Short Answer: My name is Josh Barsch, and I started this site to help students stop screwing up their scholarship applications and win more money. I’m a scholarship judge and I’ve been one for a long time, and “Judge Josh” is my attempt at a catchy moniker.
The site isn’t really just about scholarships anymore — students and their parents ask for my advice on a lot of topics related to college, finances, working, studying, financial aid, etc. I take those questions, post them on the site, answer them, and invite my readers to add their advice. And they do, trust me.
Long Answer (but still pretty short): I’m the CEO of StraightForward Media, a search engine advertising agency I founded in 2001. Our company has been awarding scholarships for a long time now. I’ve been a judge for those scholarships since we began the programs in 2003, and I’ve read thousands upon thousands of scholarship applications. And, I’m sorry to say, most of them are pretty bad.
A vast majority of students (I’m talking over 90%, at least) make stupid mistakes that disqualify their essays almost immediately. At first, it made me laugh (you know, in the “Man, these kids today…” sense), but soon enough it became a little depressing. I’d have a stack of scholarship essays that would take me hours to read, and it was exhausting to think that only a handful of them would be winner material.
To be honest, it also hacked me off at the educational system. Is there really no one out there teaching our high school students how to write an acceptable scholarship essay?
Apparently not. So I decided to do something about it. I wrote a short e-book on the subject, which was very helpful for the kids who bought it, but didn’t do much for the body of applicants as a whole. So I decided to put this website out there for everyone to use, for free. If you’d like to have all this information in a print book, you can buy it here if you want.
So look around as much as you like — the info is free and here for you to use. If you have questions or comments, just leave them as blog comments and I’ll answer them as soon as possible. Enjoy!