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You Don’t Need Motivation. Make a Decision.

Students, it is extremely important that you seek opportunities for yourself and choose to chase them relentlessly.

You won’t manifest your dreams by watching a series of motivational videos throughout the day or reading motivational quotes every moment. You have to make a decision. 

You have to decide to get off of social media, eliminate the distractions, and invest in yourself! An hour of work today will put you an hour ahead tomorrow!

If you are ready to begin your scholarship journey, then I encourage you to enroll in our Scholarship Success Program! You’ll learn the secrets and strategy I used to win $200,000 in scholarships to graduate debt-free from Virginia Tech in May 2019!


Check our Upcoming & Past Events page to see if my team and I are coming to an area near you soon. If you would like to book me for a speaking engagement, please visit our Events page.

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The Perspective You Need to Win Scholarships!

My favorite thing to do as a scholarship coach is to help students all around the world graduate debt-free! Unfortunately, many students quit or choose not to begin their journey to success because they don’t believe in themselves. Watch this video to learn about the perspective you need to ensure your scholarship success.

If you are ready to begin your scholarship journey, then I encourage you to enroll in our Scholarship Success Program! You’ll learn the secrets and strategy I used to win $200,000 in scholarships to graduate debt-free from Virginia Tech in May 2019!


Check our Upcoming & Past Events page to see if my team and I are coming to an area near you soon. If you would like to book me for a speaking engagement, please visit our Events page.

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Overachievers Don’t Exist!

Are you wondering why you’ve hit a plateau? Or are you stuck in a rut and can’t seem to get out?

Remember this, “there is no such thing as an overachiever!” You will see the results you want when you believe in yourself and your ability to manifest your greatness! The results require hard work, diligence, persistence, and determination, but they are attainable.

It doesn’t matter if you’re attempting to graduate debt-free, earn your Ph.D., or be the first millionaire in your family. It’s all attainable when you take the limits off of your abilities!

If this video helps you see the truth in the fact that you can achieve anything, then please let the ones you love know by sharing this video. If you need scholarship assistance to graduate debt-free, then enroll in our Scholarship Success Program! I want to help you achieve your dreams!


I would love to come to your area to teach your students and community how to earn scholarships to graduate debt-free. Book me by visiting www.dough4degrees.com/events.

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Danielle’s 2019 SVB Trek Experience

2019 began with a bang! As a student entrepreneur and the founder of Dough 4 Degrees, I traveled to San Francisco, California for a four-day extravaganza with the Silicon Valley Bank.

Watch the video below to learn about my key takeaways from conversations with millionaire investors and prominent CEOS. Read this PDF for a full list of all of the speakers.

I also would like to express gratitude to Dan Beck, Chief Financial Officer of Silicon Valley Bank, for sponsoring my travel through Apex’s Venture Scholars program. His generosity and willingness to ensure that a fellow Hokie has a chance to learn more about entrepreneurship is deeply appreciated.

The Silicon Valley Bank Trek is for student entrepreneurs at different universities around the world. In my cohort, there were students from India, Ireland, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We were a diverse cohort in age, socioeconomic background, disciplines, and experiences.

However, there were similarities that allowed us to connect beyond our identities and interest in entrepreneurship.

I encourage you to consider my advice below if you would like to join the next SVB Trek:

  1. Know your business and yourself. The SVB Trek is an opportunity for you to grow as an individual and receive critical advice that can help your business grow. I used this experience to gain more self-awareness and create conversations with others so they could critique the business model of Dough 4 Degrees. Their feedback and ideas have helped tremendously.
  2. Connect with the entrepreneurship program at your university. Silicon Valley Bank is constantly looking for new schools and students. The university official that SVB will probably communicate with the most about this opportunity is the director or associate director of your entrepreneurship program. I suggest that you strive to consistently improve your business idea and ensure that your university’s entrepreneurship program is aware of the work you’re doing, so they can nominate you.
  3. Build traction early and leverage it at all times. Having an idea is great, but having a prototype and/or paying customers is even better. Demonstrating that you have traction via press, investments, or paying customers gives you leverage to show why they should consider you for this opportunity. Always keep this approach in mind, but never unethically manipulate your data to help you win.
  4. Always operate with a heart of gratitude. Be grateful for the opportunity regardless of your results. Expressing gratitude and operating with humility will take you further in life than boasting and gloating.

I hope my video and the tips above are helpful. Please contact me via LinkedIn if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. I would love to hear about your experience!


Connect with Dough 4 Degrees on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube for scholarship success content! Follow this blog for additional information.

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Maximize Your Break​

The ability to rest and not suffer from sleep-deprived nights is a benefit of your winter break. Doesn’t it feel good to step away from a demanding academic schedule and spend quality time with your loved ones?

Enjoy those moments and the holidays as you prepare for 2019. Now, is the best time to take advantage of your free time to ensure that you will graduate debt-free!

