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My Story

I sat on my faded blue couch, looking at the letter in my hands. A full ride. In the pages, it showed glossy photos of smiling students, and outlined the offer the college was giving me: a full ride.  Books, room and board, tuition, even flights home -- and I turned it down, because there are some things in life more important than saving money. I knew that was not the school I needed to go to for the best education for my mind and soul, and I was entirely confident I was to go to Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

However, the highest scholarship Northwestern offered was half tuition, so I bit my lip, took a deep breath, and decided that if I couldn't get a full ride from the college, I would create my own full ride. Or, in other words, I determined that I would pay for school through scholarships.

Northwestern cost upwards of $100,000, and I was determined that paying for my college education would not be a burden on my parents. Even more, I did not want to be strangled under thousands of dollars of debt after I graduated, right at the moment in life when I should be most free to pursue the dreams God had given me and the life that awaited.

So spring 2009, second semester of my senior year of high school, I began on the scholarship quest. Late nights, weekends, Easter break, Christmas break, summer break, I worked constantly on finding, applying for, and winning scholarships to pay for my education. I made mistakes that cost me thousands of dollars and learned strategies that gained me thousands more.

Some nights at midnight, scrolling through the Internet for yet another scholarship, I wanted to give up. But I kept pushing forward, knowing that it would only be through unswerving dedication I would succeed in what I set out to do.

And I did. Spring 2012, I graduated from Northwestern and walked across the stage debt free. In three years, I had earned over $100,000 for working just a few hours a month, and learned that scholarships would potentially prove to be the best-paying job I would ever have.