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How to Avoid Student Debt in 2019

How to Avoid Student Debt in 2019

Happy New Year from Scholly! It’s 2019 which means new goals, new scholarships, and new opportunities. With college application season all but over, scholarship season is in full swing. It’s our mission to help as many students as possible reach their potential - and that means having access to education. With each year, we strive to propel even more students towards success than the last, so here are some Scholly tips on how to maximize those scholarship applications and avoid student debt in 2019.

File your FAFSA.

Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your first step towards determining your financial aid packages from your schools of choice. The sooner you file your FAFSA, the sooner you’ll know how much assistance you’ll receive from each of your prospective schools, and the sooner you can start planning for your future. Try to finish filing this month if you haven’t already. Filing early will to give you time to take advantage of rolling scholarship opportunities that could supplement your aid.

Check out Scholly.

Log onto Scholly ASAP and check out your new matches. We consistently update our database so that users have a range of scholarships to choose from. Save scholarships to which you would like to apply. Try to save a combination of scholarships with high Scholly Scores and large awards to prioritize your applications.

Now plan your attack. 

Take note of due dates for your saved scholarships and make an application timetable for yourself. Be sure to set realistic goals to give yourself enough time for each application. Some spring scholarship applications are due sooner than others, but a bulk of them tend to be due in March, with another in April. Start early so that you’re not scrambling to apply for scholarships by the time spring break rolls around.

When in doubt, ask!

We understand that scholarship essays can be tricky. Some topics are very broad while others are rather specific, and deciphering what and what not to include can be daunting. Many scholarship programs have a ‘Past Winners’ section where you can see profiles and sometimes essays of previous winners. These sections can help you get an idea of the kind of applications the scholarship program is looking for. Scholly also has an in-app ’Resources’ section with examples of scholarship essays for some extra help.

Edit.

Run your application essays through Scholly Editor! It’s our instant proofreader that scans your writing for both style and grammar mistakes so you can put your best foot forward. Content wise, ask teachers, friends, parents or anyone else in your life whose eyes you think would benefit your application to read your essays. You’d be surprised at how people can pick up on some of your strongest qualities that even you may miss. They can help you articulate those attributes for your applications and make them stronger.  

Lastly, keep going.

The scholarship application process is full of ups and downs. If you’re feeling disappointed about not having won a few scholarships to which you’ve applied, keep trying. There is always another opportunity out there and you are not going to win every scholarship you apply to, but a scholarships is always a better option than a student loan. Remember to stay positive and keep improving upon your applications. If you don’t win an award, you can always reach out to ask for feedback on your application!

2019 is already a big year for Scholly with the launch of our Student Loan Payoff Program in partnership with grownish - and that is just the beginning of exciting things to come for the Scholly community. So Happy New Year, happy applying, and all the best for 2019!

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! 

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.

Happy "App of the Day" Day!

Happy "App of the Day" Day!

February 26th marked something special for Scholly. It wasn't our birthday, but it felt like it.  We celebrated the "App of the Day!" It's like winning an Oscar for apps. Apple joins our mission to provide opportunity for all by recognizing Scholly among the millions of other apps in the App Store.  This recognition furthers our work to help students just like you achieve their potential. We pride ourselves on providing the tools students need to get access to and funding for college.

Our CEO and founder Christopher Gray shared these words,

I  am honored that Scholly is being featured as the “App of the Day”. This recognition from Apple is a testament to all of the hard work my team has and is doing to help students find funding for college.

February has been a notable month, first with the Scholly Scholarship Summit in Chicago and now with Apple’s highlight. 

Students are graduating from college with alarming amounts of student loan debt. Scholly actively changes the tide of that trend and puts more money in the hands of students that need it the most. USA Today stated that Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, surpassing credit card debit by $620 billion. Less than two years ago, the average graduate from the Class of 2016 graduated with upwards of $38,000 in student loans. We are reversing this graduation to debt ratio by reaching students where they are in a compelling way. Our partners and brand ambassadors are committed to finding solutions to educational disparities that stem from socioeconomic restrictions. Scholly is creating a future where students can walk across the stage to receive their degree without the weight of loans. 

What's next for Scholly? 2018 is proving to be a great year, and there are more great things in store. New product features are slated to roll out this year, so the excitement is far from over.   

Celebrate our "App of the Day" feature by sharing Scholly with a friend or fellow student. For more information watch our screen share tutorial. 

Trying to avoid student debt? Start with our $10,000 'No Essay' Summer Scholarship below! Application takes 2 minutes.