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student success

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! 

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.

Scholly for Harlem

Scholly for Harlem

Student success starts with affording college. Scholly has partnered with Forbes to provide free access to our platform for Harlem public and charter high school juniors and seniors! We are providing 2,500 lifetime access registrations for students to find free money to attend college.

Scholly for Harlem, held earlier this week, brought together community leaders, policymakers, educators, and change agents from around the city of New York. This marked the start of Scholly’s intentional efforts to strengthen the pipeline to and through college for students in Harlem.

“Scholly’s core value is to make quality higher education affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Christopher Gray, Founder and CEO of Scholly. “We are delighted to collaborate with Forbes to create opportunities for young people in Harlem and give them the resources needed to achieve their educational goals.”

The event included a Q&A with Civil Rights activist DeRay McKesson and our very own brand ambassador, actor, and Civil Rights proponent Jesse Williams. Their conversation centered around equity and access, and how investments like Scholly can help students reimagine the possibilities for their future.  We also hosted a fireside chat with Elizabeth Strozier, the Executive Director of Programming for Forbes Live, and Gary Johnson, the Director of Strategy & Operations at the NYC Mayor’s Technology Office. Johnson, a Harlem native spoke to his commitment to equip students with educational tools that will change the trajectory of their lives. His excitement to team up with Scholly was evident. Scholly for Harlem highlighted the importance of democratizing access to education and the role technology can play in facilitating that access.

Why are we helping Harlem students?

Helping students continue their education and reach their fullest potential is exactly what Scholly is about. Home of the Harlem Renaissance, Harlem has been a major hub for African-American culture, business, and social change for the past century. As a business committed to diversity and inclusion, providing access to our platform that includes the scholarship search and Scholly Editor to Harlem students furthers our mission of providing opportunity for all.

Want to get involved?

Are you a Harlem student, teacher, or school administrator eager to get started and learn more about Scholly for Harlem? Or are you an organization or individual wanting to replicate the Scholly for Harlem model in another city? Contact Azani Pinkney at azani@myscholly.com for more information. Harlem students, happy scholarship searching and welcome to the Scholly family!