Industry leaders often ask me what they can do to help our risk management and insurance program and its students. Occasionally, before I can even answer, they jump to the assumption that scholarship funding must be at the top of the list. While I never want to discourage any offers of financial assistance for RMI students, my typical response to this assumption is, “Well, uh, actually there are plenty of scholarships available to RMI students. We need to convince the students to apply.” At this point, I am usually met with a blank looking face and rapidly blinking eyes. The non-verbal communication conveyed by this look is, “What? I’m confused. Are you kidding me?”
Earlier this year, Money magazine profiled Christopher Gray who applied for hundreds of scholarships as a homeless high school student and won more than $1 million in scholarships. Mr. Gray went on to co-found Scholly, a scholarship search engine app. Clearly, his diligence and persistence paid off. In the article linked to above, Mr. Gray offered four scholarship tips that I will summarize:
- Know yourself
- Don’t stop applying
- Optimize your time
- Every award counts
The truth is that scholarships require some effort, as they should. If someone is going to give a student “free money” to pay for tuition or other school-related costs, the recipient should be willing to complete an application and write a coherent if not compelling essay to justify themselves as a deserving recipient. For reasons that continue to mystify, too many students seem to view the scholarship application process as “too much of a hassle.”
Ferris State’s RMI program website includes a page listing scholarship opportunities worth thousands of dollars. I am certainly not opposed to adding more entries to this list, but what I really need is to add more students who are actively applying for those scholarships already on the list.
If you know a young person searching for a degree/career direction, tell them about your wonderful experiences in the risk management and insurance industry. They need to hear our stories. And then, they need to be encouraged to put in the effort to pursue the vast scholarship opportunities for financial assistance to launch their RMI career. It’s there… waiting for them. Help me push them across the threshold.