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2009 Resolve to Evolve Scholarship Winners Announced

November 12, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Scholarships.com is pleased to announce its 2009 Resolve to Evolve Essay Scholarship winners!

The five winners of the 2009 Scholarships.com Resolve to Evolve Scholarship tackled college costs, achievement gaps, energy policy, and post-graduation struggles in essays that provided not only their criticism and opinions, but workable solutions to problems facing the country.

College students have been creatively addressing current events and issues through the Resolve to Evolve Essay Scholarship since 2006. This year, the contest asked applicants to explore the efficacy of general education requirements or create their own “calls for change” in response to the current administration’s tasks for the future. The five winners each received $1,000 scholarship awards, and will have their essays posted online and forwarded to officials who may be able to act on their suggestions.

This year’s winners were Jennifer C., who argued that general education requirements should include life skills to help students get and keep jobs after graduation; Andrew K., who suggested legalizing and taxing marijuana to pay for two years of free tuition for every college-bound American; Tara M., who proposed investing in early childhood education to close achievement gaps and support lifelong learning; Yvonne V., who suggested more flexible general education requirements with a firm foundation that left room for greater freedom after the first year of school; and Tai W., who offered a strategy for energy reform in the United States.

"For me, winning the Resolve to Evolve scholarship has a special meaning. I am a returning student, and it took a lot of motivation to return to school after a seven-year hiatus. ... Winning this scholarship helped me prove to myself that I can succeed and accomplish my goals," Tai W. said about the scholarship application process.

Jennifer C. compared winning the award to "having my own cheering squad encouraging me to go on with my education and helping me succeed."To learn more about this year's winners and winners from previous years, visit our Resolve to Evolve award winners page. We also have a Success Stories page for scholarship searchers who have landed some generous scholarship funding by applying for awards early and seeking out scholarships often. Check those out to give you a confidence boost for your own search, as it's a great time to be looking for scholarships. And remember, essay scholarships aren't the only awards out there. Conduct a free scholarship search to see the kinds of awards you may qualify for, because many won't require an impressive academic record or essay-writing ability. Good luck!

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Lost Your Scholarship? How to Cope

November 13, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Cancellations and cutbacks to scholarship programs have been making the news a lot lately.  Michigan recently ended its state Promise Scholarship in the face of a budget crisis (though the state's governor vows to restore funding) and other states and companies are also having to make some hard cuts.  The latest round has left five high-achieving Arizona high school juniors without the four-year full-tuition scholarship they signed a contract to receive in the fifth grade.

Budgetary cutbacks aren't the only way that students can lose scholarship money.  Many scholarship funds are only designated for a set amount of time: four years, two years, or just one check.  Other awards are contingent on strict eligibility criteria.  A dip in your GPA, a semester where you drop below full-time, or a transfer to another college or university could potentially make you ineligible for a renewable scholarship award.  All of this can change your college funding picture dramatically from year-to-year.

Transfer Students

Students who are transferring will want to see if their new college offers scholarships for transfer students.  If your scholarship is from your college, it's unlikely to transfer to your new school unless there's a preexisting special arrangement between the two institutions.  However, if you've won an outside scholarship, especially one from a state or national organization, you should contact the provider to see if the award will transfer to your new school. You also will want to do a scholarship search--many national scholarship awards are designated specifically for transfer students, especially students who are moving from community colleges to four-year schools.

Lost Eligibility

Students who have lost their scholarship from not meeting eligibility criteria will often have a chance to appeal the decision to revoke the award.  Ask the scholarship provider if there's an appeals process, and follow the instructions exactly in as timely a manner as possible.  If there are extenuating circumstances that led to the situation, you may need to document them.  Above all, be polite and respectful and try to create a good impression, even if your appeal is denied. Awards that run out can also occasionally be appealed for an extension, or applied for again for a possible second round of funding.  Check the rules for the contest or ask the scholarship provider if this is the case.  Even if you lose eligibility for one award, it doesn't mean you're ineligible for all scholarship opportunities.  Search for scholarships to see what else you may be able to find.

