May 23, 2018

[Ep. 160] How to Avoid Student Debt with Scholarships with Jocelyn Paonita

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I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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I met Jocelyn Paonita Pearson over 2 years ago at FinCon in San Diego. And ever since that first meeting, I remember thinking that I needed to interview Jocelyn on my podcast.

Well, it took me a while to finally get around to asking her, but I’m so glad I did wait because she has been able to accomplish so much since that first meeting. Now, she’s running her own successful company called The Scholarship System, has a best-selling book (also called The Scholarship System), and has a popular online course focused on helping parents and students find scholarships. As mentioned in our interview together, right up until now her company has helped secure $1,000,000 in scholarships for students. In other words, that’s $1,000,000 of debt those students just avoided. That’s major!

In our interview, we chat a lot about how to prevent getting into debt through student loans by getting scholarships, and I want to share the 3 top tips Jocelyn shared with me about how to up your chances of getting scholarships to pay for college.

Start Local

Don’t start big when it comes to scholarships, start small by researching local scholarships you’re eligible for. The logic with this is that even though these scholarships may not be big money, there is less competition because most people don’t know about them. Jocelyn herself had some great experiences applying (and getting) local scholarships for her own degree. One degree she mentioned only had 4 applicants, and it was then decided that the scholarship would be divided evenly amongst each applicant so everyone came out ahead!

Pitch Companies to Start their Own Scholarships

If there’s a company you like, pitch them the idea to start their own scholarship. Not only would there be some potential tax benefits, it could also be used as a marketing tool or a way for them to recruit future talent.

All You Need Is One Great Application Kit

Yes, it will take you some to get your materials together to apply to a bunch of different scholarships, but here’s a great tip. Just focus your energy on creating one awesome application kit, that should include things like a personal statement, then tweak those documents just a little bit to customize them for each application.

Most students think they need to create unique documents for each application, but you can actually just duplicate what you’ve got by making small changes to each. That’s what you do when you’re applying for different jobs, so it’s the same thing for scholarship applications.

Learn More About Scholarships

Learn More About Jocelyn & The Scholarship System

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