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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.

Chika-2-edit.jpg

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! 

How Small Scholarships Can Help You Avoid Student Debt

How Small Scholarships Can Help You Avoid Student Debt

Every spring there are floods of media reports about students winning millions of dollars in scholarships for college. Scholly founder and CEO, Chris Gray, was one of those stories. Chris won over one million dollars to go to college, some of it from big name scholarship programs like the Gate's Foundation and Coca Cola Scholars Foundation. While these large scholarships helped propel Chris to success, it was the smaller scholarship awards that made more of a difference than he expected.

Two hundred and fifty dollars, five hundred dollars, a thousand dollars... every scholarship adds up, and is money you don't have yet. You know what else adds up? Miscellaneous expenses that come with student life. Books, a broken laptop, clothes for an internship interview, emergency travel, tuition for a summer course, storage fees and more will be part of your financial considerations. Financial aid does not cover these expenses. You must pay for them on top of normal tuition, fees, and housings costs that rise each year. Smaller scholarship awards help you pay for the extra expenses.

When you log into Scholly to see new matches, take the time to look into the smaller scholarships. Use the Scholly Score to prioritize your applications. If you're well-matched to a smaller scholarship, go for it! Extra free money hurt no student - trust us. Edit your application essay with Scholly Editor, then apply! You might end up a few hundred dollars richer.

And remember, scholarships are offered all year round! Log into Scholly now and avoid student debt.

Get the Inside Scoop on Campus-life: Tips for Incoming College Freshmen

Get the Inside Scoop on Campus-life: Tips for Incoming College Freshmen

We hope our college-bound high school grads are considering taking part in pre-freshman programs. These programs give you a chance to learn during the summer and get better acquainted with the school and some of your future peers. If you are not yet convinced  you will want to keep reading. These tips are useful for both college-bound and high school students. 

Pre-freshmen programs often target students that colleges feel will benefit strongly from a nurturing head start. Maybe you’re a first-gen college student or you went to a less competitive high school. That doesn’t mean you’re not ready for college. It simply means you may need some help getting started. Summer Bridge and Pre-Freshman programs are designed to introduce students to the academic expectations of their colleges in a smaller, more structured environment. During the program you will be on campus with a few dozen other incoming students. You’ll receive mentoring from faculty and peers, be introduced to important support offices and resources, and build your confidence. By the time the rest of your class arrives, you’ll have already settled in. Some pre-freshman programs can even be done for academic credit.

If you can’t make it because of travel, work, or some other conflict, that’s perfectly fine. Maximize your summer time with family or save up as much as possible from your summer job. But don’t turn down this opportunity simply because you don’t feel like doing school work in August. If you haven’t been keeping up with your mail and didn’t even know about pre-freshmen programs, stop reading this and open up those letters from school!   

For high school students, you can find similar college readiness programs held during the days on a campus near you or overnight on campuses nationwide. College readiness programs will give you a good introduction to college life, making your eventual transition easier. Look out for these opportunities and add them to your summer calendars.

And remember, summer is a great time to apply for scholarships! 

6 Ways to Keep Your Money Up Post-Grad

6 Ways to Keep Your Money Up Post-Grad

This past two months have been huge milestones for college students around the country. In the words of Elle Woods, congratulations class of 2018, we did it! It’s time to trade in the cap and gown for a suit and tie and make sure your post-grad life is off to a great start. Here are 6 tips to keep your money right after graduation.

1. Don’t be Afraid of the B-Word

After you score your first job and get used to receiving a paycheck for a few months, it’s important to sit down and figure out a budget. Take the money you get after taxes, add up all of your monthly expenses (i.e. student loan payment, car loan, cell phone), and violà, your weekly budget has been born. Always try and spend less than what you make so you can put away money for a rainy day. Shoot for having 3-6 months of living expenses in your savings so that you’re prepared for emergencies.

2. Start Breaking Down your Debt

Hopefully you were Scholly member and accessed that free money to graduate debt free. If not, no worries – we’ve still got you. It’s no secret debt is daunting, but it’s how you persevere through that debt that can put you in the right financial mindset for the future. A crucial first step is to make a clear and detailed plan. If you have college debt, research options to refinance your student loans. Refinancing allows you to consolidate your federal and private loans into one streamlined payment with a lower interest rate. Streamlined payments lower your monthly payments leaving you with more money to save or invest. Find other ways of curbing your spending like packing lunches, passing on happy hours, and most importantly living within your means. You’ll break down your debt even quicker.

