How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application: Secret Techniques I Used to Win $100,000 in College Scholarships By Shay Spivey, BSW, MSW

shay bookSynopsis:

Shay Spivey shares her proven tips and techniques that helped her win over $100,000 in college scholarships and free financial aid toward her own undergraduate and graduate degrees.



“Congratulations on your decision to search for alternative ways to pay for college!

As a scholarship winner and college graduate, I have developed proven tips and techniques that helped me win over $100,000 in college scholarships and free financial aid. As a proven expert and professional consultant in my respective field, I am devoted to helping others find, apply, and win free money to go to college.  In this guide I will share with you my proven tips and techniques on how to submit a winning scholarship application.”



Shay Spivey is a scholarship and financial aid advisor specializing in helping students understand and prepare to win scholarships for college. Shay was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and earned her Bachelor and Master of Social Work from Indiana University. She has studied scholarships and free financial aid extensively and developed a passion for helping others find free money for college.


shayGet to know Shay:

  1. What sparked the idea for your book? 

I wrote this book to fill a special need in the community. I wish I had this book when I was in high school because I would not have felt so lost. I dropped out after my sophomore year when I ran out of money. Years later I decided to return to college as an adult and began researching alternative ways to pay for college. I won $100,000 in college scholarships and want to help others find free money to complete their degree.


  1. How personal is your writing? 
    I decided to return to college as an adult and spent a significant amount of time researching alternative ways to pay for college. I am passionate about scholarships and financial aid and I hope that comes through in my writing.  When trying to find a way to put myself through college as a single parent, I was blessed to find my purpose in life.  Every step of my journey has led to this moment and I believe that with all my heart. I sincerely want to help others achieve their educational goals without going into debt.


  1. Why are scholarships and free financial aid important?

College is expensive. Scholarships and financial aid are vital to the equal access, enrollment, and retention of underrepresented students in colleges and universities. Tuition costs are rising at an alarming rate and the rising costs of higher education have many people wondering if they can afford college. Education changes lives and scholarships and free financial aid make it affordable.


  1. What do you want readers to get from your book?

There are several things I hope readers learn after reading my book: (1) An understanding about scholarships and financial aid; (2) how to submit a winning scholarship application; (3) how to prepare in advance; (4) how to create an advantage; and (5) what scholarships judges are looking for. Most importantly, I want people to walk away feeling empowered, knowing that they too can change their life.


  1. How did you win $100,000 in college scholarships?

I won over $100,000 in college scholarships which allowed me to return to college and change my life. Returning to college was a priority for me.  Therefore, I made finding the money to pay for it a priority as well.  One thing was certain in my situation:  No money, no college.

I treated the process of applying for scholarships and free financial aid like it was the last chance I might ever have to return to college… because it was.  This was it.  College was my ticket out of poverty, my chance to change my life, and the opportunity I had been waiting for.

If I could not convince scholarship organizations to help me financially, I had no other way to pay for college.  I put my heart and soul into telling my story and getting it into the hands of anyone who could help.  Applying for scholarships opportunities became my part-time job, and I was determined to give it my best shot.


  1. What motivated you to return to college in your thirties?

There were many motivating factors that played a part in my decision to return to college and earn my degree.  One motivating factor was feeling stuck in an entry level job, living paycheck to paycheck, struggling, and watching the world pass me by.  I attempted several times to apply for better positions, however I learned that without a college degree opportunities for advancement did not exist for me.  I needed to make a change or I felt like I would die a death of stagnancy.  I felt like my life was going nowhere.


  1. What is next for you, Shay?

I am currently working on my next project which addresses another need: Scholarships and financial aid for private high schools.


Find the author:

Twitter: @ShayMSpivey


Where to get book:

  1. Purchase on Amazon: 

  1. Purchase on Barnes and Noble:


Book Trailer:

How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application – Book Trailer



What is a Personal Statement?
The personal statement or essay is an important part of the application process.  In an essay format applicants can tell their personal story.  I encourage applicants to start writing early because this is a process.  The writing process will help applicants think about, and answer, questions like:

Why am I returning to college?
Where am I coming from? Where do I want to go?
Why do I want to study in this particular field?
What are my goals and aspirations?

Your name

Your address

City, State, Zip

Phone number

Email address


Introduce yourself

Why do you want to go/return to college?

Are you a first generation college student? Adult student?


What are your academic goals?

Which degree are you seeking?

What is your expected graduation date?

Where are you enrolled? GPA (if good)?

What have you already completed?


What are your career goals?

What are you working towards? Why?

In what way will you give back or reach back in the community?


You may want to think of a personal experience that has helped shape who you are.

Have you had to overcome a big obstacle?

What is a dream or goal that is currently motivating you?

Did you overcome a hardship in your life?

Did you serve in the military? What branch? For how long? Were you deployed?

Employment – how many days and hours do you work?

Are you involved in community service? Extra-curricular activities?


How will this scholarship help with your educational goals?

Financial need?


Download a free sample personal statement at:

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