Believe You Deserve Scholarship $$$

scholarships Mar 19, 2021

This article is intended to assist parents who are helping their children (or grandchildren) to get free money for college through scholarships. Non-traditional students may also use it to get money for themselves.

As a senior in high school I applied for what I thought was a scholarship. It wasn't, it was a grant (money given based on need rather than merit) but I didn't realize that. I didn't get the money because my parents made too much money. To me, the rejection verified what I already believed--I didn't deserve a scholarship. I was too <insert the one appropriate to you> dumb, poor student, underachiever, white, mediocre, etc. As a result of this confirmation, I never applied for any other financial aid.

Twenty six of my friends received full-ride scholarships to great schools. Imagine my surprise when I, on my first day of college, I discovered that I had graduated 18th in a class of 864. I realized that 8 people received scholarships that I might have received if I applied. I didn't apply, though, because I didn't believe I deserved them.

My experience coaching parents and students to get scholarships indicates I am not alone in doubting myself about deserving scholarships. A majority of students share my doubts. Part of the solution includes helping your children (grandchildren or yourself)

  1. Make, recognize, and record accomplishments in 3-4 themes in their life
  2. Recognize the attributes scholarship committees wish to reward in themselves: academics, activism, athletics, character, civic duty, creative talent, dependability, entrepreneurship, ethnic background, goals of the organization, high or low grades, initiative, leadership, perseverance, reliability, service to others, specific traits they wish to reward, surviving illness or other challenges, teamwork, work ethic. If they can recognize that 7+ apply to them, then, they are the people committees choose to reward.
  3. Prepare statements describing their accomplishments (including numbers, percentages, and dollars) and ask them repeatedly "Is that something someone would like to reward?"

One last note: true self-worth establishes itself on a foundation of fact listed without editorializing. Artificial inflation or hyperbole cannot sustain itself. Too many students were propped up with false self-esteem. Help them build their foundation of belief on actual accomplishments.

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