of me to pay off some loans but financial aid allows me to stay focused on my classes and do the best I can.”
After Julkes graduates this spring, he’s hoping to head to graduate school for engineering. But right now he’s focused on his physics coursework and finishing his undergraduate career strong.
“It’d tell students who are looking to go to college to not be afraid of speaking up,” Julkes said. “People can’t read your mind — if you have a question or need something, say it. I’ve found most often people are willing to help.”
By Tom Lancaster
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