It was only a few short years ago that I made the decision to do all of my company’s philanthropy through scholarship programs for students around the world. Since then, my team has received hundreds of thousands of scholarship essays from students from every corner of the globe. And I do mean every corner: I’m no slouch at geography, and I’ve learned the whereabouts of at least a dozen new countries since beginning our programs thanks to our students’ applications.
It’s been an extremely rewarding experience and an eye-opener in many respects. We’ve been able to peek into the lives of thousands of tomorrow’s leaders (and many, many more of tomorrow’s followers, to be perfectly honest) from all over the world. But this book addresses something else we’ve seen: the fact that most students make a lot of easily avoidable mistakes when they write their scholarship essays – mistakes that end up costing them many thousands of dollars in scholarship money. This book covers all of the errors we could fit into a book, making it the most comprehensive and valuable collection of insider information on the subject that you can find.
That may sound like a grand claim, and at first, I had no intention of making it. Scholarships are as old as education itself, so I always assumed that someone had documented these errors in a book long ago, and that most of our applicants simply weren’t reading that book. But I was strolling through a Borders one day and happened by the education/reference section (or whatever they’re calling it these days – it’s the section packed with test-prep books fatter than the Chicago yellow pages, be they for the SAT or the MCAT or the test to become a prison guard), and I found nothing of the sort. Sure, there are a couple of books out there (Peterson’s, etc.) that list a couple thousand scholarships that you can apply for, but nothing that tells you how to win them.
That, to me, was amazing. Billions of dollars are available in scholarship money and thousands of people sit on scholarship committees, and not one has stepped up to talk about the abundance of serious mistakes kids are making when they apply? Mistakes, mind you, that end up leaving them tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt because there’s no other way to pay for their college tuition.
But this book changes all that. It discusses the tiniest details over which scholarship committees obsess when they’re deciding which students’ dreams of a full-ride scholarship are going to come true, and which are just going to have to max out their student loans or work an extra year at McDonald’s before they can even consider college.