My So Money Millennial today wasn’t a top student or star athlete, but Kristina Ellis, 28, managed to earn half a million dollars in college scholarships by the time she graduated high school in 2005. The most recent graduating class finished college with an average $35,000 in student loans – the highest on record. And of course we’ve heard of students saddled with six figures in student loans. It’s a crisis.
For Kristina, after her mother sat her down in the 9th grade and told her she wouldn’t be able to financially support her daughter once she graduated high school, she became empowered to find a way to afford her own future without skipping college or going into massive debt.
Instead, she immediately began researching the best ways to qualify for top scholarships. She spearheaded community service missions, coached and grew her gymnastics team and even managed to get crowned Miss Indiana Teen USA. From there Kristina cast a very wide application net and managed to earn $500,000 spread across 20 scholarships, including the Coca-Cola and Gates Millennium Scholar awards.
Kristina now shares her strategies to help others win scholarships and graduate from college debt-free in her book, Confessions of a Scholarship Winner, which has ranked in the Top 20 among all books on Barnes and Noble and in the Top 40 on all of Amazon, as well as topping the charts in Amazon’s College & University category.
Three key takeaways:
- How she mapped out that plan to win all that money for school. How did she make herself attractive to scholarship judges?
- The best resources for finding free money for school.
- Saving up to 90% on everything. Kristina is quite the deal hunter.
If you would like to learn more about Kristina Ellis, visit her website www.kristinaellis.com or follow her on Twitter @mykristinaellis. She also has an additional website that is connected to her book: www.TheCollegeNinja.com.
One of my favorite quotes from our interview: “My personal philosophy that I apply every day is basically figure out how to get the greatest value for the lowest cost” – Click to Tweet