Canceled Programs

Finally, if your scholarship program has been canceled, there are still things you can do.  Some providers, like our Arizona example above, will help students find alternate funding, and may even be able to supplement some of the difference between what they promised and what you can't find on your own.  Some colleges are also making up for cuts in high-profile state and local scholarship programs by creating their own scholarship funds for the students affected.  Other schools have emergency aid or one-time scholarships available to students who find themselves suddenly without the means to pay their tuition.  Check with your financial aid office to see if your school can help.

Students who have already succeeded at winning scholarships are also likely to win more, since so many scholarship providers have similar criteria. If you find yourself caught without scholarship money you had planned to use, try to find some time to apply for additional awards.  You may even win more money than what you lost.

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Mommy Goes to College Scholarship

November 16, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

There are a number of scholarship for women out there, and as a response to a weak economy, scholarship providers have also taken notice of mothers going back to school to improve their financial opportunities and provide for their families. If you're a mom returning to college (whether you're single or not), consider that when you're looking for scholarships, because there are awards out there based on almost any characteristic.

This week's Scholarship of the Week, the $1,000 Mommy Goes to College award through MyUSearch, targets moms who wish to go to college to not only broaden their own horizons, but inspire their children to do the same. The award will be given to one mom who is up to the challenges of balancing the duties of both college and motherhood, and applicants will asked to write an essay on that theme. If you're a mommy looking for ways to fund your college dreams, you could be eligible for this award, or others like it.

Prize: $1,000

Eligibility: All applicants must be mothers who have an annual combined household income of $100,000 or less. Eligible women must be planning to pursue an undergraduate degree at an accredited U.S. college or university, and have not yet enrolled in at their intended college. This scholarship is for first year and transfer students only who will begin their first semesters on or before October of 2010.

Deadline: December 31, 2009

Required Material: Applicants must complete an application through the scholarship provider, which includes a written or video essay component on the following topic: "What is your biggest challenge as a mother trying to get a degree? What can colleges and universities do to help you overcome this challenge and encourage other mothers to further their education?"

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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Make National Scholarship Month a Cause for Celebration

November 16, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Scholarships.com has a guest blog post on the Church Hill Classics DiplomaFrame Blog today in honor of National Scholarship Month.  Although squeezing more work into your already hectic schedule may not seem like the best cause for celebration, free money for college certainly is.  We go through some basic tips for starting your scholarship search and completing scholarship applications.

To read more and to check out the Church Hill Classics website, visit http://www.diplomaframe.com.  Church Hill Classics offers a variety of diploma framing options, as well as the Frame My Future Scholarship, which has previously been featured as a Scholarships.com Scholarship of the Week.

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AXA Achievement Scholarship

November 23, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

The term "achievement" means much more than academic or athletic success, and there are scholarship opportunities that recognize this fact.  High school students who have accomplished something significant in their school, workplace, or community--and not merely for a grade in school--are invited to apply for the AXA Achievement Scholarship, this week's Scholarship of the Week.

The AXA Foundation, in association with U.S. News and World Report and Scholarship America, seeks to reward high school students who are making a difference in their communities.  Previous winners include students who have set up a food bank in their community, designed a curriculum to get kids interested in science, founded a nonprofit organization for young people that encourages community service and civic involvement.  AXA scholarship winners are a diverse group wo have the following in common:  ambition and drive; determination to set and reach goals; respect for self, family and community; and the ability to succeed in college.

Prize: 52 state winners: $10,000, 10 national winners: $15,000 (for a total of $25,000)

Eligibility: Current high school seniors who plan to enroll full-time in an accredited two-year or four-year college or university in the United States by fall 2010.  Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents.

Deadline: December 15, 2009

Required Material:Completed scholarship application, found on the AXA Achievement website, recommendation from an adult (not a family member) who can attest to the student's achievement, and high school transcripts.  In the application students are asked to describe an outstanding non-academic achievement that they feel qualifies them for the scholarship.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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Discover Scholarship Program

November 30, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Corporate scholarships award some of the most generous funding out there, and while competition can be fierce for these awards, you could be looking at an impressive financial aid package if you're chosen as the winner of such an award.

This week's Scholarship of the Week is no exception. The Discover Scholarship Program awards up to 10 scholarships of $40,000 each annually to high school juniors who show a passion for leadership and community service, and who have faced some significant roadblock in their lives. The program has been offered since 1991, with more than $16 million awarded in scholarships to nearly 6,500 students since then.

