Hate Writing Essays? Consider an Action-Based Scholarship!

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An action-based scholarship application won’t require you to write another essay.

Picture this: You’ve received your acceptance letter from your first-choice college. You’re excited and very happy about the future. You start to think about your new roommates, campus food, all the fun clubs and activities you’re going to be part of.

But wait, what’s this? A small letter tucked behind your acceptance going over tuition, fees, and the total amount of money you or your parents will need to cough up in order for you to attend. There’s no way you can afford this!

Don’t freak out just yet. There is a solution: scholarships!

Did you know that there are more than $50 billion in scholarships given every year? According to FluidReview, a scholarship management software company, about $3 billion of that $50 billion are private scholarships created by companies, foundations, and civic groups.

So, there’s money out there to help you get your four-year degree without having to take on a lot of student loan debt. Let’s walk through some of the steps you’ll need to take when applying for a scholarship.

First, you need to find a trusted source, like a guidance counselor or a teacher, who can educate you on which scholarships are available. (Pro tip: You should always go for the local scholarships first before the national scholarships because the competition pool is smaller.) Then, you’ll have to figure out who is willing to write you enough scholarship recommendation letters to send in, along with the essays that you have worked so hard to finish. Finally, depending on the scholarship, you’ll have to send in the required documents. For example, you may have to submit:

Beyond local scholarships, remember that the schools you are applying to may also offer a scholarship package if you get in. (If the school is looking to enroll students like you, the chances of your getting free money increases. Edmit can show you estimates!) Other times, if you’re great at sports, then there are scholarships for that as well. In almost every case, there is an essay involved in the scholarship application process.

But what happens if you’re not good at writing essays? What happens if English is your second language or writing isn’t one of your strengths?

Your options at this point are to A) focus on finding these scholarships and pour your heart and soul into the essay-writing process, B) enter a scholarship sweepstakes (not recommended), or C) you can find another type of scholarship, like an action-based scholarship.

Action-based scholarships allow you to earn money for your education by doing something other than writing essays. For example, maybe you paint, dance, code, or make a video to be considered for free money for college.

My company, ScholarJet, administers non-essay scholarships through its platform.  On the site, companies with scholarship programs set up challenges where you can showcase your skills and talents—and compete for scholarship money. And as a side benefit, by participating, you’ll gain real-world career experience and gain access to employers eager to hire talent in job categories related to STEM, Community, Health, Art, and Business.

If we can broaden the ways you can get money for college, we’ll help everyone realize they have great potential within them.


Tuan Ho, CEO and co-founder of ScholarJet, applied for more than 40 scholarships to get a full ride to Northeastern University. He was recently awarded a Priscilla Chan Stride Fellowship from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.

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