In the public school system, academic scholarship awards are considered especially remarkable. In the Detroit city, a dedicated senior who was passionate about the world around her and stayed focused in high school became a member of an elite squad known as the “Coca Cola Scholars”.
This is her scholarship advice.
1. Read the Directions
There were 86,000+ applicants this year for the Coke Scholarship. That means 86,000 high school seniors from all across the country sat down and filled out the application. About a month after the deadline, the 2,000 semifinalists were notified of their progression to the next round. What made those 2,000 semifinalists so different from the other 84,000 applicants? Well, besides the community involvement, academic success, and desire for change, there was an attention to detail that set us apart!
The Coca Cola application is a long and wordy multi-paged document. As a reviewer of 86,000 applications, it makes it incredibly easy to eliminate someone when they did not follow a simple instruction given on the very first page. Read the directions they gave you, re-read the directions, then ask someone else to read the directions and check to make sure you answered the questions EXACTLY how they requested. Did you read this paragraph in its entirety? I spelled the word “applicants” in the first sentence incorrectly. Lol made you look.
2. Just Do It
All throughout high school I worked hard. I stayed very involved, I was class President at one point, played two sports, had odd summer jobs, and even went to Senegal, West Africa to build a school in a village called Befel. I know every high school senior is not doing these things and if you have made it this far and you have not been very involved, it is extremely hard to make up for that time in your last year of high school. HOWEVER, you have always wanted to start a club...or write a cool app...or rally support for some cause, right? So why not? It is never too late to do what you have always wanted to do. Go have experiences and find what makes you passionate! Even if it still does not win you the Coca Cola Scholarship, imagine how many doors will open for you if you truly dedicate time to something that makes you happy.
3. Do Not Ever Get Cocky
The final round in the Coca Cola Scholars is the home-stretch. Out of 86,000 applicants, 250 made it to the regional finals. The final step is simply a 20-25 minute interview where each finalist is asked questions based off of their applications. At that point, all 250 have what it takes to be a winner, however what makes the 150 that win so much different from the 100 who don't make the cut (in my opinion) is humility. What I noticed about my fellow scholars was that there was not one person there who was not down to earth about their accomplishments. It is important to remember that being humble is the best way (if not the ONLY way) to be successful in life. In the interview, they want to see that you're doing great things because you love the world, not for recognition! Learn to brag about yourself in such a way that makes people love you, not despise you.
As the great Lamar once said:
“Be humble! Sit Down!”
Reader, I hope that this piece of advice was helpful. Remember to listen to the wise (sometimes silly) words of your teachers because they only want to see you thrive and prosper. I will tell you a secret: I was rejected from most scholarships I applied to. It is not the end of the world, I promise. Work hard and you will see the fruits of your labor eventually.
Peace and Blessings,