by Willette Coleman
You have a dream – Computer programmer, gemologist, tattoo artist (see Tattoo Schools – outstanding artists may have a Fine Arts background), musician, singer, dancer, actor/actress, educator, health professional, minister, video games audio technician, video game designer, engineer – there are many types; scientist, writer, truck driver, filmmaker, or owner of a lavender flower farm business (the ancient plant is prized for its medicinal properties, fragrance, culinary uses, and pests resistance). To make your career dream a reality – whatever it is – you need….(dramatic pause)…..knowledge/education/training/skills.
Education/training, etc. costs $$$$ – on the low end, nearly $10,000/year (i.e., University of Akron); nearly$60,000/year on the high end. So, students and parents seek out loans. But, millions of borrowers end up in debt. Even low interest loans, such as the Federal Government’s Perkins Loan Program, can be difficult for some to manage. The Atlantic magazine reported in The Disproportionate Burden of Student-Loan Debt on Minorities that U.S. citizens “hold about $1.2 trillion in student debt.”
Instead of loans, I advocate getting FREE MONEY… in scholarships and grants (I’ll discuss similarities and differences between the two in another post). Sadly, despite the plethora of FREE MONEY opportunities, millions of students don’t apply for these hundreds and thousands of dollars and apply for the near “instant gratification” of getting a loan. Why?
Four common fears (what I call self-created barriers/self-sabotage thinking) I hear from high school, college and vocational school students are:
“I’ll never win one!”
Or, you could win a bunch! Yes, applying for scholarships is a competitive pursuit. So is hours and hours of playing video games. Like video games, those who work the hardest are the winners. Winning at games takes commitment and dedication. So does applying for scholarships and grants. Also, video games are associated with “fun.” Well, winning $500 or $5,000 is more than fun.
“I don’t like to write” or “I don’t write well.”
First. Not all scholarships require an essay, such as “No Essay” College ScholarshipTM where you apply every month for $2,000, the $500 High School Senior Scholarship and Cappex $1,000 GPA Isn’t Everything Scholarship. You can also search “no-essay scholarships” on Fastweb.com, Schoolsoup.com and scholarship.com.
Second. Once you’ve written the first 1-2 essays, you can cut/paste some of the information into other applications. Soon you’ll have fun applying to 1-2 applications per week; then per day. Winners send out an average of 60-100 applications a year. One/day equals 365 applications/year!!!
I Don’t Have Time!
Really? Think “time management” and “investment”…in YOU. Scholarship winners say, “If a $200 scholarship application takes two hours to complete, and you actually win, that’s equivalent to $100 per hour of your time.” A GREAT return on your TIME investment don’t you think?! Honor yourself and commit 1 or 2 hours out of your busy schedule or “just messin’ around” day (like talking hours and hours on your cell phone) to search for and identify donors, assess guidelines, complete applications, organize and submit documents and write essays (where required).
“My GPA is below 3.0.”
Plenty of scholarships exist for students with 2.0 and 2.5 GPAs. I just mentioned Cappex $1,000 GPA Isn’t Everything Scholarship (no GPA/no essay). Another is The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards (2.5 GPA) provided to students that have volunteered for someone or an organization in their community. Others include:
Courage to Grow Scholarship (2.5 GPA/Essay)
Foreclosure.com Scholarship (2.5 GPA/Essay)
Global Lift Equipment Scholarship (2.5 GPA/Essay)
Got A Spine Scholarship (2.5 GPA/Essay)
Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest (2.0/Essay)
Applicants must live in the states where they conduct business.
“From Failure to Promise” Essay Contest (2.5 GPA/Essay)
High school seniors and graduate students are eligible for a $10,000 award.
Resume Companion (I saw no required GPA in the guidelines.) Note: Applications submitted now through July 14, 2016 will be eligible the scholarship for the Fall semester 2016.
For more help on getting scholarships, check out (from the library)
A Few Words of Caution:
- Be careful applying for scholarships that are in the form of contests. These “donors” might secretly be “data collectors” for marketing purposes and “information sellers.”
- Be leery of scholarship donors that say “you must be 13-years-old to apply” but don’t require a parent’s or adult guardian’s approval. Could be a predator. Remember: Scholarship website can be made to look authentic/credible.
- If a scholarship donor asks you to scan your student ID, “to verify student status,” as CreditRepair.com Scholarship requested last year, don’t apply. Scanning your ID leaves you vulnerable to identity theft and predators. Hackers constantly phish. You never know who’s looking at your information.
Two More Things
- After you WIN your scholarship or grant, always send a “Thank You” letter or email to the donor. Actually, some donors – particularly colleges and universities – require a “Thank You” letter before they give the school or you any money. (More on this in my next post.)
- If you already have student loan debt, check out Loan forgiveness programs. Note: This program is only for federal student loans. Private loan borrowers are not eligible.
Wishing you Magic, Miracles, Blessings and Much Success! And, remember, share your success with others.
“When You Learn, Teach. When You Get, Give. ~ Maya Angelou
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Are you a Scholarship recipient? Share your search experience. How much time did it take? Did you develop a fast-track search strategy? How many scholarships did you apply for?