Old Lady Scholarships

Nov 9, 2001

The Bottom Line It takes work, but if you roll up your sleeves and do it you can find the money.

Scholarship and me, what is wrong with this picture?? I had never thought about getting money for school, in fact in High School I just wanted to graduate and be done. I didn't fit the right categories to get money and my parents were just middle class enough that we didn't qualify for help back in the early 1970's, so college was paid for by my getting several jobs and working! Did I get through it, you bet. I not only graduated UCSD but in four years and with two degrees.

Flash forward, now it is 20 some years later and I have decided to return to school. Is money an issue...what do you think? I want to get that Law degree that I didn't get the first time. Only now I am much older and it is even harder to get money for school. I know that working and going to school is doable, heck I did that the first time around, but I just had to find out if money could be found.

I went to Fastweb and thought what the heck, I'll register. There are scholarships for everything today, from being tall to being Greek and everything in between. I got back a list of possible matches, and then the fun starts. You have to be willing to spend time and energy to do this...and you have to treat this like a mission from "above". It is serious work getting money for school, don't let anyone kid you.

I started to plow through the list and see which ones I could qualify for...well many on the list were not real matches. You have to be careful to weed those out. Many wanted "young" people not "old" ladies going back. However there was one that fit the bill, it was from the American Legion for returning students. It was up to $1000 and all you had to do to qualify was have a father who had been a Vet. Well that was me, my Dad had been in WWII so I fit the bill. I filled out the application, attached the following documents, my transcript from college, three letters of reference, and my own letter saying why I needed the funds and sent the package off. Well imagine my surprise when I was awarded $500.00. My very first scholarship!!! Now with renewed confidence that there may be even more money out there for "old" ladies...I am on the hunt again.

Here are some things you need to know to do this right:

1. YOU have to be willing to spend the time and energy to do the work and find the money!

2. READ everything very carefully and don't be sloppy, make sure you fill out all forms completely and tell them just what they are asking and include all paperwork they want.

3. CALL and follow-up on your package, don't be a pest but do keep a tab on the package. Make sure it got to them and then make sure they will contact you with an answer.

4. IF, you get the money make sure to write a THANK YOU to the sponsor. Also find out if this was a one-time or can you apply again. Heck if you got it once chances are you could get it again.

5. DON'T give up...if you didn't get it this time apply again. See if they can give you any insight as to what you could do better. Think of getting scholarship money like you think about getting a job...apply the same principals.

6. LOOK close to home, funny how much money could be right in your own backyard. Where I live is the where the money was from...the local American Legion gave the award. Seek out community organizations and groups that award money...and let the dollars add up. Don't just go after the big awards...many do that, seek out the small ones and watch the money add up.

7. BE creative, look to find how many ways you could fit in a category. Be willing to stretch yourself and don't walk away from opportunity. Heck I run a Teen Mentor Program and we award scholarship...some Teens won't join the program because they have to perform a talent, but everyone that competes for me gets a scholarship..this is a no brainer! So what if you sing off key, you're gonna get money. Challenge yourself and go get the dollars!

Finally, one last point regarding the Mentor Program I run...it was that program that got me to go back to school. Here I was a middle age woman, being a role model to Teens to get them to go to college and I wasn't even doing what I preached. Yes, I had my undergrad, but what I really wanted was my JD. It was my kids that got me to apply for Law School where to my surprise I got in...and it was my kids that got me looking for money. Heck, if I can find money, and I am an "older" student...you for sure can do it. My college GPA was fair..so don't let that stop you, just roll up your sleeves and go for it. What do you have to lose??? A little time, heck we all have that, but you can gain dollars in the end and that will pay for your future.

I am not through seeking out dollars...I have 3 years of Law School left and it isn't cheap...so, my search isn't over but I do know that there is hope and money out there, just seek it and you will find it!

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Member: L Rai
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About Me: Business consultant, Business Instructor and English teacher working abroad China and Kazakhstan.