First Generation College Student Scholarship

Funded by
Bold.org
Learn more about the Donor
$1,000
1 winner
Awarded
Winner
1
Finalists
9
Application Deadline
Nov 7, 2020
Winners Announced
Nov 9, 2020
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate

First-Generation college students often do not have the money or resources to realize their full potential impact. 

A first-generation college student’s annual household income, on average, is about $50,000 less than that of continuing generation students.

Without adequate funds to attend college, first-generation students are left at a severe disadvantage, often continuing on their family path of not going to college.

Every aspiring student should have the opportunity to receive the education they seek no matter their financial situation or status.

Bold.org’s First Generation College Student Scholarship exists to support and encourage those bold first-generation college students who want to change the world and may not have the resources to reach their full potential.

Bold.org will be awarding a scholarship each day in November to celebrate National Scholarship Month. Follow along on Bold.org's Instagram and TikTok for daily announcements of scholarships and winners!

Bold.org
Selection Criteria:
Essay, First-Generation
$1,000
1 winner
Awarded
Winner
1
Finalists
9
Application Deadline
Nov 7, 2020
Winners Announced
Nov 9, 2020
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent Bold.org scholarship winners
Essay Topic

What's the greatest challenge you've ever faced? How did you overcome it? What lessons did you learn from this experience?

250–750 words

Winning Application

Mariah Smith
Michigan State University-College of LawEast Lansing, MI
A product of two black parents, I came into this world with the nearly inevitable kinky hair and melanin embedded skin. Faithfully, every three weeks I’d sit between my grandmother's legs as she’d apply a relaxer to my roots and strip away every kink she could find. You knew it was working when you could feel the heat begin to burn your scalp and just when you couldn’t bear it anymore, it was time to wash it out. In the end, you ended up with the “desirable” bone straight hair and it felt like it was worth it. Most of my earliest memories are associated with a seemingly similar dull ache. However, in those cases, the pain couldn’t just be washed away. Instead, it consumed me - with no “prize” to be given or even an ending. Rooting from maternal abandonment, sexual assault, and eventually, my father's death when I was five, the greatest challenge I have ever faced has been simply existing. When you lose your parents young, it is not at that moment that the impact becomes clear. Without the emotional maturity to even comprehend death, or the ability to understand why your favorite person doesn't want you, it’s almost impossible to express those feelings with others. Instead, I blew off life. My grades were awful, I was destructive, I was angry, I was mourning. Mourning the life I thought I deserved and filled with hatred for the cards I was dealt. It was not until I got to high school and met the geometry teacher Paul Brunngraeber that my life changed forever. It was in room 316 that I first discovered that I was smart. A word I was not accustomed to hearing at home, Mr.B constantly reassured me that I was only filling myself with doubt when in reality I was more than capable of everything I desired. Every day from then on, I challenged myself to do more. Not only did I hold a job all of high school, but I was also a member of an array of student organizations, made time to volunteer, and even bought my first car. I ultimately graduated with eight academic honors and through my dedication to success, I am currently a sophomore at Michigan State University with a 3.8 GPA. Ten-year-old Mariah, wouldn't even recognize the woman I have become. While my greatest tribulations have been some of the very reasons I wanted to give up, they have simultaneously been the very foundation of my tower of success. The love and light that pours out of me today is a direct result of all the times I needed it and I felt as if no one could give it to me. Truthfully, you have to dig yourself out of depression. There will be days where it feels like it is impossible, and you’ll want to give up, but it is in those moments that you are only being tested. My heart aches for people who couldn't see the light. The reality is, there never really is a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to make one. I promise there are kind souls out there who are willing to pick up a shovel with you. If there is one thing that I could tell my younger self, it would be that the dull ache that she feels, that “never-ending pain,” it grows faint. There will come a day where you will no longer dread getting out of bed. There will come a time when you can finally fathom how bright the future is. There will come a time where you are able to receive love, and give it. YOU are the “prize.”

FAQ

When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 7, 2020. Winners will be announced on Nov 9, 2020.

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