Posted on 1 Comment

Don’t Agonize, Organize

Put your mind at ease by organizing your scholarships.

The scholarship process can be complex and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make smart decisions on a daily basis to reduce your stress and increase your success.

This blog post addresses the “Organize” portion of our weekly scholarship schedule. You can download a copy at

scholarship_weekly_scheduleSo, how do you organize your scholarships? It’s simple. Use the tools around you. Read the bullets below for more information:

  • Use your phone: Add all upcoming scholarship deadlines to your calendar with reminders. You usually have your phone with you at all times anyway. This will help you complete all supplemental materials before the deadline.
  • Create a spreadsheet: Use Google Sheets or Excel to see all of your scholarships. Make sure you include pertinent information such as, deadlines and links to the application.

We hope this week’s post helps you in your scholarship journey. Return next week for details about the “Research” phase.

Want more scholarship success content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Enroll in blog post notifications by submitting your email address under the “Follow Blog” sidebar of our site.

Posted on Leave a comment

Plan to Succeed

Last week we shared our weekly scholarship schedule with you to help you structure the time you devote to scholarships. View a downloadable copy of our weekly scholarship schedule at:

scholarship_weekly_scheduleFor the next six weeks we will teach you how to use each “Task” to your advantage. The focus of this week’s blog is “Plan.”

The plan stage is all about selecting the resources that will help you earn the funds you need.

Resources are everywhere. Your local guidance counselor is a resource. Your parents/guardians are a resource. Your network is a resource. And of course, the internet is a resource.

Click the links below for a few national resources:

The plan stage can be completed during a 10-minute break. Your objective is to select the resources you will use in the remaining tasks. Remember, you’ve got this!

See you next week for details about the “Organize” task!

Want more scholarship success content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Enroll in blog post notifications by submitting your email address under the “Follow Blog” sidebar of our site.

Posted on 3 Comments

Our Weekly Scholarship Schedule

Our last blog post should have inspired you to prepare for the success you will have in 2017! This post includes one of the many tools we will give you to succeed in your scholarship journey.

We created a weekly scholarship schedule to help you plan and monitor the time you devote to scholarships. Incorporating scholarships into your busy schedule will bring you one step closer to achieving your goal of graduating debt-free.

View a downloadable copy of our weekly schedule at:


Our next blog post will teach you how to use the “Plan” task.

Want more scholarship success content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Enroll in blog post notifications by submitting your email address under the “Follow Blog” sidebar of our site.

Posted on Leave a comment


Welcome to your year of excellence! 2017 will be the year you build another ladder to success.

Dough 4 Degrees will continue to serve as a source of education and inspiration for you through blogs, videos, and social media posts. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @dough4degrees to see our content on your timeline. Enroll in blog post notifications by submitting your email address under the “Follow Blog” sidebar on our site.

Our goal at Dough 4 Degrees has always been to teach students how to earn scholarships to enable them to graduate debt-free; which is why we have developed #DebtFree2017. The content we share using this hashtag throughout the year will advance you to a new level, making the process easier and more enjoyable for everyone!

Let’s succeed together in 2017!

Posted on Leave a comment

#CampusChat on 11.03.16

Join one of the “longest-running higher-education chats” on Twitter Thursday, November 3, 2016 from 9-10pm EST.

Our founder, Danielle Jeffers, will be sharing tips on how to “Own the Scholarship Application Process.” You can join the conversation hosted by Smart College Visit by using #CampusChat.

Smart College Visit (SCV) is an asset to all students and families who are transitioning from high school to college. SCV is known for the wealth of knowledge it shares via blog posts, social media, and interviews. Click this link to learn more.

See you tomorrow via Twitter! Follow Danielle @djeffers_ and SCV @collegevisit! Don’t forget to use to #CampusChat to join the conversation!

Posted on Leave a comment

The Personal Statement

This post was originally written by Dr. Paul Heilker. All thoughts and ideas expressed below the byline are his thoughts.

By Dr. Paul Heilker

Your personal statement is an articulation of 1) who you are, 2) what your compelling interest is (your exigence), and 3) why other people should care about #1 and #2. It is a critical professional text to develop effectively. You will use some version of it every time you apply for a graduate program, scholarship, internship, or fellowship, every time you apply for a job, a promotion, or a raise, every time you propose a project, every time you apply for funding, every time you speak in public on an important issue, every time you publish your research.

Think about it this way: at a certain point in any search process, all viable candidates are going to have very similar qualifications. They will all have strong credentials: good grades, good letters of recommendation, notable work experiences and internships, etc. What decision makers are looking for is something less tangible, something we tend to call “fit”: how well will this person fit in our organization, our effort, our program? And the only way they can know this is through some version of your personal statement.

Research in professional communications suggests that you will have about 90 seconds to secure the interest and goodwill of the decision maker in any meeting. Consider the “elevator pitch,” a common scenario in professional communications: you find yourself on an elevator with the CEO of a company you dream of working for, and you have 90 seconds to ride the elevator to the lobby to convince him or her to be interested in you and your idea. Or take the first question in almost any interview: “Tell us a little about yourself.” If you don’t have a flexible, well rehearsed version of your personal statement in your toolbox, ready to go, you can never take advantage of these strategic moments (kairos).

