Going to college for free was a major goal of mine. I vowed to myself I would never be a financial burden for my parents who had already invested so much in me. The only problem was I did not know how to get this money. I thought I would have to work 2 jobs, donate a kidney and panhandle on the weekends to make this a reality. Thanks to my junior year English teacher, I was able to achieve this goal with all of my organs still present. You see, every morning at the beginning of class, we would grudgingly pull out our journal, flip to the back and begin writing down 5 scholarship opportunities she had projected on the screen. We would write the title and the criteria for each one. By the end of the year I had accumulated a nice list of scholarships, many of which I was eligible for and applied for the following year. I still wish I remembered that teacher’s name. I would give her a huge hug if I could.
A few weeks ago, I was super proud when my mentee (who was accepted to medical school already!) informed me he was applying for a scholarship. Isn’t that awesome? I certainly didn’t take full advantage of applying for scholarships during college but I tell all premedical students to do so. It sure could have helped with books, MCAT classes, etc.
There are so many organizations with money sitting there waiting for someone to apply for it. In fact, a few years ago on this website, we had a partnership with Kaplan and they allowed us to literally give out free MCAT courses. We struggled to find takers for this FREE $2,400 course yet we received so many messages from students challenged financially. I want to encourage each and every one of you to apply, apply, apply for scholarships and awards. Seek opportunities to be ambassadors. I recommend following these simple steps:
1. Purchase a journal or start a spreadsheet
2. Make a budget and set goals
3. Research scholarship and award opportunities through a Google search or your school’s website and take notes on criteria and deadlines. Make sure source is reliable.
4. Once a month, check in and aim to apply for one of these opportunities
By taking these steps, your pocketbook and maybe your parents will be very grateful. Always be careful though because there are scammers out there. If you have any suggestions on good websites or opportunities, please share. Or, if you have additional tips I’d love to hear/see them.
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