Watch the video below for three tips to maximize your break!

Review our Dec. 2018 Scholarship Challenge to take a step toward earning thousands of dollars in scholarships!


If you know you need to earn scholarships to attend the college of your dreams, then enroll in our best-selling product, Our Scholarship Success Program. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to graduate debt-free!

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Dough 4 Degrees’ Dec. 2018 Scholarship Challenge

The best investment you will ever make is an investment in yourself. Take advantage of the remaining days of this year and begin your scholarship journey to a debt-free degree.

Watch the video below for more information about our December 2018 Scholarship Challenge!

Please read our “Cost of Attendance” blog if you need help searching for scholarships. This blog contains links that will help you find scholarships that fit you best.

If you would like more personalized assistance to help you earn scholarships, then we encourage you to purchase our best-selling product, Our Scholarship Success Program. This program contains detailed information that will help you write winning scholarship essays and secure your chances at a life of financial freedom.


Comment below any questions you have about scholarships, college, or graduating debt-free.

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How to Complete a Scholarship in 4 Days

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):

  1. Review the YFL website to gain a clear understanding of the mission and goals of the organization.
    1. If you would like to know even more about the organization, then study their parent company, Financial Education Services.
  2. Complete the Scholarship Application Entry Form.
  3. Download the PDF and print two copies.
    1. You will submit one copy and keep another one for your records.
  4. Read the entire PDF and decide which essay prompt you will answer.
    1. Circle or make a star beside the one that you believe is best for you.
  5. Organize your essay document in the software of your choice based on the guidelines provided in the PDF. (e.g., Microsoft Office, Google Docs).
  6. 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.
    1. Sincerely apologize for the last-minute notice and pray that they will say, “Yes!”
    2. 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.
      1. 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!
    3. 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.
      1. This could be your message:
        1. “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.”
        2. 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.
        3. 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.
  7. Check your schedule for tomorrow and decide when you will devote 2.5 hours to writing and revising your essay.
    1. The writing process functions best in a distraction-free space.

Day 2 (approximately 2.5 hours):

  1. Focus on the essay.
    1. Re-read the three essay prompts and confirm that you have selected the one that you can elaborate on the most.
    2. Write the prompt at the top of the essay document you formatted yesterday.
      1. 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.
    3. Read the prompt you selected and identify the keywords. You can highlight or circle those words to make them stand out.
      1. Keywords communicate exactly what the scholarship committee expects to see in your essay.
        1. Keywords include phrases and terms such as “goals,” course outline” and “common financial philosophy.”
  2. Use your blank space to write down your initial thoughts after you read the prompt.
    1. Don’t hesitate. You should not seek perfection. Write to clear your brain and capture your first response.
      1. Your immediate response usually communicates what is most important to you.
      2. 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.
  3. Breathe. Relax your mind and body.
    1. 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!
  4. Reread your essay prompt and brainstorming notes.
    1. After you read your brainstorming notes, your creative juices should start flowing. Use this energy to write the rough draft of your essay.
  5. Write your rough draft in the document you formatted on Day 1.
    1. A rough draft is not perfect. The goal is to write your raw and unedited thoughts in this document without stopping.
    2. Just write. Don’t worry about sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or continuity. Just write.
      1. 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.
  6. After you’ve written your rough draft, breathe and step away from it. Take a 10-minute break to do something you enjoy.
  7. Return to your rough draft and accept the fact that it is ROUGH.
    1. 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.
  8. Re-read the prompt, your rough draft and make corrections.
    1. Re-read the prompt to make sure it is fresh in your mind.
      1. This will remind you that your primary goal is to answer the prompt so you can secure this $25,000 scholarship!
      2. 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.
  9. Re-read your essay with the new corrections.
  10. Visit Grammarly.com
    1. Create a free account.
    2. Copy and paste your essay into Grammarly and watch it correct all of your comma splices, misspelled words, and more.
    3. Correct every mistake in their software. Copy and paste your corrected essay from Grammarly so that it replaces your rough draft.
  11. Email your rough draft to the person who agreed to proofread it and remind them of the deadline.
    1. I would also follow-up with a text after you’ve emailed them because people typically respond faster.
  12. Breathe and embrace the fact that you are two days from making sure that you have a chance at winning a $25,000 scholarship!
  13. 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)

  1. Find a location where there aren’t any distractions and complete the financial exam.
    1. You will need a good WiFi connection to find all of the answers online.
  2. Research all of the correct answers for the 30-question financial exam by using Google, family, and friends.
    1. 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.
  3. Put your financial exam to the side.
  4. Place all of your materials in a safe place and take a look at your schedule for tomorrow.
    1. 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)

