I clearly remember that during my senior year of high school I was extremely stressed out due to the high costs of higher education. I truly felt that college was financially unattainable for my family. There were many sleepless nights in which I would stay up writing essays, hoping that I would receive enough grants to cover tuition. While I did not receive all the scholarships I applied for, I received more than enough to cover my undergraduate and even graduate education with only one scholarship I earned. The Gates Millennium Scholarship.
The day I received my acceptance packet was probably the most life-changing day of my life. I enthusiastically realized that college costs would no longer be a barrier in furthering my formal education. All of my hard work had paid off, and I was ecstatic that I would not have to place another financial hardship on my family. If I were to be honest, I shed some tears of joy on that day.
The biggest take-away from my experience in applying for scholarships was to be ready for failure. You may, and probably will, get an email saying that you were not among those chosen for a scholarship because there were too many ‘strong applicants’. It will hurt, and you will want to give up. But, let me tell you something valuable. Do not give up! Every scholarship application increases your chances of success. Last December, I opened up an email with the word “Congratulations!”. After reading through it, I was astounded that I was the recipient of a $10,000 scholarship I had forgotten I even applied to.
Ultimately, believe in yourself and realize that all the hard work you have done in high school meant something. Even if you don’t receive a scholarship, there are loans which can help you with college costs. College is not an impossible dream far away in another world but a possibility within your grasp. Take it!
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