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Scholly Story

Meet the Student Who Won $142,000 in Scholarships

Meet the Student Who Won $142,000 in Scholarships

 
I’ll never forget that feeling of being on the stage and realizing I could go to my dream school.
— Chika
 

Meet Chika Adiele, a determined college-bound Scholly user from Vegas, NV who won $142,000 in scholarships. Scholly was founded on the ideal of providing an opportunity for all. We stay motivated because of success stories like Chika's. This is how she got that bread: 

Since I was little, I was always told to never worry about paying for college. Then one day during the summer before my senior year, my mom told me that I would have to pay tuition by myself because our financial situation. My dad, the financial breadwinner, had lost everything, and my single mom needed money for other expenses. I was shocked and devastated, but I'm not one to give up easily so I started exploring some options. That’s when I found my solution: scholarships.

In the beginning, the scholarship process was incredibly intimidating and overwhelming. Many websites were terribly organized and barely had any scholarships for me. Then I came across Scholly.

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The website was super user-friendly, matched me with amazing scholarships, and even told me which scholarships best suited me with the Scholly score. I treated applying to scholarships like a part-time job. It was not easy. I went to a dual credit high school which practically made me a full-time college student. On top of my classes, I was the student council president, conducting undergraduate research, doing theater, and volunteering among other things. I’d apply during any spare time I had on the app: rehearsal, between classes, while I was eating, or even during my workouts. The Scholly deadline tracker to kept me on track with applications amidst my crazy schedule.

Over time, applying became easier. I started reusing the same essays and the Scholly blog tips had great advice. What used to take me 2 hours started taking 30-45 minutes. It actually started becoming fun and was a major confidence booster. With the help of Scholly, I applied to over 100 scholarships during my senior year. To top it off, I even got accepted into my dream school: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I still remember the very first major scholarship I won. It was the end of April, and it was from the Rogers Foundation. At this point, the college decision day was a little over a week away. I still didn’t have the funds to go to UNC-Chapel Hill, but I kept a positive attitude. Next thing I knew, I won the grand scholarship of $100,000. I’ll never forget that feeling of being on the stage and realizing I could go to my dream school. My mom was screaming and I teared I was so happy. It got even better. During the next ten days, I won over $40,000 more in outside scholarships. Not only was I able to afford college but could now go practically for free.

I plan on majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish so that I can go to medical school and become a doctor. With the help of scholarships and Scholly, I’m one step closer to my dream.

Congratulations, Chika! The Scholly team is proud of you. 

Have your own Scholly Story to share? Let us know! Still need to make your dreams come true? Join Scholly today! 

6 Black-Owned Businesses Started by College Students

6 Black-Owned Businesses Started by College Students

Below is an excerpt written by TeenVogue about Scholly! Check out the full article here.


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One thing college students always need, or perhaps, want, is money. This black-owned business will give just that — money — in the form of scholarships. After being featured on Shark Tank, Christopher Gray’s Scholly app has dominated the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. Students and parents flock to the app to earn thousands of dollars in scholarships, which makes sense, considering Gray earned 1.3 million dollars in scholarships himself. However, it was not enough for Gray to pave his way through college on scholarships. He wanted to make college a reality for every student and created Scholly to simplify the scholarship search. This cool company is like the common app for scholarships as it condenses money-saving information into one neat app. Since Gray’s humble beginnings as an aspiring college student from a single parent household, the company has collected big name partnerships like Jessie Williams serving as the Chief Brand Ambassador. While the app is free to download, it costs $2.99 to unlock its premium features. Still, for the amount of scholarship money available, it is a small fee for a bright future.


Inspired by our million-dollar scholar? Get started on your own path to student success with our $10,000 'No Essay' Summer Scholarship! Application takes only two minutes. 

Christopher Gray's top tips on how to apply for as many scholarships as possible ...

Christopher Gray's top tips on how to apply for as many scholarships as possible ...

