Hi Judge Josh,

First off thank you for doing this site- it has been a great help.

You’re quite welcome, Teresa – but I couldn’t do it without people like you!

Okay I’m just going to tell you the problem. I’m a first/second year student(I did a semester away from home and things didn’t work so now I’m back at square “A” in Community College), and to my dismay I am unable to find scholarships, AND I NEED THEM. I am going for my elementary education teacher degree to teach kindergarten and first grade, and of course FAFSA claims that my parents make too much for me to recieve anything from them so I need scholarships and lots of them.

The thing is almost every single scholarship I find requires me to have dealt with a “hardship” or show how I’ve been a “leader” in something, or to explain how something has changed me in a significant way. Truth be told I have lived a very very very sheltered life. What I want to know is, is it okay for me to use my medical illness, which is type 1 diabetes, as my “hardship” and how I have been a “leader” or will that make it sound like I’m playing the “poor old me has diabetes :( I should get the sch olarship because my pancreas doesn’t work right” card? I know that diabetes has changed me but I’m a little scared that if I tell the judges they are going to think I’m playing the “pity me I have a medical condition” card. So should I use my diabetes or should I try and think of something else to use for the scholarships.

- Teresa

Look at it this way, Teresa, why is your hardship (I don’t have diabetes, but I know it’s enough of a hardship to realize that I don’t want diabetes) any less valid than anyone else’s hardship?

If you think about it, I’m sure that many of the other applicants will list their hardships as things like growing up poor, losing a parent, overcoming a learning disability, etc.  These are all hardships to be sure, and I wouldn’t wish any of them on anyone.  But they aren’t any “harder” than having a chronic, lifelong disease that requires you to stick yourself with a needle multiple times every single day, or you will die!  Color me a sissy, but I’m not sure how I would deal with that, to be honest.  I hate needles.

So don’t sell yourself short, Teresa.  Diabetes may be something you can rise above and live a (mostly) normal life with, but it’s no less relevant than any of the harships people list in their scholarship essays.

What say you, folks?  Am I just a pansy who hates needles and can’t imagine having to give myself daily shots, or does Teresa have a legit hardship to write about here?


How Should You Answer The Question, “Have You Received Any Other Scholarship Awards?”

August 29, 2014

I always enjoy reading the posts, but I never thought I would have my own question to ask. As far as I know this question has not been adressed yet. It’s a fairly simple question that I have come across while filling out scholarship applications, yet no one has been able to give me a […]


Should I Go To College If I Don’t Know What I Want To Do With My Life?

August 28, 2014

After taking a two year hiatus from high school and working like a dog, I am pleased to announce that I’m set to graduate in June and have been accepted to college. Congratulations, Katlyn.  Although these days it seems like everyone is expected to go to college, a) not everyone should and b) just being […]


I Want To Make A Lot Of Money As A Lawyer & Use It To Help Animals – Is That Okay To Tell Scholarship Judges?

August 26, 2014

I’ve been reading your site and emails for a while, and definitely have found them to be super helpful in a general sense. I would like your advice on my situation in more specificity though. Shoot it at me, Hannah! I’m a senior in undergraduate, and have been accepted to one of my top law […]


Should You Work During High School?

August 21, 2014

Josh, I’m 17, a senior in high school. I’m taking three AP classes (Bio, Literature and Comparative Government) as well as Choir and Yearbook, which I am the business manager of. I’m not taking a ton of classes, but the ones I am taking require a lot of effort! On top of that, I’m working […]


Should She Take 2 Free Years of Community College?

August 5, 2014

Dear Mr. Barsch, Stop it, call me Josh. I feel old enough already. My name is Lindsey and I discovered you through scholarshipdude.com and have read every email I’ve gotten with your advice from your blog on various and important topics that many students face. Excellent. ScholarshipDude.com is a site where we list various individual […]


What’s Old is New Again: Or, the Return of the Judge-Eye!

July 8, 2013

Short Version: So, yeah. I’m back. Long version: Man, life does take its funny twists and turns, doesn’t it? One minute you’re blogging like a fool every day, knocking it out, everything’s going smoothly. And seemingly in the blink of an eye, you take some time off to catch up on a couple of weak […]


Caitlin & the State-School Blues

June 9, 2011

Caitlin’s feeling a little down in the dumps about the college aspirations she once had for herself and the reality that’s seeming to be a little different these days. I’m guessing there’s a few dozen of you out there feeling the same way. Hello! I’m a recently graduated senior and salutatorian from a high school […]


Should a Man Go To Cosmetology School?

March 31, 2011

Jordan wants to go to cosmetology school, but is it too — you know, womanly? I have read many of your article and posts and I have come to a conclusion that you are quite a knowledgeable person, which is what I really need right now. Well, thank you very much. Glad to be held […]


Supporting a Family While Going to School

March 23, 2011

Franklin’s a passionate guy with many interests. He also has many responsibilities, namely supporting his family. He wants to go to college. How can he pull that off? Hey Josh, how’s it going? I’m sleep-deprived but overcaffeinated, so it should balance out long enough for me to give you a decent answer here. Hopefully you […]


First Family High School Graduate. Wait For College?

March 18, 2011

Lashawn thinks she’s got it worse than I think she really does. Almost to the point where she’s considering skipping college for a bit, but I think that’s a bad idea considering her setup. I’ll be the first one of my family to graduate from high school, let alone go to college, so there is […]


Summer School vs. Working For Extra Cash

March 15, 2011

Adam’s situation is much better than a stick in the eye. He’s been accepted to his dream school, but they want him to pack up and leave pronto. If he waits, he might make more cash at a summer job, and who knows, maybe even get a fat scholarship — at a less competitive school. […]


Engineering vs. James Bond

February 14, 2011

Lots of students who write me have a career-choice dilemma on their hands, but none quite like that of RDX. Which is the writer’s name, btw. I like it. I think if I was going to have a three-letter moniker, I’d definitely have the last letter be X. JDX. How’s that sound? Anyway, here’s RDX’s […]


Should the Valedictorian Drop Out?