3. Check and Establish your Credit

Your credit score is a benchmark of your financial responsibility. After you graduate, it’s important to check your credit score to make sure there aren’t any unnecessary marks against you. If there are, request to get them adjusted. There are free websites available for you to check your credit score so there are no excuses. Your credit score will affect major financial decisions like purchasing a car, refinancing your loans, and renting an apartment. You don’t want to have a measly number holding you back from achieving your goals.

4. Utilize Your Employer’s 401k or Retirement Plan

If your employer offers a 401k retirement plan or some type of equivalent, take advantage of it. Ideally, you would want to contribute enough to get the company match (usually 4-6%), because who doesn’t like free money? The younger you start contributing to your retirement savings, the more powerful the compounding interest will work in your favor. Don’t stop at the company match though; if your budget allows for it, increase the percentage every year or each time you get a raise.

5. Start Investing

Investing can seem like uncharted territory to a recent college grad. It’s a common misconception that you need to pay down all of your debt before you put a chunk of your money into an investment account. Time is your biggest advantage when it comes to investing so don’t wait until you are making more money. Check out this guide for beginner investing tips for college grads.

6. Splurge on Experiences

Focus on experiences rather than material things. You don’t want to look back on your twenties and regret not booking that trip or going to that concert. You’ll never be this free again, so take the opportunity to travel to new places, try new things, and meet new people!

 

Scholarships in Celebration of PRIDE

Scholarships in Celebration of PRIDE

Happy Pride from the Scholly team!

We extend our support to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) community in celebration of Pride this month. At Scholly we are all about #OpportunityforAll, and we want to shed light on current LGBTQ scholarship opportunities. Here are our top picks:

Visto Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Due Date: June 29th 2018

Formerly known as The Collective, Visto is a digital marketing company that started the Bill Caspare Memorial Fund. The fund provides scholarships for diverse students - including LGBTQ - interested in advertising and media. Applicants must be undergraduate upperclassman or graduate students.

GAPA Foundation Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Due Date: June 30th 2018

The GAPA Foundation celebrates and awards scholarships to LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander (API) student activists. Highs school seniors, trade/vocational school students, undergraduates, and graduate students are all encouraged to apply.

 PRAXAIR Industrial Refrigeration Diversity Scholarships

Amount: $1,750

Due Date: December 31st 2018

This scholarship is administered by the Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation and is for diverse students interested in the refrigerator industry. Applicants must be engineering students within one or two years of graduating. The scholarship acts as a grant to attend the Annual International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) Industrial Refrigeration Conference.

Diversity in STEAM Magazine Scholarship

Amount: $500

Due Date: August 15th 2018

Diversity in STEAM Magazine promotes employment and educational opportunities to people of diverse backgrounds. Applicants must have an interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Both current and prospective university students are welcome to apply.

We constantly update and add to our database so be sure to login into Scholly regularly for new scholarship opportunities. Happy Pride and good luck on those applications!

Finishing Strong: End of School Year Tips

Finishing Strong: End of School Year Tips

Hello Summer!

We’re a few weeks away from the official seasonal start, but weather-wise for much of the country we are right where we need to be. For many colleges and universities, summer break is already here. For those of you already in college and done for the semester, please give yourself some time to step away from everything and reset. That end-of-semester grind preparing for finals and finishing papers and projects can be extremely strenuous. You deserve some downtime. Even if you’re headed right back for summer courses or off to an internship, try to figure out a way to spend at least a couple of days doing something different.  Find a short trip, a staycation, or time with family. Make recharging a priority.

For all of you high school students, especially seniors eager to begin the next chapter in their lives, remain focused and finish strong. We know it’s tough to stay motivated, but think about all of the work you’ve done over your four years. Also, invest time in celebrating the relationships in your life that have gotten you to this point. If you are heading to another part of the country for college in a few months, things are about to be very different. Social media and your group texts will keep you connected, but won’t replace the many little things you may take for granted. Even if you’ll be going to college in your hometown, things are going to move at a different pace. Appreciate these final few weeks of high school, and let people know what they mean to you. For any teachers or mentors who’ve been influential, write them a thank you card. You will feel great sharing it with them, and they will hold onto your words for years to come.

Don’t forget, summertime is a perfect time to apply for scholarships! Congratulations on all your hard work and best of luck for the future.

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