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Winning A Scholarship: Ella Avery-Smothers Story

May 6, 2008
Have you heard of Ella Avery-Smothers? Want to win a scholarship? Then you can learn from her example. She wanted an opportunity to go to college, even with bad grades. And you can, too.

Ella wasn't the greatest student. She wasn't the valedictorian, or even considered a smart student. Her family had crops to bring in, and she had to work morning and night to help. Her future didn't include much education, much money, or high expectations. She struggled, and in junior high and even in high school found herself at the low end of her class.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you have failed a test or two, or even a few classes. If you feel down, don't worry, it's normal to feel that way. But keep trying. In Ella's case, one of her high school teachers made a big difference in her future.

His name was Mr. Miller, and he said to her class that C-students had a gift to give, even if their grades were lower than others. He also said the backbone of our society is the good, solid-C student. Those words struck home with Ella, and came back to her over and over.

An Opportunity
One day an opportunity came for her to change her future. The school she went to made an announcement inviting all students planning to go to college to report to the cafeteria to take a scholarship test, to get money for college. At least one student made a surprised comment to Ella that she would take the test, but that didn't stop Ella.

Remember her example in your life: when you get an opportunity, take it. And you have them much more often than you think. You might even be able to apply for a scholarship today. She went to the cafeteria; she stayed and finished that test, and received a scholarship. That award changed Ella's life, with an opportunity to go to college.

Winning A Scholarship
No one can promise you will win a scholarship. But I can promise you won't if you don't apply. I can tell you that you will lose every single time that you don't try. I can also promise that someone else has had a situation similar to yours, and they kept trying, and eventually they succeeded. You can, too.

Most scholarship applications will ask you to write something about you. You call this part the scholarship essay. You want this part to shine. Have others read it after you write it, and make changes to improve it. Get your spelling right, your punctuation, and use words correctly. Once it is as good as you can make it, send it in. Keep a copy if you can.

Then, do it again with another scholarship. And apply for grants, as well. The government has many grants to offer to help all kinds of people go to college, you included.

You have to make the effort.

Did Ella Keep Her Scholarship?
No, Ella lost her scholarship after one semester. Bad news. Just one, and it was gone. She didn't quit, though. She found work, she took out a loan, and stayed and completed her elementary education degree.

Do you see her experience as failure or success? Her goal didn't require a scholarship after she got to college. Her goal was to finish, regardless. And she did. She had a dream and great life ahead of her, and you do, too, if you'll look for it.

And now? That little girl who worked on her parents' farm and started in a one room schoolhouse gives other young people money for their tuition. And she while she did teach, she now owns Burger King stores, 7 of them. Not bad, right? I think she knows the value of a chance to succeed.

What To Do Next: Apply
To take your next step, like Ella did, you need to apply. Apply for colleges, a great school and state schools, even community colleges. You can transfer the credits later. The school matters less than finishing, and taking opportunities to move you ahead. And apply for scholarships and grants, and get money for college.

Ella Avery-Smothers proved she could follow through. Once she completed her first degree, she got hired by a city public school system for a year or so. After that, she decided she wasn't finished, and earned an advanced degree.

When you look, you will see resources to help you go to college. It's your choice, and you can do it.
About the Author
And if you need money for college, come download my free ebook on grants, or learn more about scholarships.
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