It’s all pretty exciting and weird and scary all at the same time. I’m literally on the homestretch to being done with undergrad. I hope to post about thoughts on being almost done, and towards the end of the semester I will definitely have a post about the changes I have experienced these past four years. But first.
I was recently reminded about scholarships. Without the abundance of aid I have received these past four years… Without the decision makers who decided they believed in me and they wanted to take a chance on me… Without the donors who made these scholarships possible… and so much more.
I would NOT be where I am at right now. Would I even have been able to attend UGA? Who knows. I would have had to work so much that I wouldn’t have been able to volunteer at that many camps, I’m not sure if I could have studied abroad, I wouldn’t have been able to devote any of my time to things outside of work and school (CASA, D4D/CDN, JDRF, and much more).
Yes I still had to work, but I wasn’t only counting on that.
I applied for over 40 scholarships my senior year of high school, and I apply for about 5 each year now. Yes. OVER 40. I was committed. I wanted people to help me pay to go to school.
My freshman year I was able to get all my expenses paid which means no loans for me that year! Since then, I have taken out loans, but not as much as I might have needed to. This means that once I graduate, I will not be focusing all my time and money on paying back those loans. Although, I would rather do this quickly.
Here’s what you have been probably waiting for-
Through grants or scholarships including the hope scholarship, I have received almost $70,000 in financial aid to help fund my college education. WHAT. Unreal right? No. I spent my senior year of high school applying for scholarship after scholarship. I was able to recycle essays, and it became easier. I had a teacher who wrote a general letter of recommendation for me, and I would send along the scholarship information and she would adjust it for me.
One scholarship was one of the most competitive in my area, I got that. I was told I would not get it because I had not done the IB program at my school, but I applied anyways. Another scholarship was a little bit each year so I know I always have some cushion. Hope Scholarship- if you don’t know what that is (if you live in Georgia and you attend college in Georgia, you get assistance with your tuition if you meet the academic qualifications.) I received scholarships once I arrived at UGA through my major and the Disability Resource Center. I have also received various grants throughout my college career as well.
So seriously. Thank you to everyone helped finance my college education. I literally would not be here without you. Maybe one day I can give back; I want to work in nonprofits- so not likely- maybe I’ll win the lottery?
Tips on Scholarships!
- The more local the better
- I did apply for big national ones, but I had better luck with local scholarships.
- The more specific the better
- For me- community service, my major, what I wanted to do, etc gave me a better return.
- Do not be intimidated by essays
- This means less people will apply.
- You can often recycle the same essay or just tweak it a little bit. So once you write the first few, it gets easier from there.
- Have a teacher on hand who knows you well to write recommendations for you. (ask nicely and well in advance!)
- Use a calendar so you do not miss a date Which also means- be organized!
- (oops- that happened to me)
- Do not be intimidated!
- You don’t think you’ll get it?
- APPLY ANYWAYS- what’s the worst that could happen?
- Have a working resume with anything you have ever done handy
- Scholarship interviews! Dress to impress and be yourself! (but play up your best attributes)
- If you have had “not so great” things happen in your life, get comfortable talking about it (to an extent. And don’t pressure yourself)
- Don’t make it sound like a pity party.
- Sell your accomplishments and your passions
- I did this this, this, and this, regardless of what happened.
- Make them go DANG. Inspiration!
- Believe in yourself!
- Be proud of yourself when you apply. This is where you need to brag.
- You don’t think you’ll get it?
Hey you! Yes, you!
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We’ll both be glad you did! -Mindy