February 3, 2011

Stella’s got problems. She was the valedictorian in high school, headed for great things, and now things are off the rails. Hi, Judge Josh! First of all, I love your blog. I like you already. I’m in a bit of a tight situation. My college is more or less running me bankrupt. I graduated valedictorian […]


Sneak Off To Another College?

January 25, 2011

Aly is a daring lass with a plan that might actually make a great screenplay, as long as there were a lot of screwball antics and coming-of-age challenges to overcome triumphantly. Dear Josh, My parents have decided that instead of allowing me to go off to college next year, they want me to attend a […]


From Canada to Harvard Law School?

January 17, 2011

Rebecca’s a Canadian student who’s transferring in the States to marry her CanadiAmerican fiance. Many congrats in advance to the happy couple. But she has big dreams of Ivy League law school and wants to know if her current plans will translate into admission there. Hey Judge Josh, Thanks for all the great advice you […]


Is Tattooing Worthy Of My Art Degree?

January 4, 2011

Jacob’s a tortured artist — and he hasn’t really even started being an artist yet! I imagine his situation and mindset are not uncommon, though, for art students about to jump into the professional world. Hi Judge Josh, I am at a crucial moment in my educational life. I will graduate next semester with a […]


I Was Raped. Should I Tell The Committee?

December 28, 2010

Sarah was finishing up a stellar undergrad career at a very selective university, and then she was raped. That changed things, but it didn’t derail her, and she needs some advice on how to continue righting the ship. Hi Judge Josh, Hi! I’m a longtime reader and fan of your Q&A section, just never thought […]


Should I Mention My Criminal History?

December 17, 2010

Shiro’s like a rapper. Or, at least like a lot of rappers pretend to be. He’s made something of himself, but his past is a little sketchy. Had to do a little hustlin’ to get by back in the day. Hi Judge Josh, I am applying for a scholarship program and I have difficulties deciding […]


I Want Baylor. Parents Want Ivy League.

December 15, 2010

Danielle wants to a be a neo-natal nurse, and she wants to go to Baylor, which is an expensive private school. Mom & Dad don’t approve…but not for the reasons you might expect. Hello there. Hi. I’m a Senior in high school in Oklahoma City. I’ve known all of my life that I’ve wanted to […]


Bad College Advice, Volume I

December 13, 2010

Man, Rebecca’s been getting some terrible college advice. I want to thank her in advance for allowing me to smash some of it here in a public forum. My question has two parts. I will be graduating with my A.A.S in Accounting this December with a 3.6GPA after taking classes for four years. Congrats! It […]


When It’s OK to Lie

December 8, 2010

Sheri’s trying to get me in trouble today. Hey Josh, Hey! I’ve got a pretty great thing going on. I’m currently a debt-free sophomore in college with a 3.86 cumulative GPA, my family is supportive of me, and I’ve never had any trouble with people bullying me about my race, religion, or other attributes. To […]


Multiple Degrees, Same School: Bad?

December 7, 2010

Jennifer’s heard the chatter about getting your degrees from different schools, if you’re getting more than one. Is it worth listening to? I usually have a lot of input, but figured I would poll the troops. I am finally graduating with my Associates in Business from American Military University with honors – WOOHOO. It looks […]


I’m a Lesbian. Should I Hide That?

December 6, 2010

Victoria’s a lesbian, and her experience of being a lesbian actually makes a pretty sweet answer to one of her essay questions that could win her some money. But she’s not sure if it’s a great idea. Hi Josh, I’m in my final year of University and though I know what I want to do […]


Weighted GPA vs. Non-Weighted GPA

December 3, 2010

Brittany has an interesting question today. If a scholarship committee asks for your GPA but doesn’t specify weighted or unweighted, which one should you give ‘em? At my high school we are currently on an honors grading scale for majority of our classes. We are given a GPA that is considered to be weighted; when […]


I’m Average. Should I Drop Out?

December 1, 2010

Jatna’s having a rough time with college. It’s been harder for her than high school was, and she has that gnawing feeling that she wasn’t meant for it. That she should quit. First of all let me say that I absolutely love this blog, it has helped me get through some pretty tough times while […]


Jewelry Design: Good Career Choice?

November 30, 2010

Forget world travel. Lydia wants to stay put here in the U.S. and design jewelry for a living. But does that make sense? Will you be able to support yourself and possibly a family with that job in the coming decades? Hey Josh, Your blog is wonderful, I think it’s so great for someone to […]


Parental Horseshit

November 23, 2010

Elayne wants to be a horse trainer. But you know how it is with horse training — like its sister occupations, exotic dancing and prostitution, parents will stop at nothing to keep their children out of this sinister line of work. Or so it appears. I know you’ve answered this type of question a lot […]


UAH Shootings: How Do I Leave Respectably?

November 22, 2010

I’m back, people! And if you missed me as much as I missed writing here, well…you can consider this paragraph the interactive equivalent of a soulful embrace from your creepy uncle that lasts *just* a little bit too long for anyone in the room to be comfortable with. Now, let’s get back to business. April […]


Are Students Over-Exerting Themselves? (Counselor Buddy Advice!)

November 10, 2010

Today Counselor Buddy tells us there is such a thing as too many student activities. What do you guys think? How many activities are you involved with and do you ever get burned-out? Read Counselor Buddy’s guest article and leave a comment below. The increasing demands on students to market themselves to their colleges of […]