From Scholar to Scholarship Expert
My road to college—attending it and paying for it—has been very long. I was in the foster care system for 14 years, and higher education often seemed impossible. My years in the inner city did not give me many positive role models or individuals who encouraged me about my education.
During my first year of high school, education was not a priority for me. That was true until the day my biology teacher took me out into the hallway after I showed up 20 minutes late for class and told me, "You have so much potential—and yet you choose to waste it!" From that day on, I approached school differently. My teacher's words were an awakening of sorts. They gave me a type of motivation I had never received in school before, a type of motivation that screamed, "Of course you can do it!" Around this same time, another mentor came into my life and helped me think about my own personal development in ways I never had before.
Over the last 2 years of high school, living in my own apartment via the Transitional Living Program, I laid the foundation—work ethic, attitude, and vision—that would lead me to accumulating more than $1 million in scholarships and financial aid. I am the first in my family to attend college, and I am proud to be a current Gates Millennium, Horatio Alger, Coca-Cola, Dell, Chicago, Nordstrom, and Gilman Scholar. I attend Morehouse College and will enter medical school after graduation. Without the tremendous help of people like my teacher and mentor, I would not be in college today. Their commitment to helping me inspired me to make a commitment to helping other students learn how to pay for college.
In 2010 I founded a venture called Million Dollar Scholar that helps students learn how to successfully apply for scholarships and grants for college. I also wrote a book, MillionDollarScholar: Winning the Scholarship Race, that serves as a guide for students at any step in the scholarship process. The people who have affected my life serve as a testament to the importance of community in the lives of youth in foster care across the nation.