Prize: Up to 10 scholarships of $40,000 each

Eligibility: Applicants must be current high school juniors enrolled in an accredited U.S. high school, with plans to graduate from that high school. Homeschooled students and students attending military base high schools in or outside the United States are also eligible. Applicants must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 over their freshman and sophomore years.

Deadline: January 31, 2010

Required Material: An online application is available starting in December on the Discover website. Scholarship money may be used for any type of post-secondary education, training, certification, or licensing programs, including two-year trade and technical colleges. Judging is based on outstanding achievements in areas beyond academics.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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Dell Scholars Program

December 7, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Are you a hardworking high school student frustrated by the emphasis on GPA and test scores in many scholarship contests?  If you've ever caught yourself thinking, "sure, anyone can get a 4.0 if they take easy enough classes," you may want to check out the Dell Scholars Program, this week's Scholarship of the Week.  The Dell Scholars Program seeks to reward students who use their high school experience to prepare for college, taking challenging classes and participating in college-readiness programs, while taking care of other responsibilities outside of school.

High school seniors who have participated for two years in an approved college-readiness program, such as AVID or Upward Bound, while maintaining at least a 2.4 GPA are eligible to apply for the Dell Scholars Program, which carries a scholarship award of $20,000.  The scholarship application focuses primarily on a student's dedication to college success, asking questions about your non-scholastic activities and responsibilities, the challenges you face, the steps you've taken to prepare for college, and the amount of financial support you need for college.  Dell Scholars are students who have the drive to push themselves to earn a bachelor's degree.

Prize: $20,000 - 250 scholarships awarded

Eligibility: High school seniors who are U.S citizens or permanent residents and who plan to enroll in a bachelor's degree program at an accredited higher education institution next fall.  Applicants must have participated in a college readiness program for two years with a cumulative GPA of 2.4 or higher, and must have demonstrated financial need for college.

Deadline: January 15, 2010

Required Material: Completed online scholarship application (available on the Dell Scholars website). The application may require information from your high school transcripts and your and your parents' tax returns, and will also include a couple of short essay questions.  Semifinalists will be asked to provide a letter of recommendation, a copy of their high school transcript, and FAFSA Student Aid Report, as well

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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Ronald Reagan College Leaders Scholarship

December 14, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

There are a lot of awards out there that target high school seniors and college freshman, one justification being that in order for those student populations to even consider going to college, they may need more help getting a start and funding that difficult first year. This week's Scholarship of the Week, however, targets college sophomores who have spent that first year proving themselves on their college campuses.

The Ronald Reagan College Leaders Scholarship is given to college sophomores who are making a difference on their campuses as leaders and have taken a stand against ideological conformity. The award is given annually by The Phillips Foundation, a nonprofit that looks to advance constitutional principles, free enterprise, and a democratic society. This scholarship program was launched in 1999 to provide renewable awards to undergraduates demonstrating leadership on behalf of the cause of freedom, American values, and constitutional principles. The foundation awarded more than $200,000 in new and renewed scholarships for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Prize: Up to two $10,000 awards will be awarded, but scholarship renewals will also be given in the amounts of $7,500, $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000 for the 2010–2011 academic year.

Eligibility: Applicants must be college sophomores enrolled full-time and in good standing at any accredited, four-year degree-granting institution in the United States or its territories. Third-year students are eligible to have their awards renewed to help in the costs of their senior years on campus.

Deadline: January 15, 2010

Required Material: Applicants must complete an online application that will ask for proof of good standing at their accredited colleges, a short essay highlighting their personal background and scope of activities consistent with the reasons for the award, any documentation proving the students' leadership abilities, and at least two letters of recommendation.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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So You Want To Set Yourself Apart, Huh?

December 28, 2009

by Derrius Quarles

After you have created your list of scholarships and or colleges and identified the people you want to write your recommendations it is time to tackle the most important part of the application. The reason writing skills are apart of the foundation of the application is because they build up to the personal statement. The personal statement is just that; writing that makes a statement about who you are as a person. It does something that a grade point average, test score, or award cannot: it gives you the opportunity to creatively tell the scholarship or admissions review board (the people who will read and judge your application) how high school has affected you. It also provides the opportunity for the review board to gain an understanding of who you are when you leave school. The review board will be looking for students who are well rounded and that understand that school is more than just acquiring accolades and gaining a high GPA or test score. School is about growth and progression and the people who read your application will enjoy applicants who show that they understand this concept. The personal statement is your chance to show the review board that you understand, and in many instances it will be used to evaluate everything else included in your application.

