Why your kid will win zero scholarships

I write this post to you after a parent of a high school student asked me, ‘How can I get my student scholarships to pay for college?’

I then asked, ‘When does your student graduate?’

And the parent said, ‘In three weeks.’

Unfortunately, I had to tell that parent that waiting until the last minute does not work when it comes to paying for college. It may work for homework or cramming for a test, but it will not work for planning your child’s future.

Most students who go to college will graduate with tens of thousands of dollars of debt and wasted credits. They will have no clue what they want to do and waste more of your money switching majors because they did not spend the necessary time to earn scholarships.

This post will be the first time I reveal the secrets of what I did to receive a full-ride scholarship while having average grades and below average test scores.

I will also present what we do at Student Success Agency, where we help hundreds of teens increase their chances of college success every year.


Today, there are so many ways to earn money for college, but there are six main categories for scholarships:




Community Service



This is the first problem.

Most teens only know of the first three. They never consider leadership, community service, and what makes them unique as potential ways to get money for college.

The second problem.

Your student does not know what scholarship committees want to see in their application.

When your student is applying for college, most scholarship committees are not just looking for nerds with perfect grades. They also want to see a well-rounded student that showcases leadership in the four main categories of high school. Below is a breakdown of how scholarship committees measure students’ overall performance in these categories.

(grades, SAT, ACT, Rank, and AP and IB classes)

Clubs & Extracurriculars
(positions, awards, honors, involvement, and clubs)

Community Outreach
(volunteer hours, partnerships, projects, and working in the community)

Career Exploration
(hobbies, work experience, skills, internships, apprenticeships, and trade skills)

But becoming a top candidate for colleges and scholarships can’t happen overnight.


Because in order to wow schools and scholarship committees, you have to show them that you are a leader who takes action on a vision. And action, my friends, takes time! So the earlier your teen understands these four categories of high school and starts taking action, the better resume/portfolio he or she will have to submit. Below is our signature funnel that we formulated at Student Success Agency. We take all of our clients through this funnel to maximize and develop the best candidates for everything college and career.


As you see here, freshman year is all about building character and developing leadership internally. Sophomore and junior years are about taking action and gaining experience. While senior year is all about taking what you have done the first three years and packaging it together for applications and scholarships.

So what if you don’t have time? If you are a parent who has a kid graduating within the next couple of months, you are probably feeling a little worried.

The good news is there are marketing strategies you can do to beef up your student’s applications even if their resume is looking a little slim. I am going to share one of our BIG secrets today that takes zero effort, but will increase your child’s chance of winning by tenfold: All you have to do is make sure your student is in the proper mindset when writing their essays.

This tip is the BIGGEST reason why I was awarded a full-ride.

I have broken it down into 3 steps.

STEP 1: Your student should have a vision of what they want their life to look like.

A lot of the scholarship essays ask students questions like ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ and ‘What do you want to be remembered as?’.

The reason committees do this is because they are looking for someone who has ambition and clear goals of what they want out of life. It shows that you are focused, motivated, and passionate, which is important in order to succeed at the next level.

Most kids have no clue what they want out of life. 

The frustrating thing is that society thinks that’s okay because parents do not want their ‘baby’ to grow up ‘too fast’ by having a vision and plan for their life at the age of 17. But honestly, this is what works if you want to earn scholarships and get a jump start on success.

Great students are the ones who have a vision and goals. Odds are that your child’s vision will change because that is just life. But you never want to have your child apply for anything without having some type of vision of how they want their life to turn out. Having this vision will motivate your teen to do better and live purposefully on a daily basis. It will give meaning to their life and the intrinsic motivation to be better. Students with no vision play more video games and take longer to move out of their parents’ house. You don’t want that now do you?

STEP 2: Your student needs to show that they are already taking action on their goals and vision while in high school.

This is why working with your student on building their resume early is so crucial. You can’t fake action. If you want to blow the socks off the committee who is reading your kid’s application, have you student share examples in their essay of how they’ve already taken action on their goals and dreams.

What I see on kids’ essays are things like ‘In five years, want to be a doctor that helps people in disadvantaged areas’.

But then you look at their resume and essays and you see that they have never volunteered in disadvantaged areas, they never took an advanced science course, they never joined a pre-med club in school, and they never once attempted to shadow a doctor. This is a classic example of how zero action equals zero scholarships.

STEP 3: Your student needs to give examples of how they have made an impact on their campus and community while chasing their goals and dreams.

Results! Results! Results!

Scholarship committees drool over candidates who can show their worth by using results and data to measure their impact on their community. This is important because scholarship committees would want that type of impact in their organization or on their campus. Applying for scholarships is less like asking for a donation and more like applying for a job. 

Would you rather give money to a kid who provides zero value to the organization or a kid that can make an impact on your organization? It is one thing to be in clubs and hold leadership positions, but if your teen can show their impact, that makes your child extremely valuable in the eyes of the scholarship committee.

So let’s go back to that doctor example. I wrote a couple paragraphs to show what a solid winning essay should look like.

“As an officer in my school’s health professions organization, I was in charge of our annual blood drive. I had to manage a team of 20 students and develop a campaign to inform the community about our blood drive. The last few years our school’s blood drive has been underperforming and a huge let down. Being someone who sees opportunity when faced with challenges, I decided to inspire our club to make a goal of breaking the blood drive record of 850 pints of blood in 24 hours. That record was set 12 years ago.

We knew it would be a daunting task but I told the team we could do it by partnering with more clubs on campus. I was able to partner with the marketing club to create flyers and posters and I had my team distribute the flyers around the community at grocery stores and malls.

I also had the school editor write a press release that ended up in our town’s paper and on the five o’clock news.

My experience leading our school’s blood drive taught me that when you a set big goal and work as a team, you have a higher chance of doing something meaningful. I also realized that when you lead without needing recognition and focus on the people, that is when things get accomplished.

We would have never been able to get the people we reached without asking for help from other clubs. We removed our pride and instead of making it a health professional organization’s blood drive, we made it our school’s initiative.

Needless to say, we broke our school record of 850 by 320 pints of blood, making the new record 1,170 pints of blood.”

This example shows the power of having action and results highlighted in your student’s essays. If your teen can follow these three steps, I am confident they can make awesome essays like this as well.

My final advice to you is an action step.

Watch this webinar titled, Why Your Student Will Receive Zero Scholarships: The 5 small careless mistakes that your kid will make that will cost YOU money. This webinar is for parents who want to learn more tricks and tactics to get their kid scholarships. We will discuss the essay process and how to implement the strategies explained above into your child’s essays.


If you have any questions for me or want to know how to sign up for our webinar, you can contact me at ejc@studentsuccess.co

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