  1. Gather the proofread version of your essay and thank the person who took the time to help you.
    1. Read your editor’s suggestions and feedback in its entirety before making any changes.
      1. Are their suggestions correct? Does anything stand out to you or is something questionable?
        1. Always remember that you can use Google to double check their suggestions.
    2. 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.
      1. You don’t want to submit anything less than your best.
  2. Place your essay to the side and focus on your questions.
    1. Are all of them answered correctly? Are you answer choices clear?
  3. Once you’ve finished the questions, address the manila envelope and ensure that you can make it to the post office on time.
    1. Please make sure you’ve addressed the envelope correctly.
  4. Take pictures of your exam and duplicate your answers onto the second copy.
    1. Remember, you printed two copies on Day 1.
  5. Double check to make sure your essay is formatted correctly. Print two copies of your essay.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  6. 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.

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The 2018 Youth Financial Literacy Foundation Scholarship

Would you answer 30 multiple choice questions and write a 500-word essay for $25,000?

The opportunity is available for you through the Youth Financial Literacy (YFL) Foundation Scholarship! All you have to do is complete the requirements and submit your application to their headquarters in Michigan by December 15, 2018.

Watch the video below for information about who’s eligible and how I can increase your chances of winning the scholarship.

The official website has more information about the details of the questions and the essay requirements. You can begin your scholarship application via this link.

How much money can you win?

This year the YFL Foundation is giving away $350,000 in scholarships! By following directions and submitting your application on time, you have a chance at winning one of the following scholarships:

  • 1st place – $25,000
  • 2nd place – $20,000
  • 3rd place – $18,000
  • 4th place – $15,000
  • 5th place – $12,000
  • 6th – 10th place – $7,000 each
  • 11th – 55th place – $5,000 each

There is no reason why you shouldn’t apply!

How did I win first place, a three-day all expense paid trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, and $6,000 in 2015?

The simple answer is I perfected my essay, made sure all of my questions were answered correctly and submitted my application on time. That is true. That’s what I did, but there’s more to the story.

I’ll walk you through my journey to success and help you increase your chances of winning anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000 in the next few weeks.

Connect with Dough 4 Degrees on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube for updates! Follow this blog for more scholarship success information.

Visit our products page for additional resources to begin your scholarship journey. I suggest purchasing your $5 copy of Choose the Right College: 9 Steps to Identify Your College if you are in the college selection process.

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Relationships Lead to More Scholarships

Life is about who you know and who knows you! You may know some amazing people who are accomplishing their dreams. Continue to support them and encourage them to do what’s right. But, how will your life change when people know you?

Relationships will open doors for you that you may not know exist. This week, we communicated the importance of relationships on social media.

We all want to be known for something. It’s natural. We’re built for community and relationships. The important questions are “What do you want people to know you for and how do you want it to impact you?”

As you apply for scholarships, you want the scholarship providers to know you for your accomplishments, commitment, honesty, integrity, and drive. When they see your name, you want them to think and speak good things.

So, here are some tips you can use.

On Thursday, I had a conversation with Naphtali Bryant, a scholarship success strategist. Naphtali has won several scholarships and traveled around the world debt-free to pursue his education. You can learn more on his website.

During our conversation we exchanged ideas about the scholarship process. He mentioned something that will help you, “Use social media as your personal news network.”

What does that mean?

That means you have to take intiative to connect with the individuals who could be reviewing your scholarship applications.

What should you do?

  1. Call or email the organization who is providing the scholarship you’re applying for to gain the name of the contact who’s responsible for the scholarship.
  2. Once you have the contact’s name, connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
  3. Post humble content with updates about how you’re performing in school and what you’re up too. The goal is for them to become familiar with who you are before you submit your scholarship application.

Post any questions in the comments and share this someone you know who needs scholarships! Let us know if there is a topic you would like to know more about in the comments.


Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube for more scholarship success information. Visit our products page for additional resources to begin your scholarship journey.

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Did you know that you can complete your FAFSA on your phone?

Yes, it’s true. On October 1, 2018, students will be able to complete their 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on their smartphones!

You can download the “myStudentAid app” on your device via the Apple AppStore or the Google Play Store. Downloading the app will streamline your FAFSA submission and give you access to the information you used to have to wait days to receive (e.g., Estimated Family Contribution also known as EFC).

We have a resource for you if you would like to learn more about how this app can help you. Visit Smart College Visit’s blog, “myStudentAid: The FAFSA Mobile App and How It Can Help You.

Smart College Visit is one of our partners in helping students go to college and graduate debt-free. The company provides resources and services to educate students “to search for colleges, find campus visit dates, get directions for college trips, and book hotels near campus.”

If you would like to learn more about how you can prepare to submit your FAFSA, then read our blog, “Free money anyone?” It contains three tips to help you start today!


We released this information on social media first. If you missed it, then your missing important announcements and daily tips to help you graduate from college debt-free. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.