Now that you see why the personal statement is so important, it’s time to start writing. However, before you start writing, please check out my Top Five Don’ts When Writing a Personal Statement:

  1. Do not send in a personal statement with multiple grammar and punctuation mistakes. Be sure to have it proof-read and edited, revising until it is grammatically correct; this shows the review boards you are ready for college level writing and does not waste their time.
  2. The personal statement is not the time to tell a sob story that you believe will make the review board feel sorry for you. Everyone experiences adversity and the review boards hear hundreds if not thousands of sad stories. Instead show them how you got over your adversities.
  3. More does not necessarily mean better. If the application gives you a word limit or maximum for your personal statement, follow directions. One easy way to get your application tossed is not being able to follow simple directions.
  4. Do not start on the personal statement a week before the application is due. You will not have time to do the necessary revisions that make a great personal statement.
  5. Do not use the entire personal statement talking about your activities, honors, awards, and GPA because they are already listed in the rest of your application. It is a waste of an opportunity to create a story that says something about who you are.

Now that you have read the "Top Five Don’ts When Writing a Personal Statement", you should be more than ready to write a great personal statement for any college or scholarship. Just remember that the personal statement is about illustrating who you are as a person in and, more importantly, outside of school. You want to find something that other parts of your application do not say, start early, be concise, be creative, and revise, revise, revise. If you keep these points in mind you will definitely set yourself apart.

About the Author: Derrius L. Quarles is a 19-year-old freshman at Morehouse College. He hopes to go to medical school after he graduates with a degree in psychology and biology and a minor in public health, and to one day work on the public health policies of his hometown, Chicago, and beyond. To help him achieve those academic and career ambitions, Derrius has won more than $1.1 million in scholarships, including a full scholarship to attend Morehouse, since graduating from Chicago’s Kenwood Academy High School with a 4.2 GPA. Derrius was awarded a Gates Millennium scholarship and won a number of other highly competitive awards, many of which he found while searching for scholarships at Scholarships.com. He is the first in his family to attend college, and spent his childhood in the foster care system before becoming the “Million Dollar Scholar.” This is the third in a series of posts Derrius is writing for Scholarships.com on how he was able to fund his education, along with advice about the scholarship application process.

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The Morality of Profit Project

December 28, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Still finding yourself with a lot of time on your hands this winter break? This week's Scholarship of the Week could help you with that. The Morality of Profit Project through the SEVEN Fund asks applicants to write an essay of up to 3,000 words on the morality of profit, and whether the pursuit of profit is moral in the current global economic crisis.

The SEVEN Fund, or the Social Equity Venture Fund, is an independent nonprofit organization that provides monetary, organizational and intellectual support for the study of enterprise-based solutions to poverty. The essay scholarship aims to get more young people thinking about profit motives, as the debate is currently fairly polarized. If you have opinions on the topic and enjoy writing a good essay, this could be the perfect contest to get your creative juices flowing. The organization is also all about diversity, so those from diverse cultural, religious, philosophical, and academic traditions are especially welcome to participate.

Prize: SEVEN will award top honors to three essays, with a grand prize of $20,000, a second prize of $10,000, and a third prize of $5,000. The best pieces will be collected into a manuscript, which is intended for publication, and the program will culminate with an international conference in 2010.

Eligibility: Everyone is welcome to apply, no matter your field, discipline, or profession. The competition is also a global one, so both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens are welcome to participate.

Deadline: February 28, 2010

Required Material: The essay must be submitted electronically in a Microsoft Word or PDF format only, using the submission form on the organization's website. Every essay must, in addition to the actual essay, include a 100 word abstract at the beginning of the document. Along with the submission, applicants are asked to include the following information in the submission form, as well as on the first page of your submitted essay: full name and mailing address, a contact telephone number, your email, and a brief paragraph biography. All information requested, including contact information, abstract, and the essay should be included in a single document.

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