2014 New Century Scholar Shares Scholarship Advice

Over the years, the Fall Scholarship Application has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to hundreds of two-year college students – most of them Phi Theta Kappa members. In 2015, approximately $520,000 will be added to the total, and more than 285 students will join the ranks of winning scholars.

2014 New Century Scholar Izuchukwu Abel

What does it take to join that list? Izuchukwu Abel knows – he was named a 2014 New Century Scholar and received a $2,000 scholarship, and he has advice for creating a winning scholarship application.

“The essay is the most crucial part of a good scholarship application,” Abel said. “The essay is the opportunity to make your case that you are the student the scholarship provider is looking for.”

Abel was born in Nigeria and came to the United States in October 2009. In the fall of 2010, he enrolled at the Community College of the District of Columbia, where he has been working toward a degree in nursing. He is the first in his family to go to college, and he will transfer to a four-year university in January 2015.

In 2011 he joined the staff of the Symbral Foundation, where he works as a counselor for the mentally disabled community in Washington, D.C. and its metropolitan areas. He also volunteers with Community of Hope, an organization that provides support for individuals and families suffering from poverty, homelessness, addiction, mental illness and more.

Abel was inducted into the Beta Sigma Upsilon Chapter in 2011, and in 2012 he received a Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship after submitting the Spring Scholarship Application. He went on to be named a 2013 Oberndorf Scholar as well.

“(These scholarships have been) very helpful because they have assisted me to have more time to study and volunteer instead of working overtime to make ends meet,” he said. “Most important, these have gone a long way in making my short-term dream of being the first in my family to obtain a college degree a reality.

“I can vividly recall that, as a kid, I have always had the passion to help people; therefore, getting this degree will aid me in my hunger to serve in the community and become a philanthropist in the long run.”

Having successfully received three Phi Theta Kappa-administered scholarships, Abel has five tips for students applying for the Fall Scholarship Application.

1. Know the requirement. “It’s imperative to realize that every scholarship provider is looking for a specific student who meets distinctive criteria. When you get your application, look closely at the questions, the organization giving the scholarship and any past recipients you can find.”

2. Make your case in your essay. “For me, the essay is the best chance to make the case for why you should receive the scholarship. It helps the scholarship provider to learn about the person behind the application.”

3. Make it personal. “Don’t forget that the main purpose of your essay is to convince the scholarship provider that you’re the student they’ve been looking for.”

4. Start your application on time. “Begin your application as early as possible to enable you to write and organize your essay along with other materials that may be needed, i.e. recommendation letters, transcripts, etc.”

5. Proofread your essay. “Getting a teacher, friends or a good grammar editor will go a long way in making sure your essay is not derailed by spelling mistakes or awkward sentences.”

Remember – the Fall Scholarship Application closes at 5 p.m. CST on Monday, December 1. The application is for students who are almost finished with their associate degree coursework and intend to enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year college in the upcoming academic year. Learn more, and apply today!

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