And yet somehow we teachers never show you how to compose in this critically important genre. There are several reasons for this, I think. First is that we erroneously think that the easiest thing to write about is yourself. After all, what subject do you know better than yourself? But the truth is that one of the hardest things to do is write about yourself in a way that anyone else will care about (and still not be a braggart or a blowhard). After all, seriously, why should *I* care about *you*? A second reason professors, especially, may be reluctant to help you with this is that as soon as you know how to do this, how to articulate who you are, what your exigence is, and why anyone else should care, you become competition for us: competition for fellowships, jobs, promotions, raises, funding, space on a conference program or in a journal, etc. It is to our advantage to keep you mystified about all this, all the way through your PhDs, should you care to go on that long.

So let us rectify this unfortunate state of affairs. I invite you to write a personal statement of approximately 1250 words (the standard size of these statements for graduate program and fellowship applications). While these statements can take any number of forms, I would like you to use the following general outline, which elucidates a focused narrative arc of your life, because I have seen this format work quite effectively over the years:

A) Begin with a brief intellectual biography. Explain how you got to where you are now as a thinker, or scholar, or activist, or professional in your field of study. Who or what influenced your path to this point? How, exactly, did this person or persons, did this event or these events, change you, influence you, move you in your particular direction? This is the beginning part of your narrative arc.

B) At this point in your life, explain as best you can where you think you would ultimately like to end up, what you would ultimately like to be doing in your vocation or avocation. In the best of all possible worlds, what is the dream job you would like to have? What is the good that you would like to do in the world? What is your personally compelling interest? What is the thing that you seem to be put on the planet to do? By the time we are done with this statement, the connections between A and B should be obvious, natural, “but of course .” This is the concluding part of your narrative arc.

C) Explain how the opportunity you are applying for (this particular graduate program or job or scholarship or funding opportunity or . . . ) will help move you from A to B, from where you are to where you want to end up. Please note that you will each choose something real here, some actual assistantship or internship or summer job or other opportunity you will actually go for at some point in the near future. By the time we are done with this section, you will have articulated how this real world opportunity at hand is precisely what you need to move from where you are to the where you want to end up, how it will enable you to do the work you want to do in the world, why you are such a good fit for this organization or program, why they should care about you (and care about you more than they care about others). An effective job on C shows what’s in it for *them*, what *they* can expect to get out of the deal.

As I have done in the past, I would be happy to review your drafts and give you suggestions about how you might improve your statements. You can contact me at

Posted on Leave a comment

10 Tips to Boost your GPA

A great GPA score usually signals the difference between meeting requirements for prestigious programs and scholarships – or not. It also decides the honors you get on graduation day, which g…

Source: 10 Tips to Boost your GPA

Posted on 2 Comments

You’re in Charge of Your College Experience


Your college career can be the launching pad for the rest of your life. It can be the best four years of your life or the beginning of unforgettable memories. The choice is yours.

We all have dreams, passions, and magic within us. Fulfillment surfaces when we explore them without seeking approval from other people. Do what you want to do! Explore and follow your dreams! You have four years to change your life and improve the world, make the most of it.

You will stumble, fall, and even get off track, but don’t let it stop you. Learn from it, shake it off, and keep moving forward. If you choose to stand still, you’ll never know what lies ahead.

Balancing school, extracurricular and co-curricular activities, a social life, and maintaining relationships is not easy. It requires practice and improvement, but it can be done successfully.

College is one of the best times to find yourself and establish confidence that allows you to limit the influence of other people’s plans for your life. I’m not telling you to completely dismiss everyone’s opinion, but don’t let them override your dreams.

You are the in charge of your college career. You control what consumes your time and energy. You dictate how every waking second, minute, and hour is spent. Make the best of it!

Read the bullets below for a few principles I’ve adopted during my undergraduate college career:

  • Immerse Yourself in Your Interests: Join that club or organization that you enjoy following from a distance and yearn to become a member of.
  • A Greater Network Means a Greater Net Worth: Life is about who you know and who knows you. Relationships are essential.
    • I adopted Justin Graves’ personal goal of meeting one new person every day. (He’s a Hokie!)
  • Give It All You’ve Got: Make a decision and give it your all. No regrets.
  • Operate in respect: Respect everything and everybody.

Take control of your college career and inspire others to do the same. Thanks for reading!

– Danielle

Enter your email address on the sidebar for blog post notifications. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for great content!


Posted on Leave a comment

Pay Attention to the Details

Habits inevitably determine your performance. 

Self-reflect on your current habits. Are they excellent or can they be improved?

As students, sometimes we get complacent and strive on autopilot. For instance, you may say to yourself, “I’ve received A’s in English for seven years straight. I study by skimming the chapters and memorizing summaries on SparkNotes. I do what works for me.” That may have worked in the past, but it is not guaranteed to work forever.

The same thing goes for the scholarship process. Always look for new ways to improve.

Scholarship applicants who slap their application together the day before it’s due, rush to check their materials against the requirements. They usually miss a crucial aspects of the application – the details.

Apply the tips below to make sure you cover the details in your next application:

  • Tip #1: Complete the Bio: Most scholarships require your personal information (e.g., name, address).
    • Fill in the blanks for that part as soon as you get the application. It will save you time in the long run.
  • Tip #2: Brainstorm Before You Write: Most scholarships require an application, essay, or creative work to supplement the application.
    • Use a whiteboard or record yourself elaborating on the topic. It will help you plan your ideas before you begin the rough draft.
  • Tip #3: More Eyes, More Advice: We all make mistakes, but we have resources to help catch them.
    • Ask great editors in your circle to evaluate your creative component to make sure it answers the prompt, is clear, and free of grammatical errors.

Enter your email in the sidebar for blog post notifications! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @dough4degrees for new content daily!

Posted on Leave a comment


Retweet this if you are going to take action!