The secret to scholarships: How three g’s can change your life

Dr. Anastasia Lin (photo by of Michelle Correll)

“You need to have grit, a good story, and you need to have a strong GPA,” said Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant dean of research and scholarship at the University of North Georgia.

While Lin acknowledges that some scholarships call for a GPA of 3.95 or above, she notes that others can be won with a 3.0 or lower.

“We often tell students if you don’t have one of those three G’s and you can explain why, that’s OK as long as you have the other two,” Lin said.

Established in 2013, University of North Georgia’s Nationally Competitive Scholarship Office provides resources for UNG students and alumni as they navigate the application process for international and domestic scholarships.

“Our office works with students to craft their applications, especially their essays,” Lin said. “We don’t do editing work, but we work with students to present their best selves on paper.”

Several of the scholarships have an essay component, which gives applicants space to boast their grit, good stories and GPAs.

Noting the challenge of crafting an application essay, Lin emphasized the importance of determination throughout the process. She encourages students to submit 12 drafts to the scholarship office, a process that tests the resolve of potential applicants.

“Everyone has their own individual struggle when it comes to writing for the scholarship,” Lin said. “So many students decide they can’t win it; therefore, they stop. It’s sort of this self-fulfilling prophecy. It takes a lot of, again, grit.”

“If you go to our page and you find that you want to pursue the Marshall or that you want to pursue a Fulbright, make sure that you contact us early,” Lin said. “There’s a misconception that these things happen overnight; they don’t. We like to get students started at least three months in advance.”

As a former Fulbright recipient, Lin understands the demands writing for a scholarship.

“I had a Fulbright to Taiwan when I was in graduate school,” Lin said. “I think that also kind of led me to this position. I know how amazing opportunities like that can be and I want our students to have that.”

Beyond a personal experience with Fulbright, Lin views her undergraduate education as a connection to her current work with UNG students.

“It was a natural progression,” said Lin. “I have a chemistry degree and an English degree in my bachelor’s. I’m an English professor by trade, but I equally enjoy working with science students.”

While the office assists students seeking scholarship funds, Lin cautions that none of the scholarships provide fast money.

“The national opportunities are more building opportunities for grad school and your future career,” Lin said.

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