Have you looked for a scholarship and found the perfect one only to realize that it’s due this week? Some students will take a look at their schedule and decide that they don’t have enough time to apply for it.
That decision is costly and can lead to debt.
In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to take advantage of the time you have and complete a scholarship application in four days. The methods and techniques we share in this post will help you take a step closer toward a debt-free degree.
We’ll use The Youth Financial Literacy Foundation (YFL) Scholarship as an example. Watch the video below to learn how winning this scholarship in 2015 allowed me to visit the West Coast for the first time at the age of 17.
Let’s get started! By now, you know more about the YFL Scholarship and are ready to apply. Our last blog post explains how the company is dividing the $350,000 this scholarship season!
Here’s how you can finish this scholarship and mail it by the December 15, 2018 deadline.
The first step is to identify what you need to complete to achieve success!
A YFL Scholarship applicant will:
- Fill out the Scholarship Application Entry Form on this page.
- Ensure that your contact information is correct because the company will use it to contact recipients.
- Print the PDF download that you see after you finish the previous step.
- Complete the 30 multiple choice questions and research all of the correct answers online.
- The Internet is truly your “best friend” and will help you win this scholarship!
- Select one of the three essay questions that you believe fits you best and write an essay with no more than 500 words that answers the prompt.
- Follow the format outlined in the PDF. Make sure to read and understand the prompt before you begin writing. This will save you time and heartache later.
- Grab a manilla envelope. Place your stapled financial exam and your essay in the envelope.
- Confirm that it is addressed correctly based on the information in the PDF. Double check that you have enough postage and visit your mail carrier to receive a postmark date by December 15, 2018.
The official scholarship website says, “Applicants with the highest exam scores and strongest essays will receive [a] scholarship.” Hopefully, you will follow the steps below to make sure you are a recipient.
I encourage you to read through all of the instructions below first before you begin your submission. Trust me; it will save you time later on.
Day 1 (approximately 1 hour):
- Review the YFL website to gain a clear understanding of the mission and goals of the organization.
- If you would like to know even more about the organization, then study their parent company, Financial Education Services.
- Complete the Scholarship Application Entry Form.
- Download the PDF and print two copies.
- You will submit one copy and keep another one for your records.
- Read the entire PDF and decide which essay prompt you will answer.
- Circle or make a star beside the one that you believe is best for you.
- Organize your essay document in the software of your choice based on the guidelines provided in the PDF. (e.g., Microsoft Office, Google Docs).
- Text, email, or message someone who knows you well and is a great writer. Ask them if they will be willing to read a 500-word scholarship essay for you by December 14.
- Sincerely apologize for the last-minute notice and pray that they will say, “Yes!”
- When I was applying for scholarships to cover the cost of my education as a high school senior, I ran into this issue many times. My back was usually against the wall, and I was in a rush to make it to the post office before the deadline.
- I tried my best to mitigate this issue as much as possible. However, I always had at least 2-3 emergency editors on standby. Thank God for extremely supportive friends and family!
- Humility, patience, and respect are essential when asking someone to do something at the last minute. Remember, you need their help. They don’t need yours.
- This could be your message:
- “Hey, I hope you’re doing well. I know this is last-minute, and I sincerely apologize, but I need your help. I’m applying for the Youth Financial Literacy Foundation Scholarship, and the top prize is $25,000! The application is due on December 15. If I can write my essay and get it to you by December 12, will you proofread it and send me the revised version by the 14th? I understand if you won’t be able to and appreciate your consideration.”
- If they respond with, “Yes,” immediately tell them what time you think you’ll be able to send it to them based on your schedule.
- If they respond with, “No,” then remind them that you’re grateful and ask them to let you know if there’s anything you can ever do to help them.
- Check your schedule for tomorrow and decide when you will devote 2.5 hours to writing and revising your essay.
- The writing process functions best in a distraction-free space.
Day 2 (approximately 2.5 hours):
- Focus on the essay.
- Re-read the three essay prompts and confirm that you have selected the one that you can elaborate on the most.
- Write the prompt at the top of the essay document you formatted yesterday.
- Open the “Notes” app in your phone, grab a whiteboard or a blank piece of paper. Use the space to dissect the prompt and brainstorm possible responses.
- Read the prompt you selected and identify the keywords. You can highlight or circle those words to make them stand out.
- Keywords communicate exactly what the scholarship committee expects to see in your essay.
- Keywords include phrases and terms such as “goals,” course outline” and “common financial philosophy.”
