While earning my Associates degree I did not look for many scholarship opportunities. Things had changed however, once I began to get more involved with my 4-year college's extra curricular as I began to look for a full college experience.
I started by getting involved in ENACTUS, an entrepreneurial non-profit organization at my school. I got involved with two projects that helped the community and it also build a lasting relationship with one of my professors. That professor ended up being key in landing me a spot for an interview for the WNY Prosperity Fellowship/ Scholarship, which I ended up being awarded. It was in this interviewing process where I established my connection with the Griff Center (the department in my school that helps students with any networking or job related matters).
This opened my eyes up to the importance of networking and since I have been actively networking in many areas of my school and community.
In my internship that I was awarded through the WNY Prosperity Fellowship, I was looking for more networking opportunities. I established a close connection with the Vice President/ CIO as their Investments Intern. Now, not only is that professional my mentor for the prestigious academic program called the Golden Griffin Fund, where I am a student analyst for my school's stock fund. On top of this, I was also awarded a scholarship to participate in the program! (Thanks is surely due to my mentor taking an interest in my success & Mr. Civello)
I even networked with Financial Aid and spoke very openly with the employees in that department. They also took a special interest in me reaching out for help with a personal story that spoke volumes about my struggles, ambitions, and character. This, after writting a personal letter, got me another scholarship this year as well.
I could go on to speak about other networking that I have done with the Griff Center, that has put me on track already to securing a job after graduation, but I wanted to talk about the effect that networking can have BEFORE you graduate. I entered my senior year with $14k of scholarship with the year, but due to continuing networking I was able to gain another $4k to help me through my last year. It was the difference between getting $4k in checks after tuition was paid this year (some with loans) and not getting anything to help me through the school year.
GET OUT AND NETWORK; NO ONE WILL DO IT FOR YOU!