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It’s back to school time and we know college is on your mind, as well as how to pay for it! Luckily, the fall is prime time for scholarships. This is when the biggest scholarships out there are opened up and ready for you to apply to. When I was back in high school, September gave me a bit of a high. Suddenly, I realized that there was so much money out there for me, and I had to find the most efficient way to get it all done and to apply for as many as I could. That being said, here are a few tips to make sure you get to apply for as many scholarships as possible:

  • Recycling scholarship essays is a great way to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Most scholarship essay prompts are similar (or sometimes the same) so I suggest reusing essays as much as you can in order to scale your efforts. I personally won 1.3 million dollars in scholarships,  and for a lot of the scholarships I won I recycled my essays!
     
  • Scholarships that have very specific eligibility requirements are usually easier to win since there will be fewer applicants. The same goes for smaller scholarships that are around $1000-$5000, since many students don’t apply for them thinking they are not meaningful amounts and won't move the needle. Smaller scholarships can add up and really make a difference. Scholly allows our users to sort scholarships by amount and we also have something called the Scholly Score, which lets our users know how competitive the scholarships are. 
     
  • Lastly, you can also reuse the same recommendation letters. It’s terrible when you have finished a scholarship application and at the last minute you need to rush and wait on mentors, teachers, your boss, or whoever to write you a solid recommendation letter. Find the people to write them now and get it done!

Also, Scholly has some new updates in the coming months that will make the scholarship process even more efficient for students. Stay tuned!  :)

 

Scholly & CommonBond's $10,000 Scholarship Winner: The First in His Family to Attend College

Scholly & CommonBond's $10,000 Scholarship Winner: The First in His Family to Attend College

Bobby Robinson

BOBBY ROBINSON

Winner of the Scholly + CommonBond $10,000 Scholarship.

Not many 18-year-olds can picture what their life will look like in 10 years. Bobby Robinson is not most 18-year-olds.

“I see myself financially stable, with good credit, hopefully still in the Marine Corps, leading Marines,” Robinson said. “At that point in my life, I will start giving back to my community.”

For now, he’s on the receiving end — and with goals like these, it’s clear that he’s a deserving candidate.

This month, Robinson was awarded a $10,000 scholarship from Scholly & CommonBond. The award furthers Scholly’s commitment to connecting students with scholarship opportunities nationwide, and CommonBond’s goal of making higher education financing more affordable and transparent to invest in the futures of students. 

Robinson found out about the scholarship opportunity by simply searching through opportunities on the Scholly mobile app. But how did he find out that he’d actually won?

“Honestly, I was just getting out of a rifle drill with the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), and I saw the email and I ran out of the room,” said Robinson, a current freshman pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Savannah State University in Georgia. “The first thing I did was share the news with one of my senior officers.”

“I couldn’t believe that I was awarded so much money — $10,000 means I can be comfortable financially because I won’t have student debt this year, and I can continue to focus on preparing myself for the Marine Corps mentally, physically and spiritually when I graduate from college.”

I made a goal to be the first in my family to attend college, but I never knew how I was going to be able to pay for college since my mom was not able to be able to pay,” he said. “But I knew some way or somehow I was going to make it through college without her worrying.

Robinson is hopeful his education will lead him to where he wants to be in a decade. Looking back, Bobby has already overcome a number of obstacles to achieve his goals.

For one, no one in his family had ever gone to college. 

Born in Miami, Robinson grew up hoping that a scholarship to play football would pave the way to a four-year school (and even the National Football League). When he realized his more realistic route of attending college came via enlisting, he did just that.

“I made a goal to be the first in my family to attend college, but I never knew how I was going to be able to pay for college since my mom was not able to be able to pay,” he said. “But I knew some way or somehow I was going to make it through college without her worrying.”

A $10,000 scholarship certainly helps.

