The Blog


The is information about searching for scholarships, the best way to find scholarships, where to find money for college and creating opportunity for all students and student's parents, including high school seniors, current undergraduates and grad students. 

Five Things to Focus on in 2017 ...

Five Things to Focus on in 2017 ...

It’s a new year filled with (among other things) resolutions, presidents, and yes opportunities for scholarships. So we decided to put together a quick list of the Top Five Things you should be focusing on to succeed and win big in the New Year. Welcome to 2017!

  • GET ACTIVE! Just like exercising, the more you do it the better in shape you’ll be in. Don’t forget to invest time into searching for new scholarships that you may not have seen last year. It might take a little discipline but remember what Thomas Edison told us that “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
     
  • REDUCE. REUSE. RECYCLE. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with scholarship applications and essays. Take old writings and repurpose them to fit into the mold of scholarships that you’re applying to now. 
     
  • VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME. Not only is it good for the community, volunteering is also good experience to place in scholarship essays and even college applications. Many scholarship applications ask about volunteer experience and what key takeaways people gain. Take some time to give back this year; you never know what you might receive in return.
     
  • BUILD A LIBRARY. Home Depot has plenty of tools you can pull from. We’re just messing don’t build an actual library but take the time to document everything that you do and learn from extracurricular activities and internships to babysitting and 5k’s. Many people don’t know that what seems like a small experience can have big results considering how many different types of scholarships are out there.
     
  • LEARN A NEW SKILL. There are so many new things to learn like how to login to Scholly with your chin (send pics). If you’re not such a risk taker, you could always do something like learn a new language but hey we’re not judging. Learning new skills helps make mental connections between different things that will help you on your scholarship essays. Applications tend to ask students to connect seemingly abstract concepts and learning new skills helps your brain do this in ways you wouldn’t think of. 

Actor And Activist Jesse Williams: 'I'm Certain I'm Making A Difference'

Actor And Activist Jesse Williams: 'I'm Certain I'm Making A Difference'

Jesse Williams recently sat down with NPR and spoke about how he's making a difference. We were honored to have a substantial place in that.  It was a wide-ranging interview that focused on acting and activism. We're proud of him, and our relationship with him. Below is an excerpt where he mentions us, and how important our mission is to creating opportunity for all.

On his collaborations on mobile apps

"I'm proudest of collaboration; I'm not proudest of any independent action. You mentioned mobile apps, and to be clear, I'm a co-founder of Ebroji, a GIF-kind of cultural language keyboard, but Scholly — I have come on as a board member and a brand ambassador and partner in the company, but it was founded and created by Christopher Gray. And that is a mobile app that aggregates and connects students to millions and millions of dollars of scholarships every year.

There's over $100 million in scholarships every year that go unclaimed. People just aren't aware of them. And on the Scholly app, you plug in your information, your demographic, your height, you're left-handed, you love the clarinet, you used to wrestle, and we would pull together all the scholarships that are available to you. And we've connected students to over $70 million in real scholarships, in real money so far."

 

 

The Smithsonian Awards intro video ...

The Smithsonian Awards intro video ...

Several weeks ago we were honored by The Smithsonian as M. Night Shyamalan introduced Christopher Gray with the American Ingenuity Award for Youth Achievement. We wanted to share this exceptional intro video that celebrates and summarizes our story on how we're bringing opportunity to all people, by making their scholarship search more efficient and more successful. Winning these awards isn't about ego for us, it is a reflection that we are making progress on our vision to help all students achieve their potential. We will continue to earn it, every day.

Christopher Gray on 'How to know when scholarship winners are announced.'

Christopher Gray on 'How to know when scholarship winners are announced.'

At Scholly, we get questions from our users all the time about how to know if they won a scholarship or not. Since Scholly is only a way to search for scholarships we cannot dictate when or how a scholarship reaches out to winners, but we do have some insight on how you can find out.