- Use your blank space to write down your initial thoughts after you read the prompt.
- Don’t hesitate. You should not seek perfection. Write to clear your brain and capture your first response.
- Your immediate response usually communicates what is most important to you.
- If you have trouble writing your initial thoughts, then consider speaking them into an audio recorder. I prefer this method because I talk faster than I write.
- Breathe. Relax your mind and body.
- A writer usually writes best in a clear space with an open mind. If your mind is cluttered with upcoming assignments and issues, then you could squander this $25,000 opportunity!
- Reread your essay prompt and brainstorming notes.
- After you read your brainstorming notes, your creative juices should start flowing. Use this energy to write the rough draft of your essay.
- Write your rough draft in the document you formatted on Day 1.
- A rough draft is not perfect. The goal is to write your raw and unedited thoughts in this document without stopping.
- Just write. Don’t worry about sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or continuity. Just write.
- If you struggle with writing your thoughts, then please consider speaking your essay into an audio recorder. You can transcribe the recording after you finish.
- After you’ve written your rough draft, breathe and step away from it. Take a 10-minute break to do something you enjoy.
- Return to your rough draft and accept the fact that it is ROUGH.
- It is not supposed to be perfect. At this moment, embrace a mindset of “Progress Not Perfection.” Your goal is not to stress about perfection, but to embrace the beauty of progress.
- Re-read the prompt, your rough draft and make corrections.
- Re-read the prompt to make sure it is fresh in your mind.
- This will remind you that your primary goal is to answer the prompt so you can secure this $25,000 scholarship!
- Correct your rough draft based on your knowledge. You don’t have to be perfect all comma splices or continuity errors. I’ll teach you how to use your resources to eliminate as many mistakes as possible.
- Re-read your essay with the new corrections.
- Visit Grammarly.com
- Create a free account.
- Copy and paste your essay into Grammarly and watch it correct all of your comma splices, misspelled words, and more.
- Correct every mistake in their software. Copy and paste your corrected essay from Grammarly so that it replaces your rough draft.
- Email your rough draft to the person who agreed to proofread it and remind them of the deadline.
- I would also follow-up with a text after you’ve emailed them because people typically respond faster.
- Breathe and embrace the fact that you are two days from making sure that you have a chance at winning a $25,000 scholarship!
- Take a look at your calendar and identify two hours tomorrow where you can focus on the financial exam questions.
Day 3 (approximately 2 hours)
- Find a location where there aren’t any distractions and complete the financial exam.
- You will need a good WiFi connection to find all of the answers online.
- Research all of the correct answers for the 30-question financial exam by using Google, family, and friends.
- When I applied for this scholarship, I called my sister, mom and other relatives to confirm that my answers were correct. Most adults are more familiar with the content of the exam because they have a personal experience with credit and building financial wealth.
- Put your financial exam to the side.
- Place all of your materials in a safe place and take a look at your schedule for tomorrow.
- Remember, your remaining tasks include: receiving the revised essay from the person who agreed to proofread it, making sure all of your financial exam questions are answered correctly and preparing to make it to the post office on time.
Day 4 (approximately 1 hour)
- Gather the proofread version of your essay and thank the person who took the time to help you.
- Read your editor’s suggestions and feedback in its entirety before making any changes.
- Are their suggestions correct? Does anything stand out to you or is something questionable?
- Always remember that you can use Google to double check their suggestions.
- Once you believe your essay is ready for submission, please take time to read it aloud. This will ensure that it makes sense and there aren’t any errors.
- You don’t want to submit anything less than your best.
- Place your essay to the side and focus on your questions.
- Are all of them answered correctly? Are you answer choices clear?
- Once you’ve finished the questions, address the manila envelope and ensure that you can make it to the post office on time.
- Please make sure you’ve addressed the envelope correctly.
- Take pictures of your exam and duplicate your answers onto the second copy.
- Remember, you printed two copies on Day 1.
- Double check to make sure your essay is formatted correctly. Print two copies of your essay.
- Staple one copy of your financial exam and your essay together. I made sure my exam was on top because it was in that order on the PDF.
- Place the second copy with each document you will keep for your records. Organize all of that material together and place it in a safe space.
- Place the final documents in the manila envelope, seal it, and mail it with the correct postage by December 15.
I wish you the best and know that you can earn all of the scholarships you need if you work for it!
If you want to know how I’ve earned more than $200,000 in scholarships and will graduate debt-free from Virginia Tech in May 2019, then invest in Dough 4 Degrees’ Scholarship Success Program.