Robinson’s tuition is covered by the Navy, but his actual cost of attendance is financed in a number of ways. He was previously awarded a Pell Grant and took subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans from the government, and said the Scholly-CommonBond check will help him cover the costs of his housing (nearly $4,000). He also credited Savannah State’s financial aid counselors with helping him find as much gift aid as he can grab.

Robinson said he will continue to use Scholly’s app to find scholarship listings, and he is just getting familiar with CommonBond, which recently launched student loans for undergraduates like him as well as for graduate students.

If his dream of becoming a Marine Corps Officer in three years comes to fruition, Robinson plans to use his active duty salary to pay off his student loan debt within three years of graduating.

Before looking too far ahead, of course, he’s thinking more pointedly about what is of most concern to many students in America — his next year of college.

“I'm excited about sophomore year because I will be going into fall semester with an actual feel of college, so I will know what to expect and how to better balance class, work and NROTC,” he said. “I look forward to taking the good and the bad from my freshman year and applying it to my sophomore year to better myself as an individual, as a scholar and as a leader.”

Robinson, long interested in psychology, is majoring in behavioral analysis. He said he hopes to use his degree to communicate effectively with senior and junior Marines.

“My freshman year has been quite challenging,” Robinson said. “As Midshipmen, we have to realize that we are not the average college student. It’s a lot of responsibility as soon as you step foot on campus.”


About Scholly and CommonBond

Scholly is the scholarship-matching platform that has helped high school seniors, current undergraduates, and graduate students win over $70 Million for their education. Our web and mobile app turns the long months of search for scholarships into minutes, by delivering a smarter, targeted list of scholarships that are uniquely suited to you. It was created by Christopher Gray who won $1.3 million in scholarships through hard work, grit and determination. Realizing how broken and time consuming this process was, he and his team created Scholly to make things a lot easier for you. Find out more, and join Scholly at www.myscholly.com.
 

CommonBond is a financial technology company on a mission to give students and graduates more transparent, simple, and affordable ways to pay for higher education. By designing a better student loan experience that combines advanced technology with competitive rates and award-winning customer service, CommonBond has funded $1 billion in loans for its tens of thousands of members. The company’s enterprise platform, CommonBond for Business™, enables employees to receive a suite of student loan repayment benefits from their employer. CommonBond is the first and only finance company with a "one-for-one" social mission: for every loan it funds, CommonBond also funds the education of a child in need, through its partnership with Pencils of Promise. For more information, visit www.commonbond.co.

I Won Over $600,000 in Scholarships Using Scholly

I Won Over $600,000 in Scholarships Using Scholly

To date, Scholly has helped students win over $70 million in scholarships, impacting the lives of families across the world. We have helped students from various economic and ethnic backgrounds, ensuring that all students reach their potential.

However, there are some stories that are so incredible that are compelled to share in order to inspire other students on their journey to pay for college. One of the most compelling stories is that of Sunny Sandhu a student who used Scholly to win over $600,000 in scholarships to attend Princeton University.

He won nearly every major scholarship (and many others) including the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Coca Cola Scholarship, and Jack Cook Kent Scholarship.

How did you Scholly help you in your scholarship search process?

There are thousands of dollars of scholarships out there with your name on it, but the hard part is finding those scholarships. Scholly did exactly that for me, it helped me find the scholarships that wanted to invest in a student like me.

How did you feel Scholly impacted your life?

I would never have thought one download on the App Store would have such an impact on my future. I am grateful for Scholly in helping me realize my potential and showing me that the sky is truly the limit. Without the platform, attending a top-notch university like Princeton on a full-ride would not have an attainable task for me.

How did you feel when you found out you won so many scholarships?

Shocked. Winning these scholarships was not something I took for granted. In fact, with each scholarship I received, the more surprised I was. However, with the tools provided by Scholly, a feat like this should not be surprising, but should rather be everyday occurrence for the millions of students out there.

We are inspired by Sunny’s story and the team at Scholly is working hard every day to make sure we help create many more like him. 

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.

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