1) Email:
Most scholarships will email winners (and sometimes those that didn’t win) to let them know their status. These emails can sometimes be tailored toward the individual with specific details or can be general email letting you know you have one and what next steps would be in the process. If it’s a general email, make sure you check your spam folder to make sure things didn’t get sent there.

2) Phone Call:
Although you should receive an email before or after a scholarship organization calls you, be on the lookout for a call and leave room in your voicemail just in case you missed it. Some of my biggest scholarships called me first then emailed me about next steps a week later.

3) Mail:
Yes, just like the IRS, some organizations still send you paper mail. Most scholarships don’t still do this, but some smaller scholarships do. I suggest checking your mail daily to make sure they haven’t sent you something.

4) Nothing at all:
Unfortunately, sometimes scholarships never notify those who didn’t win. So sometimes if you have done all of the above things, it may be best to focus on other scholarships, apply for as many as you can, and don’t sweat the losses.

Winning a scholarship isn’t a measure of your self worth as each scholarship looks for something different. So keep using Scholly, keep applying for more, and get as much money as you can. 

Robert's scholarship meant more than just money.

Robert's scholarship meant more than just money.

Introducing Robert R, who used Scholly to find and win several scholarships... but it's what else he found using Scholly that's really moving. We're so inspired by Robert and are truly proud to be part of his story and success. Finding scholarships can not only help you afford college, but can give you some extra positivity, motivation, and boost at critical moments in your life. Check out Robert's story below and share it to help inspire others to achieve their dreams! 

Christopher Gray on How to be a Social Entrepreneur.

Christopher Gray on How to be a Social Entrepreneur.

Recently the New York Times published this awesome article on Scholly's Founder, Christopher Gray. In it, he shares advice for students hoping to launch a sustainable social venture — we wanted to paraphrase a couple points from it in case you may have missed it. While Christopher may have made his social entrepreneurial contribution by inventing a scholarship-search platform that connects students with money for college, the ingredients can be consistent through any venture. 

Find Your Motivation

Being from Birmingham, Ala., you tend to want to get out of Birmingham, Ala. I wanted to be a tech entrepreneur. I wanted to escape and get to a place where I could do that. My brother and sister were 4 and 2 at the time I was going to college. I wanted to break the cycle and create a better life for them. They now have someone they can see who’s different than what’s around them. All the success is just surreal, and it’s emotional. When I started Scholly, my goal wasn’t to make a billion dollars. It was to help a lot of people.

The ‘Aha’ Moment

Realizing there’s a big market, that’s when I knew this could be a business. At Drexel I was around a lot of kids who had different backgrounds. I saw, it’s not just me. Both parents could make 100K, but they have three kids in college. They need scholarships, too.

Make a Deal

To get on “Shark Tank,” my advice would be to find a producer and have a conversation. A producer spoke to one of my friends at Drexel and I ran up to ask for an introduction. I pitched my story and ended up calling him, like, six times. Be persistent. The producer I talked to had to find scholarships of his own, so he understood. Find people who identify with what you’re doing.

Leverage Your Peers

You have a lot of people around you who want to get experience and will work for free. And a lot of your friends have connections. One of my investors is Springleaf and that came from a guy I partied with. His dad is the C.E.O.

Leverage Your University

Your university wants your success as much as you do. I was a student when I appeared on “Shark Tank.” That’s a big thing for the school. Drexel helped promote us. Your university has tons of networking events and marketing opportunities. Students don’t have money, so we have to figure out the most inexpensive way to get the word out there.

Tap Student-Specific Cash

There are so many funding opportunities specifically for students. I think students miss that sometimes. I won $75,000 from Cupid’s Cup, an entrepreneurship competition for students and recent graduates. At Drexel, I won $32,000 in an incubator competition.

Persevere

When you’re a student, you study hard for a test and you make an A. You have a degree of control over your success. When you’re an entrepreneur, you can work eight months on a deal and it may not go through. Markets change. Investors change their minds. When that happens, be resilient. Students may not be used to dealing with that yet. If a little boy from Birmingham, Ala., can go to college, pay for it and build a successful company before the age of 25, so can you.