In early May 2022, I graduated from Regent University School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree. Going into this program, my wife and I decided we were going to do it the hard way: debt-free. Most people who go to college and graduate school take out student loans. But being a Ramsey Preferred Coach, I decided I need to stay true to my principles. So off I went on a search for scholarships and scholarship tools.
By the time graduation rolled around, we had a lot of challenges thrown our way. But we stayed true to our values. We managed to graduate from a law program 100% debt-free. Our culture says something like this can’t be done. But I’m not about to let our toxic money culture hold us back!
And along the way, I have found some excellent resources I’d like to share. These tools were a critical part of paying for my J.D. without student loans, especially in my first year.
Find Scholarships With These Tools
How we’ve done it is a bit of a story. But I won’t go into it here because I know you’re here for the substance: the scholarship tools. So without further ado, here are my recommended resources:
I have used these personally to find scholarships to help pay for law school. Now, granted, I’ve also had my coaching practice as well, and that has helped tremendously.
But especially at the beginning, I was applying for scholarships vigorously to make this happen. And, indeed, we made it happen. So let’s talk about these tools.
An Overview of These Scholarship Tools
My favorite of these tools is Scholly. What it does is take in a great deal of relevant information about you, things like family background, educational experiences, military status, interests, hobbies, sports, national origins, etc.
Once you’ve plugged it all in, the tool will display scholarships for you in a ranked order, ranging from 10 (best fit) to 1 (worst fit). You can save what is relevant and mark down what you’ve won. And the program is adding new scholarships to its listings all the time!
Niche and Nitro have a monthly no-essay scholarship drawing. All you have to do is click “Apply” once you’ve signed up and you’re entered. It’s a great little boost to your application pile and takes just a few seconds to do! There are also many other scholarships listed out on these websites as well.
Cappex is a fairly general list of scholarships, but one unique feature is that it shows the relative competition you’ll be up against. Some will have a lot of applicants and be very competitive, but others have fewer qualified applicants. If you qualify for one of the latter, be sure to apply because your odds of winning are much higher.
Unigo has a lot of very unique scholarships. Sometimes they’re just downright funny! One scholarship I’ve seen on there is the Make Me Laugh scholarship. You write a short essay about a funny life experience you’ve had, and the winner would be awarded $1,500! Unigo does sometimes link to other scholarship sites as well, so you have a lot of options here.
In addition to all these tools, there are also other things you can do. In undergrad programs and a lot of master’s programs, you generally have the ability to work part-time to make some extra money.
For those (like me) who go through programs where working any substantial hours is highly inadvisable or impractical, there may be paid internship opportunities that you can also do for academic credit during the summers and fall/spring semesters. Check with your university to see if you can work out some sort of arrangement if applicable.
There are tons of scholarships out there. For American students, there are plenty listed for Universities within the 50 states for both undergraduate and graduate students. Even if you attend a university in another country, say Canada, special scholarships are available to help you pay for school without student loans.
What I want to emphasize is this: student loan debt is only inevitable if you believe it is inevitable. Getting that degree does not have to mean sacrificing years of your future earnings.
It’s harder right now to apply for scholarships and work while in school, but the sacrifice is worth it in the long term.
With these scholarship tools, you can find the money to pay for your degree with little or no student loan debt. And once you graduate, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that new graduates make.
Need some help guiding yourself or your child through the process of college or graduate school? Let’s connect so I can assist you on your journey!
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