Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Priorities & Goals

Did you follow us on social media this week? If you said no, you should because we are giving you FREE tips to graduate from college debt-free every day. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

4EAAF878-E974-4C55-801F-7DA6F27F114D

Last week, we released Dough 4 Degrees’ Priorities & Goals worksheet to help you visualize your success. This week, we spent time digging into the mindset and habits of those who choose to commit to their priorities to accomplish their goals.

Remember, you control your success. The decisions you make today will impact the life you live tomorrow. Please download your copy of our worksheet, complete it, and hang it somewhere you will see it everyday. If you need guidance, refer to last week’s post.

Also, if you would like to hear a playback of Thursday’s presentation at Virginia Tech’s Innovate Living-Learning Community, click this link. See you on social tomorrow for our #ScholarshipSunday.

Posted on 1 Comment

Academic Success & Priorities

In the United States, school is supposed to be the number one priority for everyone until the age of 18. We sit in the classroom for at least 7 hours a day in elementary, middle, and high school to learn material that will supplement our growth. We have a choice to make once we complete our secondary education and cross the stage.

What do you want to do with your life, and who do you want to be? Will you go to college for a degree, enter the workforce immediately, or take some time to explore the world? 

If you choose to go to college and would like to graduate debt-free, contact us so we can help you. We will teach you how to earn scholarships to graduate debt-free, but that means school has to be a priority.

How do you make school a priority? You have to identify what’s most important to you and what else is consuming your time.

Download a copy of Dough 4 Degrees’ Priorities & Goals and print the PDF. Fill in the document by using the example on the second page. Once you fill in your copy, hang it up so you will see it every day. Allow it to remind you of what comes first and why you do what you do.

Why should you do this? Everyone has more than one thing to do, but knowing why you’re doing it will help you keep the end in mind. It is important to know what you’re working toward and how you want it to impact you.

Email us a picture of your priorities & goals or paste one in the comments. We would love to hear how this material helps you.


Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube for more.

Posted on Leave a comment

Our September 2018 Events

Update as of September 20, 2018: Radford University’s Career & Talent Development Center has postponed their 2018 JumpStart Career Development Conference “in an effort to positively impact a broader number of students.” We hope to collaborate with them once the new date is announced.

Visit Radford’s site if you would like to learn more.


We have been on the move recently and we’re not stopping anytime soon. In the next two weeks, we will present our Scholarship Quick Start three different times. Learn more about our presentations and submit a booking request form to bring us to your area!

Thursday, September 20, 2018: Innovate Living-Learning Community, Blacksburg, VA

Innovate Brewery Night_DJeffers

Saturday, September 22, 2018: Radford University, Radford, VA

Radford University_Flyer

Saturday, September 29, 2018: Prince George’s County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Springdale, MD

Sept. 29, 2018 - MD

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube for more.

Posted on 1 Comment

Free money anyone?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a major key to earn scholarships. It is a federal document offered by the U.S. Department of Education to help students apply for financial aid. When you submit your FAFSA you unlock a multitude of doors to free money offered by the government, institutions, private and public organizations.

This week we shared different approaches to preparation and encouraged you to prepare to submit your FAFSA now! The 2019-20 FAFSA opens on October 1, 2018.

Our #MindsetMonday this week was “I will earn free money.” Do you enjoy free money? We believe everyone does and millions of dollars of it are available to students who choose to pursue them. Start by submitting your FAFSA!

503F73F2-9ADE-4257-B733-488CF39EB54F

Many scholarships require proof of submission of the FAFSA because it will help confirm your financial need. However, don’t let that discourage you if you don’t think you have a need. There are scholarships available that aren’t need based (i.e., merit-based scholarships).

Take these strategic steps as you prepare to submit your FAFSA.

  1. Visit the FAFSA website. Browse the many resources they have to help students succeed before, during, and after college.
  2. Create Your FSA ID. It’s the best way to access your personal information when the FAFSA opens. Keep your login in a safe place.
  3. Read about the FAFSA process. This infographic contains information about preparing for, filling out, and processing the FAFSA.

Dough 4 Degrees is invested in your success and financial freedom. We want you to attend the college of your dreams and graduate debt-free.

Take a look at our best-selling product, our Scholarship Success Program, where we teach students how to earn scholarships to avoid the student debt epidemic.

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube for more.

Posted on Leave a comment

Cost of Attendance

This week’s social media series was about cost of attendance.

It is a fact that the cost of college is on the rise. Today, students are taking out loans quicker than they consider applying for scholarships. Take a look at our Monday post to learn how much debt the average student has after graduation.

At Dough 4 Degrees, we believe you can go to the college of your dreams and graduate debt-free. How? By utilizing the tools and resources we provide to earn thousands of dollars in scholarships. Our best-selling product, our Scholarship Success Program, will help you earn the scholarships you need to succeed during your college career.

Throughout this week, we also shared an equation to help students use their cost of attendance and free financial aid to determine how much money they will need to graduate debt-free. Check out our video for an example you can use now.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of How Do i identify my cost of atteNdance?.png

There are plenty of resources you can use to find the money you need to avoid the student debt epidemic. We encourage you to start with the scholarship databases below. Scholarship databases are home to millions of dollars in scholarships that are matched to you automatically after you create your profile.


Stay tuned for next week’s social media series where we will teach you how to prepare to submit your FAFSA! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube for more.

Posted on 1 Comment

Imagine Your Scholarship Success

Have you seen our posts this week about how you can imagine you scholarship success? We’ve released content on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


In 2018, we are releasing a weekly social media series to help you with your scholarship success. Each week has its own focus and is broken down strategically each day. Here’s the break down:

#ScholarshipSunday: Sets the tone for the week by sharing the mindset, tip, and strategy.

#MindsetMonday: Identifies our mindset to accomplish this week’s goal.

#TrainTuesday: Specifies the “muscle” we need to train this week to achieve our goal.

#WisdomWednesday: Provides insight into the week’s focus.

#TipThursday: Explains the tip for the week.

#FocusFriday: A reminder of this week’s focus.

#StrategySaturday: Relays practical advice to help you finish the week strong.

All of the information we provided for imagining your scholarship success is on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. Imagining your scholarship success is the first step to a debt-free degree.

Take a look at our #MindsetMonday video below.

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 http://tinyurl.com/zo92se8.

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: http://tinyurl.com/zo92se8.

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.