What do a winning scholarship essay and Ella Avery-Smothers have in common? In the April 2008 edition of Readers’ Digest magazine, you’ll find an article about Ella Avery-Smothers on page 64. Below, I’ll tell a part of her story.
Ella wasn’t the greatest grade earner. She worked hard when at home to keep the farm going, and she didn’t have the greatest opportunities to study in elementary school, even finding herself behind the other kids in her class by junior high and high school.
One of her teachers made a difference, Mr. Miller. He told her that she had a gift to give, even if her grades were not high. He said that the backbone of our society is the good solid-C student. She remembered those words, and kept thinking about them.
Eventually her chance came. One day the school announced that all students planning on college should report to take a test for scholarships. Ella stood up and went! You’ll find a lesson right there: when a good opportunity presents itself, take it. She took the test, and she won a scholarship. Her life changed with that opportunity to go to college.
I don’t know what the test included, but for the moment, it doesn’t matter. You are what matters, your goals, your future. And your actions. When you have an opportunity to apply for a scholarship, do it. Right now, you can apply for many scholarships, and most will require an essay, or at lease a few sentences about why you want to go to college or study a subject.
You just need to try. Write a practice essay, have someone read it and tell you what they think of it. Have a few people read it. Try again. Keep trying until you are in college or through with it. You can achieve your dreams, just keep trying, keep learning a better way.
Sadly, Ella Avery failed. Or, you could say happily that she succeeded. She won the scholarship, yes, but she didn’t get good enough grades to keep it – she lost it after just one semester. Sad, right? Not exactly. She found other ways to pay for school, by working, using student loans, and committing to finishing. She graduated.
Did she fail, or did she succeed? Of course, the goal wasn’t to keep the scholarship, her goal was graduation. Regardless of your winning scholarship essay, you have a similar goal: Get an education, become a contributor, and claim a bright future full of your dreams, like Ella Avery-Smothers.
Now, she owns 7 Burger King Franchises. That is quite a success. She also awards her employees with college money. Writing those checks to make a difference in someone’s life gives her the greatest pleasure. She knows how money for college can bring you opportunity. And knowing she writes those checks makes me smile. I know how much a scholarship can help.
Back to your winning scholarship essay. The first step for you: Apply. You can win a scholarship or a state grant or a Pell grant and go to college. You can have the opportunity you want, you can have the future you want. But you have to work for it. You have to do your part to create that future, so apply for grants, scholarships, work study, employee assistance, life credit, advanced placement/CLEP tests, or whatever you can.
For the applications that require an essay, read winning scholarship essays on my scholarship essay sample page – which covers a bunch of different awards. For just good writing advice, spend some time reading how to improve your college scholarship essay writing. And to see what to avoid, I have written 2 awful essays , partly for fun, partly to learn.
Ella Avery-Smothers showed she could do it. After finishing her teaching degree in elementary education, she spent a year working for a public school. Then, she went back and got a masters degree.
If you look, you can find resources. Check out my free ebook on government grants for more places you should apply.
You have the choice – you can go to college and get an education. If you make the time, you can go and you can finish. You decide what to study, and what contribution you will make.
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